Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Where in the World Is Yahoo’s Carol Bartz? (Here’s the Internal Memo GPS!)

With its annual meeting this coming Thursday, you’d think Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz would be taking a rest.

Not so!

She has been a regular Carmen Sandiego, in fact, jetting to Yahoo hotspots around the globe from Dubai to Milan to New York and then back to Yahoo’s Sunnyvale, Calif., HQ.

As do Yahoos, I get most of the Friday emails she sends out, but I usually don’t bother to post them.

That said, I liked the can-do tone of this one, shades of Bartz early in her term, even in the face of a stock price that’s dropped almost eight percent this month to close at $14.69 on Friday.

(To be fair, the shares of Google are down by a little more in the same time, although its CEO Larry Page seems to prefer to remain holed up in his digital cave in Mountain View and lick his stock wounds.)

No matter, as Bartz writes, it’s nothing a little retail therapy can’t fix!

I myself am off on an international biking vacation in Ireland next week, so while I am gone, please enjoy Carol’s letter to Yahoos:

Last week was a crazy one -– Dubai and Milan in five days! You may not know it, but the Middle East and Italy are two of our hottest markets in the EMEA region (and I do mean hot — it was 114 Fahrenheit and very humid in Dubai — I thought I was going to melt!).

First on the itinerary was Dubai, where I met with government officials, advertisers, the media, and our awesome Yahoos there.

I kicked things off Monday with the Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum. Turns out he is a BIG Yahoo! fan. He told me that he’s on our sites every day to check the latest news and sports headlines. It makes sense — we’re huge in the Middle East and North Africa. Since we acquired Maktoob a year and a half ago, we’ve grown from 30 million to 53 million users. That’s impressive in a region with more than 70 million people online today.

We’re tops in entertainment with omg! Arabic, and with our women’s lifestyle site, Helwa. And we’re a strong #2 in News, thanks in part to our new Arabic homepage that launched six months ago. Already, it’s our fourth most popular homepage in the world — right behind the U.S., India and Taiwan. Meanwhile, Yahoo! is #1 in the Middle East and North Africa for display advertising with 40% market share.

Then on Wednesday it was off to Milan, where I visited with advertisers and our passionate Yahoos there. (I love that our Italian headquarters also happens to be located in one of the fashion capitals of the world — so convenient! An hour of retail therapy goes a long way).

We are winning it Italy. In a business review, our folks called themselves the Yahoo! “Italian Racing Team,” and I believe it. They’re firing on all cylinders. The country boasts some of the highest engagement numbers for us in the EU. We reach 66% of the online population in Italy. We’re top three in seven content categories, and #1 in four of them: Mail, News, Answers and Flickr. Plus, these #1 sites are growing faster than the market. And on the ad side, May was a record month for our display advertising in Italy — we’re taking share while growing revenue.

Throughout my trip to Italy and the Middle East, one thing came through loud and clear: Our local teams are able to execute and grow user engagement more quickly than ever before. This is thanks, in large part, to the great work of our Products org.

Take, for instance, our new Yahoo! Publishing Platform (aka LEGO). Our editors have put it to good use on our Italian Movies site. We’ve seen a 90% increase in page views, and a 60% increase in users. And that’s just in the first three weeks! This is exactly what we’ve been working so hard on for the past two years. We’ve completely re-architected our infrastructure, and it’s incredibly satisfying to see it pay off in so many parts of the world.

After all that fun, I headed back across the Atlantic and spent two good, solid days covering a lot of business in the Big Apple — press, investors, agencies and Yahoo! Sales leaders. Then it was back here to Sunnyvale for CEO staff meetings and a great “Coffee with Carol” with 30+ Yahoos.

I’m off to have a good weekend, hope you do too — especially you Dads on Father’s Day!


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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