Open letter to Penny Baldwin.

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Penny Baldwin is Yahoo!’s new brand savior.  Reporting to CMO Elisa Steele, Ms. Baldwin is tasked with creating the way forward for the Yahoo brand. Newsflash: If you are plotting the course for the brand, you are plotting the course for the product (hopefully).

 

For years Yahoo has been a multi-headed dragon: part search, part start page, part portal and Web tool kit.  Ms. Baldwin knows this and will likely use a variety of means to look into Yahoo’s past and determine where Yahoo’s brightest embers lie. Where its greatest loyalties reside and the treasure trove of revenue amassed. Researchers will look at competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. Anthropologists will delve in to time-of-day usage and where other media intersects. All this info and data will go into the hopper and be extruded into a hardened strategic mass that be delivered to 72 and Sunny or some such shop(s) and $65 million and six months later we’ll be humming a new song or reciting a new line, but Yahoo will still be foundering.

 

Here’s what needs to happen: Yahoo needs to get rid of 65% of its technologists, replacing them with really good free-agent and draft pick content creators: bloggers, video bloggers, podcasters and journalists. People make appointments with internet properties to be informed, entertained, enlightened, and educated. Yahoo isn’t "my home on the web.” People don’t need the weather and horoscopes and puzzles and shizz, they want curated pages leading them to the coolest original content. Invest in content Ms. Baldwin. Peace!