Yahoo's got a new leader now -- co-founder Jerry Yang took the reins from Chief Executive Terry Semel on Monday -- but is that enough to hasten a turnaround at the company whose revenue growth and stock price have slipped over the past 18 months?
Not at all, say experts. Yang has to have a plan, one that people can get excited about, articulate it well to restore employee confidence, and then executive. No more dropping the ball (Google and search and search advertising) and missing the boat (social media), they say. And what should that plan be? Well, here are five top suggestions from analysts, industry watchers and a former Yahoo executive for the company to help get it back on track:
1. Focus on social media. Buying Flickr was a great start, and Delicious, and developing Yahoo Answers, but now Yahoo should integrate them more and create a centralized online hub for hanging out. Maybe even pony up the cash needed to buy Facebook, before Microsoft does.
2. Improve video. Yahoo's video efforts are eclipsed by Google's purchase of YouTube. Yahoo wants to stem the tide of display ad dollars to social networks, and it should try harder to monetize video for the same reason.
3. Streamline internal structure and processes. It was easy for Yahoo to push out new products and innovate when it was small and breaking new ground. Now, more than a decade old and with nearly 12,000 employees, it's harder for fresh ideas to bubble to the top. Yahoo failed to respond fast enough to the competitive threat that was Google. That can't happen again.
4. Name a chief technology officer. CTO Farzad Nazem resigned several weeks ago. With the company in transition and a new captain named, it's time to get this vital top job filled. Yang's appointment signals a return to the company's technology roots, from Semel's Hollywood background, and Yang needs a visionary and capable CTO.
5. Innovate, innovate, innovate. Yahoo remains one of the top Web sites and its services like e-mail and instant messaging lead in those areas, but the company hasn't had a product home run in a while. Yahoo needs to steal the "wow" headlines from things like Google Earth and YouTube and earn back its geek cred.
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