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Why did Jerry Yang take the CEO role at Yahoo?At the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, John Battelle, chairman of Federated Media Publishing, talks to Jerry Yang about his job as CEO of Yahoo. Yang discusses his decision to take the position, the challenges he's faced since then, and his vision for...
[ Music ] ^M00:00:03 >> You founded Yahoo 15 years ago. You -- you're, you know, for the first eight to nine, ten years, really the standard bearer for what it meant to be the Internet. You know, you made history, you made a ton of dough. More than -- well, a lot of money. You know, then you had this sort of crisis in '06 and you made a decision to come back as a CEO, why? And why are you CEO now? Like, why -- why do that to yourself? >> Well -- >> And are you the right guy? >> I figured there was a question in there somewhere. Look, I said this pretty openly. First, it was '07 when I stepped back in, and there's debate about whether I was ever CEO. I think David and I were for an instant shared a CEO title in '95. So obviously, between starting the company until I was CEO last year, I was not. And I felt that clearly I was part of the company and contributed to it in a way that I felt very comfortable. I did not, as I said back last summer, I did not make the decision of being CEO lightly. And in retrospect, obviously having the company gone through what its gone through, clearly I don't take my position very lightly. It's a very serious obligation and responsibility. I wanted to make the change at Yahoo that I believed that I could make. And it's one of those things where if you are able to sort of look at what's happening inside Yahoo, and hopefully a lot of you have been in Yahoo -- [Inaudible] you've been to Yahoo -- yes, there's been a lot of change. There's been a lot of people coming and leaving. But the plans in which we were trying to execute against from that last summer is being done in a way that I'm extremely proud of, in a sense that we're rewiring Yahoo, we're creating Yahoo into a platform company. That was the dream that I felt that I could achieve by being CEO. And that is still the dream today. And I think that's somewhat lost underneath sort of all the external issues. But I feel that's the core -- core identification of what we wanted to accomplish as a company, become a better platform company on the consumer's side, and of course becoming a better company on the advertising side as a platform company. I felt like we had the talent to do it, I felt like we had the market window to do it, and I feel that we have accomplished a lot of those things. Hopefully we'll get to talk about those things. But to me, that was the moment of time that I really wanted to make that change. And that's something that we've been working hard on, and making some progress against. Six months into this thing we had the external events with Microsoft, now we have this economy. Now I don't regret any minute of what happened, even though it's not the most fun thing to go through. I think it's just -- and perhaps I can only talk about it because I've been there the whole time. You know, it's a part of me. And some people say that's great, and some people say, well, you're just too close to it. I feel like I only know how to operate the way I know by really caring and being passionate about what I do. And I'm passionate about Yahoo, I'm passionate about its people, I'm passionate about the mission we've established. And I'm willing to go through walls to do it. And -- and I just feel that's -- that's -- that's the reason I'm there. ^M00:03:50 [ Music ]