Yahoo’s people problems

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Yahoo, if you ask Silicon Valley insiders, is trying to barrel ahead on two fronts – trying to become a media player and yet at the same time expand its search capabilities. Both these efforts are part of its attempt to what Yahooligans describe as their desire to put a distance between them and Microsoft and Google. Especially Google. In order to do so, the company has been trying to hire like mad crazy. Someone recently told me that Yahoo might have as many as 600 open positions. The problem however is their pesky stock price. It currently lacks the sizzle of Google, and consequently long timers are finding its well time to go do something else. Like start their own vertical search company, or something like that. But those are minor problems, compared to the upheaval at the Yahoo Media Group, according to this morning’s Wall Street Journal. The Journal says, of the eight general managers of company’s media group, three have quit, and three others are looking for other gigs within the company. Problem is Lloyd Braun, the former chairman of the entertainment division at Walt Disney Co.’s ABC network, a Hollywood type who was brought in by Chairman/CEO Terry Semel to add some pep to the media group. So far, all he has done is add more bureaucracy. Semel has been great, but his Hollywood cronies might become a problem. Kingdom building is what brought down Disney, and just might prove to be Yahoo’s bete noire. Rafat Ali seems to have confirmed some of my worst fears. The LA-fication of Yahoo is a dangerous trend.

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