They were already very visible when I got there in 1998.Yahoo had two problems Google didn't: easy money, and ambivalence about being a technology company.When I realized this one day, sitting in my cubicle, I jumped up like Archimedes in his bathtub, except instead of "Eureka! "Both the Internet startups and the Procter & Gambles were doing brand advertising. As long as customers were writing big checks for banner ads, it was hard to take search seriously. Hackers But Yahoo also had another problem that made it hard to change directions.They'd been thrown off balance from the start by their ambivalence about being a technology company.
Which caused yet more revenue growth for Yahoo, and further convinced investors the Internet was worth investing in. But they had the most opaque obstacle in the world between them and the truth: money.
So these big, dumb companies were a dangerous source of revenue to depend on. I remember telling David Filo in late 1998 or early 1999 that Yahoo should buy Google, because I and most of the other programmers in the company were using it instead of Yahoo for search. Search was only 6% of our traffic, and we were growing at 10% a month. I didn't say "But search traffic is worth more than other traffic!
But there was another source even more dangerous: other Internet startups. " I said "Oh, ok." Because I didn't realize either how much search traffic was worth. If they had, Google presumably wouldn't have expended any effort on enterprise search.
The worst consequence of trying to be a media company was that they didn't take programming seriously enough.
Microsoft (back in the day), Google, and Facebook have all had hacker-centric cultures. At Yahoo, user-facing software was controlled by product managers and designers.