Carol Bartz Gets Yahoo's Act Together

Oct.28.09 | About: Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO)

By Carl Howe

Today, I’m out at the Yahoo Analyst Conference in San Jose, California. This morning, we’re mixed in with the financial analysts, and the day kicked off with CEO Carol Bartz introducing the day. I thought her tone was refreshingly honest, and worth passing on, especially given Yahoo’s (NASDAQ:YHOO) presence (and subsequent challenges) in the Anywhere Economy. Here are some highlights of the things she said.

“Yahoo was the big shining star in the 1990s and mid-2000s. But then we become not so shiny. We have kind of lost your respect over the years, whether it’s our 6% operating margin (which is pathetic) or something else.

“Here we are, a 14-year-old Internet company that somehow got boring. But we’re the largest communications engine in the whole world. When we can serve up impressions of 9 billion ads a day through our networks, that’s innovation, and that’s scale. You don’t just start up an Internet company and do that. We know how to do these things.”

“Our advertisers are looking for a safe neighborhood. When you have 78% of the U.S. population coming to your site, the business is not about growing to 79%. Our job is to deliver insights and audience to those advertisers.”

“Who’s my competition? It’s ESPN in Sports. In finance, it’s WSJ and Bloomberg. For home pages, it’s AOL and MSN. Those are all our competitors, and we wake up every morning with passion to beat every one of them.”

“”We’re not a search company; we’re not a display company. We’re a broad-based Internet company that serves up content to millions of people. We’re not here to wow you today; we’re here to intrigue you and impress you.”

My take: No matter what you think of Yahoo today, it remains one of the foremost Internet engines that powers the Anywhere Economy. No one should be writing them off, especially with Carol running the show.