We Were Yahoo!: From Internet Pioneer to the Trillion Dollar Loss of Google and Facebook

We Were Yahoo!: From Internet Pioneer to the Trillion Dollar Loss of Google and Facebook

by Jeremy Ring


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Only someone from the corporate inside could explain how Yahoo!—one of the greatest brands in corporate history—could rise to the greatest height ever seen in American business...and then crash into oblivion.

For anyone paying attention, the beginning of the end for Yahoo! began with decisions made by the first team of executives while the company was on its way up, which set the stage for horrific decisions made by subsequent generations of Yahoo! leadership. Most decisions were either pure incompetence or just lack of vision by CEOs from 2001 to the present.

Twenty-one years after its incorporation and sixteen years after its stock peak, Yahoo sold for 96% less than its value on January 3, 2000, when it had closed at an all-time high of $118.75 per share, resulting in a market capitalization of $120 billion. Wall Street valued Yahoo!, at that time in business less than six years, higher than it did Disney, News Corporation, and Comcast combined. Also on that day, the iPhone was more than seven years away from launch, Google was four years from its IPO, Amazon was hemorrhaging money, and Mark Zuckerberg was still in high school!

At the end of 2016, the top seven businesses on the list of the highest-valued companies in the world by market capitalization include Apple at #1, Alphabet (Google’s Parent Company) at #2, Amazon.com at #5, and Facebook at #7. Those companies combined are valued in excess of $2 trillion more than the price Verizon paid to acquire Yahoo!

Yahoo!’s story is one of missed strategies, failed opportunities, and poor execution. Early decisions to de-emphasize search features, undervalue Google, and overplay Yahoo’s hand in the Facebook negotiations haunted the rest of the company’s existence. In addition, factors outside of Yahoo’s control—most notably how irrational expectations of Wall Street created an environment where short-term decisions were made at the expense of the long-term good.

The story of Yahoo! is a cautionary tale not intended for the faint of heart.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781682615782
Publisher: Post Hill Press
Publication date: 01/23/2018
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Senator Jeremy Ring was an early internet pioneer, as he opened the East Coast office for Yahoo! out of his apartment in early 1996. Following five extremely successful years with the company, Ring relocated his young family to Florida. In 2002, Ring founded Students United with Parents and Educators to Resolve Bullying (SUPERB). SUPERB is an eight-week program targeting middle-school students. The strategy is to identify the bystander and empower that student with bravery and confidence to intervene when inappropriate behavior is occurring. Since its inception over 50,000 students throughout the state of Florida have participated in the program.

In 2006, Ring overwhelmingly was elected to Florida state senate. During his ten years in office, Senator Ring introduced and passed several pieces of legislation aimed at jumpstarting the innovation economy for the state.

Additionally, Senator Ring authored several bills that gained significant national attention, including sponsoring legislation to move Florida’s presidential primary to early February for the 2008 election and proposing computer programming be included as a foreign language option for high school students.

Senator Ring has had thousands of mentions in all newspapers across Florida as well as appeared often as a guest on several national cable news programs on Fox, Fox Business, CNN, and NewsMax. Time magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, The New York Times, and US News and World Report have all reported or opined on legislation proposed by Senator Ring. In addition, Bloomberg Business Week named Ring as one of the top ten Yahoo! alumni in America.

Senator Ring has given talks at industry and trade events, political clubs and college campuses throughout Florida. His speeches mention the rise and fall of Yahoo! and his own personal experiences helping to usher in the digital information age.

Table of Contents

Prologue 7

Introduction 11

Chapter 1 Starting at the Bottom 13

Chapter 2 What Was Yahoo!? 29

Chapter 3 We ARE Yahoo! 49

Chapter 4 Unanticipated Redemption 61

Chapter 5 A Life We Never Imagined 69

Chapter 6 A Storm is Coming 73

Chapter 7 Life After Yahoo!: The Tom Bennett Story 77

Chapter 8 Google: The Largest Missed Opportunity in the History of Business-Take 1 101

Chapter 9 Paid Search: The Largest Missed Opportunity in the History of Business-Take 2 113

Chapter 10 The Storm Came 121

Chapter 11 Terry Semel: Old World Failure 125

Chapter 12 All Hands on Deck for Search: The Largest Missed Opportunity in the History of Business-Take 3 135

Chapter 13 Facebook: The Largest Missed Opportunity in the History of Business-Take 4 153

Chapter 14 Flickr: The Largest Missed Opportunity of an Internal Division in the History of Business-Take 1 159

Chapter 15 Jerry Yang: Founder CEO 163

Chapter 16 The Evil Empire-Take 1 173

Chapter 17 The Activist Investor-Take 1 183

Chapter 18 Moral Pygmies 185

Chapter 19 Carol Bartz and the Evil Empire-Take 2 189

Chapter 20 More Turmoil at the Top and Activist Investors-Take 2 199

Chapter 21 Marissa Mayer: Hope and Disappointment 207

Chapter 22 It Was Just Too Late 215

Chapter 23 Activist Investor-Take 3 and Final Cut. The End of Yahoo as an Independent Company 225

Epilogue 235

About the Author 239

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