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Posts Tagged ‘internet’

jerry-yang-and-yahooJerry Yang’s recent departure as CEO of Yahoo has sent a long awaited cry of relief from investors and Yahoo insiders alike.

Although the bittersweet ending for Yang means he is no longer in charge of Yahoo’s strategic plans, he will remain “Chief Yahoo” while helping the board look for his replacement.

In the meantime, take heed of some lessons from Mr. Yang and Yahoo’s business debacle.

1. Being too close

When we literally put our blood, sweat and tears into a project, we have an even more difficult time letting our baby go and “grow up.” 

Don’t let ego get in the way of good judgment. Analysts, Yahoo insiders and tech pundits generally agree that Yahoo is choking because of Yang’s passion and closenessto the quirky internet start up turned struggling web search behometh.

After all, he had been with Yahoo from day one. In this case, many believe Yang missed a fundamental opportunity to seize Microsoft’s unsolicited bid to purchase Yahoo for $44 billion.

Yang thought it seriously undervalued the company and refused to sell – some contend that it’s the most boneheaded move in tech history.

Sometimes, taking an objective “cold” look at the reality of your professional circumstances is the best way to move your career (or business) forward.

Passion is great, but you can’t afford to have it undermine clear business objectives. After all, it’s dollars and cents that keeps a business in business.

2. Having an identity crisis

Wenda Millard, ex-head of sales spoke candidly about Yahoo’s inability to recognize it’s own brand identity at a media summit. Commenting on Microsoft’s earlier bid for Yahoo, Millard said,

It was absolutely inevitable and predictable. Yahoo lost sight of who they are and who their customers are. Yahoo’s perception is that their only competitor is Google.

But 95 percent of their revenue comes from advertising – so their competitors are really the broadcast TV networks.

They think they’re in the search game, when they should really be in the brand advertising game.

Expect to evolve and grow throughout your career. When we suffer, however, from an identity meltdown – we lose our way and become blind to our own “professional brand.”

Growth is impeded and careers stall. Inevitably, we lose our consistency and you need consistency in order to maintain identity.

3. Crippling creativity

During Terry Semel’s tenure at Yahoo, individual departments were rewarded by their own efforts to produce profits. These controls were created to jump start innovation on underperforming units.

When we make our careers only about getting ahead – we eventually lose steam. Thus, robbing us of any genuine professional innovation that could potentially develop.

Although Yahoo saw vast financial improvements, unfortunately, they bred another problem: departments become more  territorial and less willing to exchange ideas.

It led to a breakdown in team collaboration and company ingenuity overall.

If all your inspiration is focused towards “winning” you lose the magic that comes with creating for creativity’s sake. Collaboration and learning are the core roots for creating good ideas.

When you delete those concepts from the equation, you lock others out and impede your own “creative self-interest.”

4. Changing too slowly or not changing enough

Yahoo was way too slow to respond to its competition, Google. So slow in fact, that analysts opined that Yahoo could never catch up no matter what it did.

When we stubbornly stick to the “basics” of what we know and don’t adapt quickly enough to evolving industries, changing trends or work on developing our skills – expect professional trajectory to tank.

Recognize that careers are fluid – not static.

Yang recognized Yahoo’s need to change, but didn’t implement any concrete strategies on how to get there.

Change is not negotiable in context to career fulfillment and development. The same goes for business survival.

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???My name has two realities. In one, I am a lawyer living in Chicago who specializes in commercial litigation. In another, I’m a writer living in Chicago who enjoys blogging.

The two realities are separate and real – I find it eerie all the same.

While still in high school, I applied to get my state ID and was forced to bring my mother and a yearbook to verify my identity.

It seems that the other Raven Moore’s picture was mistakenly connected with my information.

So, instead of my information popping up in the system, some “other” Raven Moore would pop up with my personal information attached to their picture.

Another time, a few years ago, I went to my alma mater’s yearly alumni event. A fellow alumni noticed my nametag and commented that he worked with a “Raven Moore” – but thought it was funny I wasn’t actually her.

“Small world,” he says.

Is it really a small world when someone else has the same name as you?

When I make appointments at my salon, they have to ask me which Raven Moore I am. They have several.

Another time, while working with a Chicago literacy program, I received an email detailing a list of volunteers and members. The email asked to make sure name spellings and bio information were correct.

I complained that my information was wrong – hey, I’m not a lawyer!

In reality, the aforementioned attorney Raven Moore, was a member of the organization as well – they forget to put the other Raven Moore (me) on the list.

Weird.

And annoying as hell, too.

Besides feeling like my life is occasionally re-enacting that weird X-Files episode where Kathy Griffin played a psychotic twin, I don’t really have any interest in differentiating my name.

I think it would just get even more confusing: R. Moore, Raven A. Moore, Raven A.M. Moore (yes, I have two middle names) – it’ll just make things unnecessarily complicated.

Briefly, I thought about changing my name to a symbol like that guy Prince, but even he got wise to how stupid that seemed.

And, what’s even more disturbing is when I Googled my name last year, the first few sites that popped up linked to a porn star and kindergarten beauty pageant queen.

What were my parent’s thinking?! This takes hating my name to a whole new level.

Despite otherwise, I do like my name. It suits me. It’s also memorable, easy to spell and poetic.

I haven’t thought much about the other Raven Moores in Chicago who get confused for me (if ever).

It’s enough trouble trying to keep my hairdresser from dying my hair blond because the other Raven Moore liked it so much.

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iheartbloggingFor those of you interested in blogging, the venture can be a mysterious, weird process. You may go to a site like Blogger, WordPress or Typepad, go through the motions of setting up – and now what?

And now that you have your blog about [subject to be inserted later], you are at a loss for (written) words.

How can you make your voice heard in the chattering mass of the blogosphere?

What can you do (besides write good posts)? Well, it depends on what you want to talk to about. Everyone talks about niches, personal brands, the essence of what your blog should be about – it gets overwhelming.

So, in any event, you need a niche, but you don’t know how to figure that out. That’s OK, we all had to start somewhere.

Start a blog. Fall in love.

In order to enjoy blogging, you need to fall in love with your subject. And no, not the honeymoon love where there are no flaws and everything is perfect. 

When you do choose a subject, you have to be willing to uncover its secrets, its flaws, its inconsistencies and its hypocrisies. The unappealing, sees-you-first-in-the-morning reality that takes your blog to a new depth is what gives it pop.

Don’t be afraid to uncover its ugliness – it gives your blog credibility (as well as relevancy).

It may be awkward at first, but you’ll get better as time goes on.

And, no, you may not blog about your pet bunny. Unless your bunny does something really interesting. And you’re in love with it.

So, we’ve narrowly covered what your niche should be and eased your fears about what a blog could be about.

Maybe.

Randomness – the godsend of unexpected ideas

It’s fine to be a little random in your blog, but not quite so at the beginning – but keep it intriguing. 

An example of randomness can range from something seemingly off-topic from your niche or discovering an edgy idea and applying it to your blog.

It’s alright if you switch topics or ideas throughout the life of your blog – expect it.

Blogging and your virtual community. 

A blog should reflect you.

Unlike getting a book deal, or publishing in other print media, the way in which you edit and revise your ideas is much more transparent. 

You change your mind, tweak your opinions and engage your audience in a much more interesting way with a blog than you ever could with a book.

However, stick true to your (well-researched) opinions and don’t become wish washy.

Whatever your blog is about, make sure you can have enough content to keep the blog going. Be specific enough to attract your intended audience but make it accessible enough to capture attention of new readers.

Do you want to talk to farmers, lawyers, doctors, Gen-Yers, baby boomers, Stay-at-home moms, Working Mothers, Stay-at-home Dads, college girls who want to become fetish models?

Look at your surroundings.

The initial conversation is in your head

Blogging is just as much about a dialogue with yourself as it is with others.

In other words, the reason why blogs are considered to be about conversation is because they offer a sense of immediacy. If someone (dis)likes what you say, they can engage you (or not read your blog anymore, but let’s stay positive).

Pick one. Any subject. Don’t know where to start with that either? Who do you like talking to? What kind of friends do you have? What kinds of stuff do you like to do? What kind books and magazines do you read?

If you can’t answer any of the above questions or have nothing in which to draw inspiration, you probably have no business trying to create a blog and should spend more time developing a social life instead.

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