Fail and Yahoo! Yahoo! is firing a bunch of people to cut $400 million from its budget. That sucks for the people who work there, but the entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who hustled Yahoo! out of more than $2.5 billion in the last 4 years probably aren't terribly concerned.
In the typical American fashion, Yahoo! bought a bunch of shit it didn't need with money it didn't have. That, of course, was no problem at the time because the stock market always goes up, and they get a fuck-ton of airline miles every time they buy a Web 2.0 startup. In the other typical American fashion, the sharks took advantage of Yahoo!'s poor financial sense and engineered a little bit of the old redistribution of wealth - namely distributing Yahoo's wealth across their pockets.
I love this country.
Sorry You Lost Your Job, But These Guys Got Rich
Oddpost - Because Gmail Is Hard
On April 1, 2004, Google launched the first beta of GMail. This was one time when the word revolutionary was actually appropriate, at least in the context of web-based e-mail. It didn't exactly solve world hunger, but it caused Yahoo! to freak the fuck out and pay upwards of $30 million for a ten-man startup called Oddpost a couple months later. Oddpost became the new version of Yahoo! Mail, and the world breathed a sigh of relief.
VerdiSoft - The Ghost In The Machine
VerdiSoft was a company that did something with mobile phone syncing. It's some way to sync your office shit to the numerous mobile gadgets you have because you have no interpersonal relationships and need to fill the void with material possessions. VerdiSoft never actually shipped a product, but Yahoo never believed products to be important. What is important, though, is spending $58 million on a startup you'll just roll into Yahoo! Mobile.
Maven Networks - Still Trying To Make Online Video Profitable
Google realized that it was making the other publicly traded companies look bad, so in 2006, it bought YouTube as a solid loss-leader to even off its balance sheet. Still wanting to run with the big dogs, Yahoo pissed away $160 million on Maven Networks two years later. Maven does something with video platforms or some shit. Fantastic.
You Can Probably ReFi That Sucker In A Few Years
Yahoo! spent billions more on other stuff too. Funny, none of these "investments" prevented them from laying off their staff.
The goal of Web 2.0 was to get users first, then figure out how to make money off of them. Well, at least that's what you tell your investors. In reality, the goal is more like "get users, and hope to get acquired and become somebody else's problem." For Silicon Valley, this really is self-destructive behavior, with Yahoo! being the enabling friend who brings us clean needles from his job as an orderly. Sure, he's not intervening like a true friend would, trying to get us into rehab, but he feels like he's helping because we're still disease-free.
Well, hospital administration just figured out that Yahoo! has been raiding the supply cabinet. Looks like we're fucked now. ®
Ted Dziuba is a co-founder at Milo.com You can read his regular Reg column, Fail and You, every other Monday.
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