Yahoo: The circle game

So with the departure of Caterina and Stewart from Yahoo, I don’t think much of anyone from the gang of pirates, as Caterina dubbed the ADD team back in 2005/6, is left.

This is a large turn-over of the social media experts, not that anyone in the main product teams ever tapped any of their knowledge much, anyway, and it says a lot about how the Y! culture is heavily focused on things other than product innovation (getting people to land on their “start pages” and the ad platform for the newspaper partners and small business people would be where I’d guess all the efforts are going right now–in other words, a replay of the equally successful Knight Ridder and AOL schemes of 2003-06.)

When I joined Yahoo! in  2006, it was to the highly meat and potatoes Personals, but I was so excited at the chance to work in parallel, and learn from, the brilliant people who’d developed flickr, upcomingdelicious and so on.

I did learn, but not because I recall Yahoo! packaging up their expertise across the org in any way, more because I sought them out–and very little of what I learned actually made it into our product, truth be told–we had to push so hard to rebuild a 2004 platform and tired interface to make our numbers that the virtual gifting, identity badging and other possibly game-changing stuff we hoped to release never happened.

And now Stewart and Caterina are gone, too.

 There are tons of other bright, talented people I know who are still at Yahoo! but those two had a special light I hope the company is sad to miss.