Yahoo! Peanut Butter?

Everyone is chattering about the Yahoo! Peanut Butter Manifesto.  Every BigCo has problems of overlap, lack of accountability, and people who think those problems are worse or better than they really are.

In this case, though, I’m a bit confused by the memo.  Everyone knows that Flickr and Delicious are tiny compared to the competing Yahoo! properties.  But they are undisputed #1 in their respective spaces in influential mindshare.  Every company wishes that they could appeal to 50 million normal people *and* the 57,000 who read TechCrunch.  Yahoo! has succeeded at this in two important categories.

I mean, is Joshua Schacter’s org *that* expensive?  Are they really causing chaos with the other teams?

And while the memo lacks specificity and reads like a “phone in” complaint, there is something more disturbing about it, IMO.  Why was it leaked?  And why are people making such a big deal of it (no doubt the one is related to the other)?

 It’s true that our industry is becoming more “Hollywood”, but it is getting ridiculous.  Brad and Jen split?  Calcanis dis’d Digg!!  TomKat married?  Diller and Murdoch are duking it out again!  There’s a new bond girl?  A Yahoo! VP is a straight-talking big gun taking on the establishment!

When people who are supposed to be making good technology and business decisions start playing to the adoring/ignorant public, you have to question their motives (not that Garlinghouse did this deliberately; I don’t know).  It’s great for Zhang that gold-digging province girls know his name and availability — but less so for Garlinghouse.  Unlike Zhang, he has bosses who look bad with a memo like this.  Whether he released this deliberately to make a name for himself, or someone released it to get him in trouble, it’s not too good for him.



  • […] Josh Allen: “Every company wishes that they could appeal to 50 million normal people and the 57,000 who read TechCrunch. Yahoo! has succeeded at this in two important categories.” […]

  • no idea who this Garlichouse girl is, but she should be fired immediately for abusing the English language. what a pathetic non-tirade.

    Peanut Butter spread too thinly? the memo is completely unconvincing in just about every way, except that it obviously shows an organization who can put a girl like this in an SVP slot surely has something drastically wrong with it.

    i think it’s safe to assume that this peanutty-bad whine will go down as the cry-babiest moment in Web 2.0 history. and, really, doesn’t it deserve at least that much?

  • This memo suggests that much more clarity is needed from Yahoo’s CEO. It appears to be time for Terry Semel to retire and I would suggest that Susan Decker take over.

    Jerry Yang and David Filo are critical at this crossroads for Yahoo!:



  • […] Better Living through Software » Blog Archive » Yahoo! Peanut Butter? Everyone is chattering about the Yahoo! Peanut Butter Manifesto. (tags: yahoo peanut butter) […]

  • Yahoo should start an online memo writing service for managers that is based on a context free grammar and the scigen engine:

  • @peter: President Brad Garlinghouse is a dude.

  • Honestas: or Chomskybot (

    Peter: he’s reported to be a good manager; and very few VPs write with the eloquence of a Nick Denton, so I wouldn’t harp on that. But it’s still a bit overly dramatic

  • […] Consumating – I first came across Consumating a year ago when CNET bought the company for an undisclosed amount. I’ve never had much luck actually dating off of the site, but the community makes looking for a date a lot of fun. The site uses a number of advanced social tools to encourage communication with other members and the community they’ve built is a blast to be part of. People love to use Consumating to play games and there are a constant stream of “Consumeetings” where you can meet people in a low pressure environment. From an investing standpoint though, Consumating isn’t quite ready for prime time just yet. While good for consumers, the lack of monthly fees makes this internet dating play less then ideal for those trying to capitalize on the lack of love in the world. I can understand why CNET would want to build their community out first before tyring to monetize it, but even once the community grows, Consumating isn’t going to be an easy site to monetize. With $2.5 billion in retained losses, CNet is an attractive takeover target right now, but between their widely publicized issues with stock option back dating and questions about them bleeding traffic, make this is one love story that I’m not sure that I want to be part of. Yahoo! – Yahoo! (YHOO) has been offering personals on their site for years, but anyone who has ever tried to actually meet someone through the service knows how bad Yahoo! really is at finding love. The ads are poorly written, the layout is confusing and searching for the right match is more work then it’s worth. Fortunately, for Yahoo! though, the company does have a dating gem in their portfolio. When most people think of Flickr, they think of photo sharing site, but for single people who are interested in meeting the sensitive artist type, there is no better place to find love on the net then through Flickr. With regular community organized meet ups and plenty of social tools built into the site, there are a lot of Flickr users who take advantage of the passive nature of comments and faves to do a little flirting on the site. Yahoo! isn’t necessarily making a boatload of cash from the activity of course, but it’s still a nice compliment to what they do overall. The p/e on their stock makes the company look a little expensive right now, but given all the doom and gloom about the company and with their stock price down about 6% from where it was trading at last Valentine’s day, there may be an upside if Yahoo! can turn things around and tap into the Google love they’ve been missing out on for the last few years. […]

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