Making The Rounds

A article on Wired entitled “How Yahoo Blew It” by Fred Vogelstein is making the rounds.

First disclaimer, I think I own some Yahoo stock, I would need to check. Second disclaimer, I know I own some Google stock.

I think the article misses an important historical perspective. Yahoo was started a long time before Google and so there has been more time and opportunity for inertia, bureaucracy and general turf to build up, which will happen in most companies over time as they grow.

Google is a lot younger, hence smaller and nibbler, so was able to catch up and overtake Yahoo. One difference that does stand out between the two companies is that Google remained much more focused than Yahoo at the same stages of growth. What I means is that Yahoo diversified much faster than Google as it grew.

But this will change. Eventually Google will slow down, we are already seeing that, new products are not being introduced as fast, some of what is there is looking decidedly dated, other bits have been in beta for what seems to be a long time, and there have been grumblings about it “not being the place it once was.”

However Yahoo is still a force to be rekoned with, they have come back from a near death experience before, as the article points out, and I am sure they can do it again. And every indication is that the company is well aware of the situation.

The second “however” is that Google could be prey to the same startup they once were, there are no lack of people trying and someday, someone will succeed.


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