Thursday, February 26, 2009

sigh: yahoo decides to build products customers want

New Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz has reorganized Yahoo! to make it easier for Yahoo! to deliver products that Yahoo! users will react to with the word "wow".


In a blog post titled Getting our House in Order, Ms. Bartz lays out her management manifesto using folksy language like "People here have impressed the hell out of me" and "Look for this company's brand to kick ass again."

I! think! that! is! great!

But I was a bit disappointed by the following paragraph:

We're also leaning on this team to make sure we're all hearing the voice of our customers (consumers and advertisers). I'm singularly focused on providing you with awesome products. Period. The kind that get you so excited, you have to tell someone about them. Whether on your desktop, your mobile device, or even your TV.

Umm. What were they doing before?

Then I read this. . .

And that takes a real understanding of what you want/need/love/hate, how you’re using our products, and what you find simple, intuitive, easy and fun. Who wants innovation for innovation’s sake if it doesn’t make your life easier, more efficient, more productive? So expect us to hear you better and take better care of you.

And was even more disappointed. Because really, what were they doing before?

I know they have product managers because good (and even some great) product managers I've worked with before are at Yahoo! and they understand how to build good (and even some great) products.

Is it just that they weren't able to blaze past the crusty institutional barriers that had accreted over the years? Or that their superiors "knew what the market wanted" and suppressed market-focused innovation?

I'm guessing some of both.

No comments: