Memo to Carol Bartz: re-quantify your value proposition before you “re-brand” Yahoo

Posted: July 9, 2009 in Uncategorized
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There’s no executive in or out of the Valley for whom I have more respect than Yahoo’s Carol Bartz.  Haven’t logged a whole lotta personal time with her but we overlapped at NetApp in the 1990s, she as a director and yours truly as the company’s minister of propaganda.  Seriously. I have the business card to prove that this was my actual title. But back to my main point, my respect for Ms. Bartz.  This is why I respectfully suggest that she do the following as part of her re-branding initiative:

1.  Identify what your users believe is the single most valuable benefit Yahoo delivers.  Know precisely what it is. Then design everything around this benefit, including the structure and operations of the company itself — and get rid of everything (and everybody) else.  She seems to be moving in this direction, but we’ll see how far.

2.  Drive the cost of adopting Yahoo services down to practically nothing.  Strive to make them the standard for simplicity and adopt-ability.  Make Yahoo’s stuff known as the go-to web services in search, news, entertainment, everything.

3.  Make your business model and advertising structure consistent with 1 and 2 above.

OK, you’re ready to roll.  I now respectfully suggest that you direct your new hires, former Y&R exec  Penny Baldwin and  ex-NetApp CMO Elisa Steele, to grade all creative material according to these criteria:

Is it unique to Yahoo?
Is it relevant to the user?
Can it be sustained over a lengthy period of time (long “shelf-life”)?
Is it comprehensive?
Does it lend itself to compelling communication and resonance with users?
Is it supportable internally (can it excite and energize your employees)?

BTW, we stand ready to contribute — especially  if you’re inundated with unsolicited vendor calls these days.


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