I can’t imagine what this feels like for a developer at Yahoo! I always felt that the perception of Yahoo! as more of a media company always like an assessment of how well they did in the content space, relative to the search space. I mean, when you saw reporting on search engine usage, Yahoo! was pretty much always on the chart. Underdog status can be pretty exhilarating, don’t you think?
There’s also this aspect of developers being the golden children of tech companies. There is a certain amount of cache that comes with those skills. So if search is “that other thing we did” versus a core part of the company strategy, well, I just hope someone let the developers in on this during the interview process. Now, I think that anyone in a tech company has met that entitled developer; the walk on water, I was a nerd in college and now I am going to pay all of you back for it kind of person. Gotta say, I am not too concerned about them. Based on my experience here they are few and far between, but you totally know them when you meet them. I have to think that if anything, it’s worse in the Silicon Valley than here. Let’s put them aside for the moment.
But for the rest at Y, I feel really bad if this was not, in fact, part of their cultural fiber. And even if it was, let’s not talk about it….can’t we all just be important here? I imagine what it would be like if Steve Ballmer decided that hiring talent was not one of the most important things we do. Because hiring talent? Well people couldn’t really get their products shipped, marketed and supported if it weren’t for the talent. Anyway, I would hate to have the public announcement made that this important thing we did is not longer important and p.s., it never really was. I imagine that the folks at Yahoo!, the developers at least, would have a preferred an announcement more in line with this: “We made a go of it, kids, and I know that you all worked incredibly hard but there were some market dynamics outside of our control. Our business priorities have changed with this new deal and now we need to focus on media.” How did I do? Do I have a future career in PR? Eh, perhaps just as a mediocre blogger.
I know that life sometimes delivers an unintended slap in the face. And I know that the media has a tendency to grab a sound bite (my gawd, is it a “sound byte?” I just don’t know!) and report it ad nauseum. And cost-center girl over here knows how it feels to be deemed less important than other areas of the business. This whole proclamation, though, seems a little harsh to me. I may be getting soft in my old age. Hey, did I just apologize for being too critical? I take it back.
And just for good measure, New York Times, the anecdote about the security guard? Really? Did that belong here?
Over and out.