Now that Carol Bartz is on board at Yahoo!, I’m sure she’s meeting all the senior people and getting presentations of all the 2009 plans and the critical investments. Having lived through more than one change of the guard at Yahoo!, I’d counsel Carol to consider the following:
1) Optimize premium service revenue
Who can you bring in-or bring back–to help optimize revenue from your premium services businesses? Have Small Business, Personals & flickr–three businesses with healthy paid services–been managed optimally, with the right investments (I think not). If you can add 8% to your revenue stream from these products, you’d see a very healthly number that would off-set concerns about your knowledge of the ad market.
2\) Reconsider local, local ad revenue and self-serve advertising.
What’s the ROI to date on Yahoo’s latest attempt to capture this holy grail? Unless you have the data that says yes, this may have been another huge investment on a nut Yahoo! won’t crack.
3) Differentiate your advertising. Consider what to acquire to beef up strategic targets and markets.
Want women? Roll Shine up with some new properties. News? Clean up the mess in Santa Monica–that group has been left to wander in the desert for way too long.
4) Do NOT sell search for 100 days
Search makes Yahoo! a complete portal–and selling off the search business bit by bit was one part of what helped scuttle Netscape (of course, another part was getting rid of the Netscape search team!)
5) Be bold and pragmatic all at once
Yahoo! has made so many decisions by committee and concensus in the past few years, not always to its benefit. Have a vision and a strategy–and work from that, not committee-speak. Put eight senior execs in a room and they can talk themselves into anything. Don’t go there.
6) Ask–and meet–the rank and file and get their ideas
That “NO” culture means that there are dozens, maybe hundreds of ideas filed away that could make things better or create new revenue and user engagement. Once you have a strategy, turn these folks on it–good will come out of it.