What If Guy Kawasaki Was The CEO of Yahoo?
Cameron Olthuis of Pronet Advertising recently interviewed Guy Kawasaki; blogger extraordinaire and venture capitalist on an array of subjects ranging from Apple to blogging to Yahoo. Seems that Kawasaki actually turned down an interview for the CEO position at Yahoo! back in the early days because he “didn’t want to drive from San Francisco every day, and … didn’t see how a collection of web sites could be a business.”
In depth interview throughout, Cameron pops the big question to Guy; “What are some things you’d be doing differently right now to set the company apart from Google?”
And the response is priceless.
Interesting question…one that I hesitate to answer for free. First of all, the competition between Google and Yahoo is mostly in the minds of the employees of the companies, and they are too close to the situation.
When I think of search, I go to Google. When I think of ads in my blog, I used to think of Google, then BlogAds and soon Federate Media. When I think of social groups (eg, my son’s hockey team), I think of Yahoo. When I think of classified ads to sell my car, I think of Yahoo. There aren’t many cases where I choose between Yahoo and Google on a head-to-head basis.
Too often, companies are vying among themselves for who’s got the biggest, well, whatever. Who’s written up the most in the Wall Street Journal? Who do most engineering majors from Stanford talk about working for? Who has the coolest company parties? Who’s private jet has the best interior? Who has the nicest campus?
Does this stuff really matter to the rest of the world? I don’t think so.
Apple had its day. Microsoft had its day. Yahoo had its day. Google is having its day, and this day will pass as all the other days have. The question is not, “How can a company ensure that its day never passes? but “What will the company do after its day has passed: slip into mediocrity or rise again?” As you can see, companies can recover their glory; Yahoo is doing pretty good, if you ask me. Also, I had little to do with it, but you have to admire Apple in this regard. It’s had three days: Apple II, Macintosh, and iPod.
One last thing: If I were Yahoo, I would stick three engineers in a garage and tell them to create “Yowser.” This would be world’s greatest browser; it would encompasses the latest, greatest web developments: all-encompassing IM and chat, photo sharing, video, collaborative screens, Flash, social networking, whatever.
Give this browser away; and oh, guess what, the default search engine is Yahoo’s, not Google’s. The features of the browser should be so good that people will not care that it doesn’t default to Google. How hard could this be? A six month project if three engineers are doing it in a garage. Five years if you put one hundred programmers on it.
Read the full interview from Pronet Advertising