At Yahoo, the sun will always come out tomorrow. Or at least that’s my conclusion after reviewing some of the memos that have leaked from the company after its various difficult transitions over the past five years, culminating in today’s embarrassing removal of Scott Thompson, the company’s CEO since January.
With Groundhog Day-like repetition, the company’s honchos always tell the foot soldiers that if they just keep on doing what they’re doing, things will get better. And then something bad happens at the top that sets the company back yet again.
To see what I mean, see if you can match up seven upbeat snippets with the leaked Yahoo memos they came from.
The memos in question are:
Memo 1: Semel’s farewell words to Yahoo employees when he was forced out as CEO in June 2007
Memo 2: Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang’s reflections after Microsoft dropped its hostile takeover attempt in May 2008
Memo 3: Yang’s comments upon stepping down as CEO in November 2008
Memo 4: Cofounders Yang and David Filo and Chairman Roy Bostock’s announcement to employees after Yahoo dismissed CEO Carol Bartz in September 2011
Memo 5: CEO Scott Thompson’s note to Yahoos last month after the announcement of sweeping layoffs
Memo 6: Thompson’s pseudo-apology to staffers last week in the wake of controversy over his widely-reported-but-bogus computer science degree
Memo 7: Ross Levinsohn’s thoughts today after being named interim CEO
Ready? Match the above memos with the snippets below, then check the end of this post to see how you did.
Change is never easy. But the time has come to move Yahoo! forward aggressively with increased focus and accountability. Our values have always been about treating all Yahoos with dignity and respect, and today is a day to embrace those values. This is an amazing company with exceptionally talented people and I know we will all do our best to encourage each other through this difficult period of transition.
in the end, it all comes back to who we are as a company. we have a spirit and a culture that is uniquely yahoo! – and we can’t forget that. staying true to who we are has helped us pull through the recent uncertainty we’ve faced, and will continue to be an asset as we move ahead. there’s a reason why we’re the only fortune 500 company with an exclamation point at the end of our name, and now is the time to demonstrate what that exclamation point stands for.
In my note Friday, I said I would be focused on continuing to do what needs to get done. That’s because I feel I owe it to all of you to make sure that nothing disrupts the progress we’ve made in just a few short months due to all of your focus, commitment, and hard work. As you’ve heard me say many times, we have a tremendous business with incredible assets, and we can win by putting our customers first. The progress I shared with you in the first quarter should make clear that we intend to move fast and deliver on the potential of the business for our customers, shareholders, and all of you.
I am a huge believer in Yahoo and its people. We have a unique array of audience, advertising and technology assets that will become even more valuable as the Internet continues its rapid growth. And, I have no doubt that, with its new leadership team, Yahoo will realize its enormous potential.
In the meantime, I know there is one thing we should definitely all be doing in light of this news, and that is to focus on the momentum we’ve created over the last few months. Many of you have heard me talk about the possibilities we have, and about the opportunities in front of us. In spite of the very bumpy road we’ve traveled, we are achieving genuine and meaningful successes in the marketplace every day and heading in the right direction.
In addition, the ELC will support a comprehensive strategic review that the Board has initiated to position the Company for future growth. We are confident that we have talented teams in place and see enormous opportunities on which Yahoo! can capitalize, and right now we are focused on leveraging the Company’s leadership and current business assets and platforms to execute against these. We fully intend to return the Company to a path of robust growth and industry-leading innovation. We are committed to exploring and evaluating possibilities and opportunities that will put Yahoo! on a trajectory for growth.
Despite the external environment we face, the fact remains that yahoo! is now a significantly different company that is stronger in many ways than it was just 18 months ago. this only makes it all the more essential that we manage this opportunity to leverage the progress up to this point as effectively as possible. i strongly believe that having transformed our platform and better aligned costs and revenues, we have a unique window for the right ceo to take ownership over the next wave of mission-critical decisions facing the company.
ANSWERS (hold your computer upside-down to read):