If I were Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz for one year… (YHOO)

By: ispeculatornew
Date posted: 12.21.2010 (5:00 am) | Write a Comment  (5 Comments)

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With the holidays around the corner, we decided to do a mini series about a few of the tech stocks that we follow all year long. We are the first ones to judge and critic how these companies are run but as they say, it’s always much easier to critic it then actually run a company. So we decided to go ahead and write a series about what we would do with these companies. Hoping you will enjoy the series:

Dec 20    If I were Google CEO Eric Schmidt for one year…
Dec 21    If I were Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz for one year…
Dec 22    If I were AOL CEO Tim Armstrong for one year…
Dec 23    If I were Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for one year…
Dec 24    If I were Apple CEO Steve Jobs for one year…
Dec 27    If I were Ebay CEO John Donahoe for one year…
Dec 28    If I were Amazon CEO … for one year…

Management in the past few years

Yahoo is probably at the very top of companies that I think are being round into the ground right now. Comparing any company to Yahoo is as offensive as anything I could say and there is no doubt that Yahoo has a lot to do in order to get back in order. Things have been run so badly for years that one year at the top of Yahoo would be quite a challenge. Just think about the fact that Microsoft could have paid about twice what the company is worth a few years ago  when the company had not yet fallen off the cliff. The problem at Yahoo is that it tries to be decent at everything instead of being great at a few things. There are a few properties that have been managed well and Flickr is certainly near the top of that list.

General Vision

-Become a relevant and innovative player on the web in the social, local and entertainment spheres.

Initiatives/Priorities I would get started on

Get Rid of Carol Bartz: Carol Bartz has been a major disruption, has lost the confidence of her employees and senior management which have been leaving the company at a quick pace. I would start by getting rid of her and explaining the new Yahoo to all employees: “We will no longer be a jack of all trades but become the King of just a few”.

-Expand from Flickr: Yahoo is lucky enough to have a hot property that continues to shine despite everything else. It could be the starting point from which Yahoo gets a decent presence in the crucial social web. Moving slowly is critical to avoid alienating users. I think first on the list would be making it easier for users to share their Flickr content, to give users the ability to build a “profile page” similar to what Facebook has and make it easier for Yahoo users to communicate from Flickr. Facebook has never been afraid to make changes as it improves and I think Yahoo should do the same with Flickr

Stop working on Games: Yahoo has had a good presence in online games for some time but has recently fallen off a bit to players like Zynga. I think the recent alliance with Zynga is the good thing to do. Games are too complex to be a focus for Yahoo and should be provided through alliances with Zynga and similar players.

Put focus on Yahoo Finance: Yahoo Finance remains one of the leading finance websites on the internet despite being almost exactly the same that it was 5 years ago which is incredible. Yahoo created a powerful website that attracts very attractive and valuable users but has been slowly losing them as the product continues to fall behind competition. Yahoo should use the workforce that was working on Yahoo games to improve the finance website with better charts, data, more social capabilities and an improved look.

Email: Make it more social, and start innovating. Yahoo Mail has one of the largest user bases of any email service and that should warrant hundreds of engineers working on improving the service. Spam detection, better organization, new features (viewing photos received or shared by email?). While Google has been rolling out improvements to Gmail every few weeks, Yahoo has remained the basic service that it was a few years ago.

Buy Yelp (cost of approximately $265M): Yahoo’s strategy and focus on local is relevant and should be a major focus in the next few years. Buying Yelp would be a major first step in getting the commercial/business point of view. That could be integrated with what Yahoo is now building in terms of local news and information. Yahoo has a strong community presence in much of the US and the world and getting strong in hyperlocal websites will help it remain relevant.

Get rid of Alibaba: Yahoo is not an ecommerce player and should not try to pretend being one. Buying a stake in Alibaba was a great business move but it should now be sold at the right place. Yahoo shareholders do not want to own a holding company.

Buy Yodle (cost of approximately $250M): Yodle is a leader in local advertising which should be a major focus for Yahoo in the near future. Local is one of the two critical parts of the future for most internet companies (with mobile) and Yahoo has a major edge in local. Buying Yodle to improve its advertising capabilities and sales force is critical.

Classifieds: Yahoo’s strong presence in local and its strong traffic should make it a much more important player in the classifieds/listings business. I would put the focus on market share through innovation, free listings, and high traffic in order to gain back some market share.

Any thoughts or ideas?

I would love to hear your thoughts or ideas regarding all of these initiatives!

Disclaimer: I am currently short Yahoo (YHOO)

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  1. […] 20    If I were Google CEO Eric Schmidt for one year… Dec 21    If I were Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz for one year… Dec 22    If I were AOL CEO Tim Armstrong for one year… Dec 23    If I were Facebook […]

  2. Comment by Catarina — December 23, 2010 @ 2:28 pm

    I think that Carol Bartz is a really strong women and a great leader! One year is not enough to change a huge company like Yahoo. Her priorities: She needs to give a better vision and set clear direction for Yahoo employees. She is not in an easy position because of evolving environment. Would not want to be in her shoes!

  3. Comment by IS — December 24, 2010 @ 7:00 am

    @Catarina – Perhaps, but to me the most telling sign is the fact that so many senior executives are leaving the company..if she can’t even convince her own employees…

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