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Thursday, October 07, 2004

Jerry Yang at Web 2.0

Why does Yahoo! have permission to do anything (mail, calendars, personals, etc.), asks John? "The only good decision we made was calling the company Yahoo!"

Speculations about where Terry Semel might go next, can you address those? "As far as I know Terry's very happy. As far as I know, he's got a lot of Yahoo! stock, which is a good motivator. ... He makes his own decisions, but I know he intends to have a great time at Yahoo!"

Data, in the Yahoo! sense is a very personal thing. "Privacy is a huge issue that I would rank right up there with IP." Yahoo! is able to analyze user preferences and spot trends. "That data is their thing, and if they want to take it somewhere else, I don't think anyone can stop them."

Re forthcoming services: "I don't think we're going to do what Kim is doing because that looks reallly hard. If you do it right, it's really cool." "If we can do a better job by integrating it into Yahoo!, we should do it."

What are you worried about, what are you excited about? Whether you call it Web services or something else, they're spending a lot of time thinking about today's big C word, Convergence. Worries? "The next two guys at Stanford working on their PhDs."

Jeff Jarvis asks whether Yahoo! is too cluttered today for his taste? Yes. "If I got a dollar for every time someone comes to me and says 'I didn't know that...'" Audience memeber: "You do!" As far as the UI, consistency, quality, and knowing what to expect matters. He thinks they're going to begin uncluttering.

Marc Canter asks about open source infrastructure, financial support. "What do you think about the idea of helping the world?" "I like helping the world." But if they don't get the necessary number of page views each night, they don't have a business. Yahoo! are big advocates of open source infrastructure things. On the issue of APIs: Yahoo! is a ten year old company, that has radically transformed itself multiple times. There is an effort to standardize the way we communicate with each other, someday, Yahoo! will open its APIs. On the first point, "giving money away is a lot harder than making it." You have developers all around the world now. He's less worried about the monetary piece than whether they're doing enough to advance developers as a whole.

Esther Dyson asks what he's doing in China re the government (e.g. ban of Google News). Jerry says there's now a tremendous amount of hope and confidence there. As a society, they've started down a path that's a one way street, to feed this economy, they have to give the middle class more support and independence. Yahoo! operates in China and Jerry has concerns about supporting a government promulgating values he may not personally support. Ultimately, he feels that by being there, Yahoo! is helping rather than hurting. If you can influence the new generation of thought leaders now, this cuts below the rhetoric. This is what you've got to invest in, create that dialog now.

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