physics - 6:42 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)
I think Jerry's main problem was he was to attatched. In business you realy need to think with the head, not the heart. Yahoo! was clearly his "baby".
Good point but you could've said the same thing about Steve Jobs. Hindsight...
I think part of the problem is that Yang took over not only in a tough time for Yahoo! but a tough time for the economy and ... even Google. Check out the chart of Google and Yahoo!'s stocks [finance.google.com] since Jun 2007 when Yang took over Yahoo! Google's stock price is down 40% while Yahoo's is down 60%. A difference to be sure but is it enough to justify all of the flack that Yang gets?
Now I don't know if he deserves it or not really. But I'll say that this reminds me of a a book I read recently called "The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives" [amazon.com] by physicist Leonard Mlodinow. Basically the book is all about how we, as humans, are always trying to make sense of things that happen even though randomness plays a huge role. He makes some great points about people like CEO's, movie executives, mutual fund managers, etc. A good example is people who choose movies. Sometimes they make a few 'flops', and they get fired. They're told that they're not any good at 'picking hits'. But, movies are years in the making, so when they're fired there's a queue of movies that THEY CHOSE that do eventually get made. And some of those go on to be ENORMOUS blockbusters. So, really, the executive WAS good at picking hits, or at least as good as any other executive, but had some bad luck. This happens all the time - and I'm not sure there's much we can do about it except to be aware of it and try to separate out those cases where it's clearly true that it was the mis-management or lack of experience of the CEO/whomever that lead to all of the problems.
In the case of Yahoo! I'd say this is not clearly the case given the state of the economy and the struggles that Yahoo! was already dealing with (such as fierce competition with Google, etc) BEFORE Yang became CEO.
In any case, there probably was not much choice for Yang/Yahoo! given the state of the company right now - and I hope the change will do them good. Even if it's just random.