Jobs, Dell, Yang, etc.

“For a company that helped spawn the commercial Internet 12 years ago, this seems an odd time to have an existential crisis. Web business is booming, especially advertising. And Yahoo! Inc. has capitalized on that, building a business worth $37 billion on the stock market. But that only sounds impressive if you're not up against a $160 billion juggernaut, Google Inc., that keeps pulling away in the metrics that matter...

“On June 18, Semel stepped down as Yahoo CEO, passing the torch to Jerry Yang, one of the company's co-founders. With the surprise appointment, the Yahoo board is betting that Yang… can cut through the bureaucracy and indecision that have grown up around the company, leading it out from under the shadow of Google.

“For many within Yahoo's Silicon Valley campuses, there is a sense of relief at the long-anticipated departure of Semel. True, Yang, self-effacing and by most accounts a bland public speaker, appears to be an unlikely corporate leader. Even his previous title--Chief Yahoo!--evokes a playfully casual image. But many techies see him as the only logical choice to energize the Yahoo troops. If there's one truism in Silicon Valley, it's that the most successful tech companies are still best run by leaders with technology chops, preferably the founders. Yang, 38, is a tech nerd from way back who still has a passion for the Internet. "He's no Steve Jobs," says Ned May, an analyst with media researcher Outsell Inc. ‘But he's a founder. Putting a founder back in the reins will create excitement inside Yahoo.’

“More than anything, that's precisely what Yahoo is lacking. If Jerry Yang appears to some observers more symbol than CEO, he's just the symbol that Yahoo's 12,000 employees from Silicon Valley to Mumbai yearn for. They want someone with the authority to flatten the layering that built up under Semel, whose perceived diffidence and lack of deep Internet roots turned off techies and led to a wave of departures by key personnel. They also want someone who's a real Valley Guy, who knows that survival in this Darwinian place means quickly building or buying new technologies even -- no, especially -- if they undercut existing business models. ‘Yahoo needs a visionary driving forward against the competition more than a seasoned executive,’ says one Yahoo vice-president, who is rethinking a plan to leave the company because of Yang's new role.”

(“Back To The Future At Yahoo!; With co-founder Jerry Yang at the helm, morale may soar and turnover could plummet. But will profit make a comeback?” Robert D. Hof. Business Week: July 02, 2007. , Iss. 4041; pg. 34)

OBSERVATION: Watch the life-cycle. From emergence through growth the Visionary thrives. In maturity the Professional is called upon. Facing decline, we grasp for a Savior.

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