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Carol Bartz at Web 2: Everybody Is Sticking Everybody Else In The Eye

By - October 22, 2010

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(image) Continuing my journey through the highlights of our forthcoming Web 2 Summit (here’s my initial take on Eric Schmidt), today I ask for your help in interviewing Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz. I am particularly pleased Bartz is coming, first because she’s very good in conversation (and yes, often salty), and second because she fell ill the day I was to talk with her last year on stage, and we all missed the chance to hear her then.

However, much has changed since then, although Yahoo shareholders might argue not enough – in particular, not Yahoo’s down-to-sideways stock price (for a comparison to Google’s yearlong performance, see this chart). Those arguments have fostered serious chatter that Bartz might once again miss her Web 2 date – and this time not due to illness.

Well, I predict she’ll show, and she’ll have plenty to say. When we last spoke, we discussed the Web 2 theme, and she summarized it this way: “Everybody is sticking everybody else in the eye.” I won’t take it as my job to instigate her famous sailor’s mouth, but I sense it may go off on its own. After all, we do have a few things to talk about that might make a gal want to cuss. Here are a few of the issues we’ll discuss. Please add your thoughts in comments….

- Any public response to the current rumors of a private equity led buyout of Yahoo, perhaps with an AOL twist? I can’t imagine Bartz will have anything to say about this, but we’ve gotta ask.

- The never ending question: What is Yahoo? Bartz and I spoke about this on the phone a month or so ago, and you may be surprised by her answer. There’s been some seesawing in Yahoo’s definition of itself – from a technology driven company to a media company – how does Yahoo bring the two together? Again, there’s an interesting story here as it relates to content.

- Talent. A lot of folks have left (and yes, many have come). Why? Why would a talented engineer want to go to Yahoo instead of, say, Facebook or a startup?

- Yahoo’s approach to social. The new Yahoo Connect seems directed at Facebook, yet deep integration of Facebook is one of Yahoo’s core strategies.

- Yahoo’s new approach to product and infrastructure (I’ve written about this here). There’s an interesting story to hear, and Carol tells it well.

- The Microsoft search deal. Now mostly integrated, will it/is it bearing fruit.

- Her view of Apple. This should be quite entertaining. As should her take on Google, which she told me “has to grow at least a Yahoo a year…”

- The advertising platform business. Yahoo is deep in it, competing in a trench war with Google and Microsoft. How does Yahoo differentiate?

- The concept of “content with a soul” and her response to the content-farm allegations around Associated Content.

- Local: Always a focus at Yahoo, what’s next?

Please give me your thoughts on what to as Carol in the comments. Thanks!


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3 thoughts on “Carol Bartz at Web 2: Everybody Is Sticking Everybody Else In The Eye

  1. R_macdonald says:

    What is Yahoo’s commitment to Semantic Search?

    Did the company “kill” SearchMonkey, as claimed by Amit Kumar?

    Given Facebook’s early successes with Open Graph’s partial RDFa implementation, how will Yahoo exploit elaborating uses of Semantic Web Linked Data?

  2. What is Yahoo? Yes, that’s the question. Every time Bartz or Jerry Yang has tried to answer it lately (in public, that I know of), the result has been a mess.

    I use Delicious a lot and Flickr a little. I did before Yahoo bought them, and I’m glad Yahoo hasn’t messed them up. But I’ve never felt the least bit enticed to use any of the rest of Yahoo. From my perspective, Yahoo is a hodgepodge without distinctive themes or strengths.

  3. Ssystech says:

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