Why do you people always say that?

Last week at Web 2.0, Yahoo hosted a dinner at LuLu’s and invited about 50 people (yahoos and people from around the industry). I enjoy these things, they are always a good way to meet new people, hear different persectives on the industry and get the word out about what we are up to here. And this night was no exception.

My favorite (and most eye-opening) part of the night happened very early on. A fellow Yahoo and I were chatting with Noah Kagan and my colleague said something to the affect of “you know Yahoo is a big company, so…” and talked about how you have to navigate the org to get things done. My colleague was right, it’s an art working the company to get things moving the right way.

But, ever the astute one, Noah asked “Why do you people always say that? You never hear people at Google say how big Google has gotten–even though it has–but people from Yahoo always say that.” His point: if you keep saying you are a big company, then you will be one. He’s right and he’s right to have called us out on that. I say it often too, and I’m particularly good at navigating the company, but still I shouldn’t have to and I shouldn’t just let it be. And, when I think of it, there are lots of positive things to focus on about Yahoo, why don’t I say those first: “you know Yahoo has a great platform so its easy to scale” or “we’ve got tons of traffic, we just need to decide where to send them”, etc.

I’ve never been a huge fan of the “postive mental attitude” cult or those “The Secret” guys, but in this case, Noah’s right. So starting today, I’m gonna stop saying “You know Yahoo is a big company”. If you hear me say those words, please call me on it. You know from my other posts that I’m committed to positive change, now I just have to speak like it.

7 thoughts on “Why do you people always say that?”

  1. Totally agree with Noah. I am a yahoo also, never did say the “big company” thing. It never feels like a big company, just a lot of fun.

  2. its a momentum thing. when yhoo was rising $20 a day no one talked about bureaucracy either, because it was mitigated by the upside. no tension, no static, few meetings…because everyone is getting their lobster roll. take wawy the special sauce and people start thinking something they are doing is wrong (if not why would the stock be dropping?) so they inject layers of decision-analysis wen in fact they should just accept the deflation. goog is going to go through all of this too. i give them credit for keeping the ball i nthe air longer than anyone though possible, but look at the trend on their stock, even their own insane growth can’t push the stock over $500…goog has stalled out.

  3. I’ve always liked Noah, very smart guy.

    Your company is only as big as your team. You don’t hear people in Bismarck, North Dakota say to their neighbors “wow, it’s a big country.”

  4. Scott,

    It was great chatting that night! I think there is huge potential and great people at Yahoo!, I just want to see it realized. I have a bad attitude a fair amount of time but I wonder what it will take to get Yahoo! back to more nimbleness/kick-assness…

    Ken, I always wanted to work for/with you. Maybe I can at least get a bike ride with you. One day…

  5. Ken, great point (although I’ve never been to Bismarck 😉 ). And Kevin, I guess I haven’t heard that from google yet, but not really surprising.

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