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jeudi 9 août 2012

Will Marissa Mayer be able to fix Yahoo!?

Updated / 2015, July 31 - Yahoo's Mission

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Last Update: on 2012, November 5th appeared the twenty-second "mission" (since 1996...):
Yahoo! is focused on making the world's daily habits more inspiring and entertaining. By creating highly personalized experiences for our users, we keep people connected to what matters most to them, across devices and around the globe. In turn, we create value for advertisers by connecting them with the audiences that build their businesses. Yahoo! is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., and has offices located throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific (APAC) and the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) regions. For more information, visit the pressroom (pressroom.yahoo.net) or the company blog (yodel.yahoo.com).
Almost a return to origins: the first Yahoo! mission statement (1996, July 1st) has been the only one to mention "entertainment":
Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO), offers a globally-branded Internet navigational service to information and entertainment on the Web.
Wait and see...

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On 2012, July 16th, in a really surprising move, Yahoo! appointed Marissa Mayer Chief Executive Officer! Here is the press release, which states at the bottom:
Yahoo! is a technology-powered media company, creating deeply personal digital experiences that keep more than half a billion people connected to what matters most to them, across devices and around the globe. Yahoo!'s unique combination of Science + Art + Scale connects advertisers to the consumers who build their businesses. Yahoo! is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. For more information, visit the pressroom (pressroom.yahoo.net) or the company's blog, Yodel Anecdotal (yodel.yahoo.com).
Indeed, this was the twentieth Yahoo's mission statement since David Filo & Jerry Yang started the company... More than one for every year of Yahoo!'s existence!

And unfortunately, this one wasn't the last! A few days later (same month, with Marissa Mayer new CEO of Yahoo!), anyone could read:
Yahoo! is focused on creating deeply personal digital experiences that keep more than half a billion people connected to what matters most to them, across devices and around the globe. Yahoo!'s unique combination of Science + Art + Scale connects advertisers to the consumers who build their businesses. Yahoo! is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. For more information, visit the pressroom (pressroom.yahoo.net) or the company's blog, Yodel Anecdotal (yodel.yahoo.com).
Again, more than one change only for the last month, it's not a very good sign, and it seems to me that the Yahoo!’s Business Strategy presented in 1995 for their first-round financing was easier to understand then than it is today.

So what? Yahoo! is not anymore a technology-powered media company? But "Is it a technology company? Is it an advertising platform? Is it an e-commerce player?"

Who knows what is Yahoo! in 2012? And what Yahoo! will be with the new CEO...

In one of his recent post about this smart move for Yahoo! and for Mayer, Danny Sullivan said:
Mayer’s appointment is one of the few hopeful signs of a turnaround I’ve seen for ages.
Now in this "new company with big challenges to play with, out from under the shadow of Google" (where Marissa will be able to prove that her success was clearly due to her own skills and not being in the right place at the right time...), Danny guess than:
...she’ll write-off search, not try to reposition Yahoo as a search player (yet again) but taking the Facebook route. There’s search at Facebook, but that’s hardly its main attraction. Similarly, there’s much more at Yahoo than search, and at this point, it makes sense to focus firmly on those aspects.
In fact, Yahoo! is home to the No. 1 sites for finance, sports, news, entertainment news, and more...

Actually, I don't know which decisions are necessary to fix Yahoo!, but I'm pretty sure that the first right decision -before any other- would be to fix a real mission and a true vision for the future of a company who never get neither mission nor vision throughout all his life.

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As I explained in my post (first version written on 2010, March 1st), get too much missions & visions just means get no mission, no vision at all, and it's not enough to mention "mission" only once (even former CEO Terry Semel didn't know the Yahoo!'s mission statement) and "vision" three times (from 2009, Sept. 22th till 2010, Feb. 24th) in all of his statements:
Yahoo!'s vision is to be the center of people's online lives by delivering personally relevant, meaningful Internet experiences.

Listen to Russell Beattie's blog post, Yahoo! Needs a Real Vision:
So Yahoo!'s got a new ad campaign, and apparently a new vision:  
Yahoo!: "To be the center of people's online lives." 
Wow, does that suck. It's neither visionary, nor inspiring and to me, really expresses more of a selfish desire on Yahoo!'s part to control your life, rather than a statement of what they wish to accomplish as a company.
In very simple words, a true mission statement would define the organization's purpose and primary objectives, and a real vision would be strategic to the company's future:
  1. Define a clear vision for the Yahoo! brand;
  2. Get rid of the extraneous Yahoo! products that have nothing to do with that vision (...); and 
  3. Market the new vision clearly so that business and consumer customers know what Yahoo! is and why to use it.
As a conclusion, I would suggest her to definitely reverse the relationship between the 30 nouns more frequently named in 20 first Yahoo!'s statements, where "mission" is just the dot on the "i" of business, and vision at the upper left corner of Internet (see white arrows):


Not a formal reverse, but a susbtantial one, in a way to “get back to basics” (David Filo).

But did Yahoo! ever really know what the basics were? Anyway, I can't guess if Marissa Mayer will be able to fix Yahoo!, but she is now aware of what her first step should be, "an imperative decision to take at a business level" said Theodore Hesburgh:
Successful organizations know that it takes more than a good plan to succeed in business. It takes an empowered organization, focused on realistic goals, with impassioned leadership. It takes vision. It takes consensus. It takes a sense of purpose!"The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet.
Wait and see...

Best of luck to her and to Yahoo!

1 commentaire:

Anonyme a dit…

Ben alors, plus de news ?