Coach Lombardi to Yahoo!: Success ain't no annuity.

“Success is like anything worthwhile. It has a price. You have to pay the price to win and you have to pay the price to get to the point where success is possible. Most important, you must pay the price to stay there.” Vincent T. Lombardi

OK, so I’ve been writing about Yahoo! this week, and I have football on the brain. Go Giants!
(Watch this video, an example of huge mental discipline by an indefatigable kicker.)

Anyway, when I read this quotation from the storied Green Bay Packers coach, Vince Lombardi, I thought it was worth sharing.

I mean, look at Yahoo!. (Update: Microsoft makes $44.6-billion offer for Yahoo. ) Once the #1 destination on the Web, the company that helped establish the Internet era is reeling, having lost its vision, lost its product edge, too much top talent, then market share and, of course, market value. (Nielsen Online says Yahoo! can still claim to be #1 in total page views per user per month, but Google is #1 in the more valuable statistic of “average monthly uniques.”) It seems leadership hasn’t been willing to “pay the price to stay there.” And so now Yahoo! will be losing 1,000 of their 14,300 staffers (and an ex-CEO board member!), too.

Lombardi could’ve taught those techies a thing or two: : Success is no annuity. It must be earned, over, and over, and over. Maybe Jerry Yang, et al, will learn this lesson yet. (And maybe Eric Schmidt should take pause, too.)

Let’s hope so, but for now, why don’t we all just thank those Yahoos! for “doing the research” for us on this one. Sit on your duf, even a little, and you’ll find yourself riding out of town on it. So that’s one less business lesson the rest of us have to learn the hard way.

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