Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Video: The Cashmere Stylings of Yahoo Chief Product Officer Blake Irving

Yesterday, BoomTown spent a good part of the day at Yahoo’s HQ in Sunnyvale, Calif., meeting with various product execs and seeing some cool new stuff in the works.

I was impressed, as I had been several times over the many years I have covered the Silicon Valley Internet giant, where I have seen innovative efforts by the truckload.

That is, until they never saw the light of day, until some random teenaged entrepreneur got giant funding for the very same idea months later.

I put this question of failure to ship to Yahoo’s Chief Product Officer Blake Irving, who got to the company a little less than a year ago with the goal of shaking the place up.

Irving’s last job was as corporate VP of Microsoft’s Windows Live Platform group.

He left Microsoft several years ago, after 15 years, to spend time with his family and had been teaching at Pepperdine University.

Since he got to Yahoo, he’s certainly done some layoffs, restructuring and hiring–mostly from Microsoft–and now he is promising that there will be big changes in how Yahoo manages its product pipeline.

Here’s a longish video interview with Irving–who is a live wire, as you will see, as well as a wearer of soft and luxe candylicious sweaters–talking about this key issue, the search business, talent retention and more:

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik