Web 2 Conversations: Jerry Yang

Gang, I'm interviewing Jerry Yang in two weeks at Web 2. You all have read the news this past year. It may seem obvious what to ask him, but help me out: what do you think I should ask him? I rely on your comments!…


Gang, I’m interviewing Jerry Yang in two weeks at Web 2. You all have read the news this past year. It may seem obvious what to ask him, but help me out: what do you think I should ask him? I rely on your comments!

26 thoughts on “Web 2 Conversations: Jerry Yang”

  1. 1. What was the worst day in Yahoo for you?

    2. By signing on the Google deal, you give Google the most valuable asset – data on users behavior across Yahoo search.
    As Behavioral targeting seems to be the future of display advertising, aren’t you worried that you are actually killing Yahoo on the long run?

    3. What is your elevator speech to convince an advertiser to advertise on Yahoo instead of with Google?

    4. What is Yahoo How would you define Yahoo?

  2. So, Jerry.

    To help dissuade Microsoft from purchasing Yahoo! earlier this year, a poison pill compensation scheme was put in place.

    Some people have said this was one of the big reasons the deal didn’t go through, your stock price has since tanked and in all likelyhood Microsoft is going to purchase you at a much cheaper price.

    To the 10% of your employees who will likely lose their jobs soon, into one of the toughest modern economic market climates, how do you justify not accepting the Microsoft offer?

  3. Ask him, that he wanted to protect me from getting fired in case Microsoft wanted to fire me to save cost for the combined company. He insisted on an unreasonably nice severance package for me. Unless he accepts on the stage that he was not really thinking for me and only made my job protection as an excuse to lie to the world in order to satisfy his own pride and greed, should not Yahoo offer the same severance package to me. In fact, he insisted on a severance package from Microsoft even if I voluntarily resigned. Should not Yahoo offer the same to me now?

    Should I and people like me, sue Yahoo in a class action suit? A public company is not controlled by the board, it is ultimately controlled by the investors. Board is paid by the investors, just like other paid people. So in some sense, all the conditions of the poison pill should remain as is.

  4. 1) What is the real percentage of Yahoo’s search volume/share that originates from Google and is arbitraged on Yahoo’s content syndication network?

    2) With the Google deal coming into play, how much longer do you think Google will pay out for the round tripping of their own traffic. They’ve already cut off most of their major Arbitrage partners.

  5. Has any consideration at Yahoo! been given to breaking up the company into smaller units, perhaps under a holding company, so that they can innovate and thrive on their own?

  6. In terms of Display and specifically the Portal business model – do you think in 10 years from now the Portal as a business model will exist in the same way that we know it today?

    Web 2.0 has largely been about the creation and mass adaption of platforms and tools that empower/enable people to create, distribute and converse in ways never been seen before. That growth is a main cause for the flatlining of MSN, Yahoo!, and AOL’s traditional PV growth. Will the idea of a company brining, sort of, “everything you’ll ever need online” under one roof (Portal) still be relevant 10 years from now? Hell, 5 yrs. from now?

  7. 1. What are the three greatest things you have done to increase shareholder value since becoming CEO in 2007?
    2. Why haven’t any of them worked?
    3. You contended in your negotiations with Microsoft that the company was worth $40/a share. It is now trading at about a fourth of that and even before the market crash was still less than $20/a share. If you believe the stock to be such a bargain is Yahoo going to start buying back its stock? Will you attempt to take the company private?

  8. “What do you want Yahoo to be, and be known as, the best in the world at? Answer in one sentence, please.”

    Elaborating a bit: “For example, Google is known as the best in the world at search (sorry, Jerry, but you know it’s true). Apple is known as the best in the world at elegant, easy-to-use computers, portable music players, and mobile phones. What do you want the analogous statement about Yahoo to be?”

  9. Ask him what he honestly thinks of the recently launched Yahoo! Brand portal “Start Wearing Purple” and how much he believes it will positively position the brand and help them connect with their users.

    The launch/portal (or shall we say whisper) can be viewed here:


    Here’s a lead into line you can use for the interview (taken from homepage):
    Purple is now, it’s wow, it’s pow!


  10. I would ask him whether he deems Federated Media a competitor… and whether those people with a potential vested interest in either a MSFT acquisition of YHOO (Michael Arrington?)… or even yourself with FM ever comment fairly on the company.

  11. I would ask him why given that Yahoo has failed on traditional search they haven’t put more resources into creating search engines for flights (akin to kayak), financial search engines akin to moneysupermarket or gocompare.com in the UK. If he mentioned kelkoo, you might as well give up, it’d be a joke. I would also ask why more resources weren’t put into yahoo finance and whether he regrets keeping display advertising seperate from the core advertising after they bought Overture.

    I take a different view on the google adwords deal, as an advertiser it takes me longer to administer my yahoo account for 5% of the traffic compared to google, in terms of ROI i am always better optimising my google account rather than faffing with small changes in ROI on meaningless amounts of traffic.

  12. What a bunch of softball questions.

    Ask him:

    What its going to cost to save Yahoo in terms of jobs and cutbacks. Ellison cut back a billion dollars in Oracle expenses in one year.

    What guided him in deciding which executives to fire last summer.

    Is it disturbing to run a company when so many special interest groups are attacking a business with their socially motivated positions.

    Why should a company’s role be in relation to moral, political or religious issues that have nothing to do with the company’s business?

    Does he ever resent the ideas of the left or the right, and where do special interest groups and organizers need to draw the line in their public conduct related to businesses?

    Do engineering employees at Yahoo have a say in the direction of the company.

    By comparison to Asia, is the United States on the right or wrong track as a democracy and a ethical place to do business.

    When do you know what’s right and wrong?

  13. Advertisers tend to evaluate the value of a site using a metrics such as pageviews and unique users which is increasingly out of sync with the modern web of APIs and RSS feeds. Does Yahoo feel the need to change this measuring stick and, if so, what is being done externally in the market and internally at Yahoo to change the way Yahoo is valued?

  14. Jerry, you are coming up on 15 years of living and breathing Yahoo and the Web. Give us two defining moments, big or small, that capture: first, your greatest sense of pride or satisfaction; and second, your worst fear or anxiety.

  15. Yes, to what Ian Kennedy says!

    We have watched as Yahoo has made deals with major newspapers, but how about aggregating our content and sharing ad revenue? Can’t Yahoo find a way to help bloggers, photographers and videographers who in turn will help Yahoo?

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