Yahoo Culture – What was, is, and Could Be

I am not a professional journalist. There are no ads on this blog, and I have a tiny readership. I use this blog to drive my consulting work in alternative channel marketing and product strategy. Therefore, I don’t have the kind of attributable and authoritative sources that other bloggers have on the inside of Yahoo.

What I do have is a small group of friends and professional acquaintances that are subject to all of the fear and loathing that career uncertainty brings. These folks are not VP’s or Directors, they are editors and community managers, product managers, and software engineers. I met most of them through my work at France Telecom (where I was a contract analyst for product strategy). FT opened doors for an ‘under the radar guy’, like myself. Lots of small Bay Area companies wanted to work with this EU telecom giant, but the only survivor of the internet’s halcyon days to visit the lab (while I was there) was Yahoo.

Anyhoo, when news of a round of anticipated layoffs started to surface, I wanted to collect some opinion from my small cadre of Yahoo contacts – not necessarily for a feature article on Yahoo buzz, but more for a perspective piece on the Valley’s work culture. I’m fairly certain that most folks in the techbiz are aware that prior to the Microsoft take over news, and long before the layoff news, there was a fairly rigorous re-organization taking place at Yahoo that coincided roughly with the departure of Terry Semel.

You may also recall the famous Peanut Butter letter by Brad Garlinghouse (a TechCrunch link here). The Garlinghouse manifesto was the early warning of an impending internal shakeup. Within my network of Yahoos, folks who perform the daily work at ye olde Purple Giant, all have been moved to new departments, placed under new managers, or have been bumped up or down a notch in perceived responsibilities. As a group, these salt-of-the-earth folks all received a small (though by no means symbolic) pay raise.

The following article is a smattering of paraphrased narratives collected with permission. As far as attribution, I was not able to secure the release of their identities, which is understandable in this climate of uncertainty. Perhaps, when the dust settles, said one, we can go on the record.

So, take these observations for what they are: thoughts and anxieties from the collective consciousness of Big Purple’s mid-level ranks, as paraphrased by an amateur blogger.

It’s a take on the culture of the valley we love and loathe so much: Continue reading

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