Yahoo & Peanut Butter Market Timing


The aftershocks of the Peanut Butter Manifesto continue to be felt long after the explosions stopped. Earlier this week, The noted that Brad Garlinghouse, author of the PBM had worked at @Home, CMGI’s @ Ventures and at DialPad, three entities that met ignominious fate.

The fact that this observation was included in the snarky “Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week” column, got one of their readers (name Tyler, second name not given) quite riled up, who wrote a stinging response, and copied his email response to some of us in the blogosphere.

The precis of the response was that Brad left @Home right at the time of Excite@Home merger, or near the top of @Home’s market valuation. He hightailed from CMGI to join Dialpad in late spring 2000 at a time with CMGI stock was almost near its peak. Since DialPad was a private company, it wasn’t the same public market situation, but in the end it did get taken out by Yahoo, where Brad worked.

Which brings us back to Tyler who observes, “the more accurate conclusion is that we should learn/watch when Brad leaves a company and know that it is likely the early warning indicator that his efforts to effect change have failed – and sell!” Okay that is something we had not thought of but the idea of Brad being a market indicator is intriguing. The only problem – Yahoo stock is already down 30% for the year.



Did some research on the SVP of Whine at Yahoo. There is a strong degree of truthiness in the following, but it’s more a life story of Brad Garlinghouse cobbled together from the internets:

  • Granddaddy, F. Mark Garlinghouse, was general counsel for AT&T during the historic antitrust case that led to the company’s court-ordered breakup in 1984.
  • Daddy is chairman of midwest firm, M-C Industries, Inc. ( )
  • Mommy and daddy throw money at Dems/Rethugs equally, hedging bets.
  • Gets econ degree at Kansas, daddy gets him into Harvard MBA program.
  • Daddy gets him partner position at CMGI Venture Capital.
  • CMGI portfolio company Dialpad experiences tremendous growth
  • Put on board of Dialpad
  • As part of 2nd management team to fail at Dialpad, is effectively fired, then re-hired later after 3rd management team fails.
  • Helps Dialpad burn through remaining portion of $67 million in cash investment, and is fired, but not before whining to CMGI “You’ve never helped me!” when CMGI refuses to pony up more cash for SVP Whine to burn through.
  • Gets VP gig at Yahoo as Yahoo is intensely interested in getting some VOIP stuff going
  • Helps Yahoo acquire company he tried to ruin, Dialpad
  • Starts ’silo’-speak in 2005 at various VOIP conferences
  • Gets his sister Meg Garlinghouse job at Yahoo
  • Threatens to take his VOIP/Yahoo knowledge to MySpace, and uses this threat against Yahoo to get bumped up to an SVP slot
  • Whines in company-wide email. People don’t know if it is a joke or serious. ‘Bleeding purple/yellow’ part makes for guffaws all around.
  • Fired from Yahoo for violating ‘no a**holes’ policy?

Does anyone realize how much publicity Brad has got due to this memo? There are quotes everywhere – from WSJ – “a second tier yahoo executive…” and from Economist – “a manager just senior enough to be noteworthy..”

Was this the main intention of leaking out this memo? Obviously Yahoo’s troubles are far too complex for a fast-track, cliche talking, MBA (no tech) VP like Brad to fix. Maybe this was the only way out for him?

The valley needs to clean out such people and show them the door. Not just Yahoo. Its time, some real product nerds who really have a passion for developing great software take over the reins from fools like him.

Sramana Mitra

I have often wondered the benefits of a matrix organization structure, especially one so complex as Yahoo’s, where GMs are basically glorified product managers, with ownership of nothing – neither engineering, nor sales. This makes it terribly difficult for true GMs to be effective.

Unfortunately, many large companies follow this structure, and many of my larger clients do so too.

All it does, is creates immense politics, finger-pointing, crappy accountability dynamics, and a general disfunctional environment.

A proper divisional GM with full ownership and accountability a la GE is a highly desirable change, not only in Yahoo, but in a lot of the larger Billion+ companies.

Andy Abramson

Valley insiders who know the Bradster say he’s got a VC gig lined up..others say he’s playing the Terry fiddle…

My view..he leaked, or had the ‘nutter mani leaked…

Bottom line remains. YAHOO is in need of a shake up and the winds of change are there.


What matter is percentage ?

Yahoo is up by 20% and Google about 5%.
In actual dollars YHOO is up $4 and Google is $30 a share.

If you invested $500 on both YHOO and Google, you would have earned $100 on YHOO and only $25-$30 on Google.

Om Malik

Even with those gains, Yahoo is up just under $4 a share, while Google is up around $30 a share. The disparity in actual dollars is pretty huge.

Comments are closed.