Keynote Speaker, Marketing Technologist, Columnist, Futurist, Smart Ass

My Experience Working With Yahoo! And Why Marissa Mayer is Right about Not Letting Employees Work from Home.

ydunce1Everyone has been busting Marissa Mayer’s proverbial balls over the past week over her decision to make Yahoo employees work at a corporate office and stop working from home. My work commute is approximately 66 steps from bed to work chair. It works for me. I work for a silicon valley company from my basement office in my Kansas City home. Living and working in Silicon Valley is too damn expensive so living there isn’t really an option. Having said that, I understand why Yahoo! totally needs to do it.

In the past summer, the company that I consult with was working on a partnership with a well known movie producer on a joint venture with Yahoo and my company. Meaning, we had to work together closely to make it happen. They had a distribution partnership with Yahoo! Screen and we had to work with it.

Working With Yahoo!

FingernailsChalkboard1My personal experience of working with Yahoo! was akin to listening to fingernails being drug across the chalkboard 24 hours a day for about 5 months. Yahoo! just doesn’t seem to get it. In fact, internally, we started calling them: “NO-Hoo!” and “Boo-Hoo!”.

Every single social media option that we brought them to help improve the visibility and to amplify the project was shut down by Yahoo!

Every. Fucking. One.

On the project, one of my jobs was to identify influencers who we might want to reach out to. So, I developed a process in which I was able to export every “TV crime drama” follower from every major Twitter account. Every follower of CSI, CSI Miami, CSI New York, CSI Springfield MO, CSI Tuscaloosa, CSI Mayberry, Criminal Minds, Special Victims Unit, Law and Order and many other similar type shows.

kloutscoreI exported each follower and began doing extensive analysis on them. After I obtained all of the followers, I was able to process the data and begin to sort the data to find pockets of efficiencies. With my process, I was able to identify the most influential followers who love TV Crime Drama shows. In fact, I could use this same process and tools to find any influencer for any new TV show, movie project, sports team, etc.  It’s a very effective process.

Then I took the list over to Klout and had them process the list against their database to see which of the 270k plus were also on Klout.  We discovered approximately 21,000 of the most influential crime drama television viewers.

In fact, the process that I developed, Klout now uses whenever they develop influencer lists for a Perk. It worked very well.  LOL.  According to employee 007 at Klout, they use 3 processes that I’ve developed now at Klout.  Excuse me while I pat myself on the back.  It’s my only consolation, since it’s put zero dollars in my pocket from Klout. 😛 But, I digress from the real point.

Back to how much Yahoo! sucks!

In our proposal to Yahoo, we would then offer the first episode of this online crime drama to these 21,000 influencers via a “Klout Perk”. Those highly influential people would all get to see the first 9 minute episode before anyone else and then be able to share that experience with their friends. This activation was going to cost only around $15,000. It would be a slam dunk.

But Yahoo repeatedly said “No!, we don’t want the episode to ‘leak'”.  Leak? Leak!? Are you kidding me, No-Hoo!?? Leak?  You want stuff like this to get lots of pre-buzz… and you want these 21,000 top influencers to watch this first episode… and get excited… and then share the video far and wide as possible. Viral, even! “Sharing” is not a fucking leak!

OMG, this still pisses me off to this day, can you tell?  And it was over 6 months ago.  I was so pissed that I closed down my 15 year old @yahoo email address.

Marissa Mayer is Right about Not Letting Yahoo! Employees Work from Home.

We came to No-Hoo! time and time again with various different ideas to make this movie successful. And overall, we ended up with nearly a billion impressions worldwide and we got over 21 million people to watch the movie online, and if you figure $10 per ticket, this would have been a $200m box office hit. We had this thing launch in 25 countries SIMULTANEOUSLY.  It was an amazing feat.

But it could have been HUGE. We could have had 50 million watch it. I know it.  But NOOOooOOOOooo. Boo-Hoo! had to be a roadblock that we had to hurdle at every junction.

Have I mentioned how much Yahoo! sucks?

Keep in mind, I don’t know how many Yahoo employees that we worked with actually worked from home. That’s not necessarily the point. The point is, Yahoo! doesn’t get social and is hard to collaborate with. So, I’m glad that Marissa Mayer put her foot down and is making these employees work from an office. They need better internal collaboration if they are going to get out of this black hole of NO!  Personally, I don’t mind working from an office around brilliant minds. But, it’s more convenient and better for the environment to work from home. But, when you are as dysfunctional as No-Hoo, you don’t deserve that luxury.

To share with you just how much that Yahoo! doesn’t get social media… I drove by the headquarters in Santa Clara, CA in August and I did a drive-by check-in on Foursquare… It told me that if I checked in 2 more times, that I would be the mayor of Yahoo! LOL.

Marissa Mayer knows that she has her work cut out for her over there. She is well aware of the dysfunction. She is trying to change things, and I believe that she can. But it is an uphill battle. And she needed to make this decision to stop the slackers from working from home. I wish them the best of luck, but I won’t be using any of their services, any longer, as it might leak!

This blog post is the personal opinion of Travis Wright and does not reflect anyone else’s opinion, who has worked with No-Hoo!, Boo-Hoo! or Yahoo!

  • http://federman.best.vwh.net/ Alan Federman

    If you think working with them sucks, try working for them!

    I lasted 26 days as a contract service reliability engineer. I thought I was doing well learning their byzantine web search front end. They kept promising us more people and training. On Monday morning of my 26th day, two new guys showed up, making our team 5 people. We all met with our Yahoo manager and got instructions on what do do next. When I got home that evening, I was called by the contracting manager and told not to return to work, and arrange to return my Powerbook. No explanation was given. Don’t want to sound like a redneck, but Yahoo at Sunnyvale is about 75% Indian. Why hire an experienced contractor who will work 40 hours a week, when you can get an H1B for less, but who will work 100 hours a week and won’t complain about anything, and do exactly as they are told.?

    My only question is why hire people, pay them, spend 5 weeks training them and then let them go with no analysis of what the hell went wrong? If their hiring practices are that messed up, shouldn’t the people who made the hiring decision face some consequences? If there was some sort of milestone needed to prove competence, wouldn’t be beneficial to publicize it, rather than keep it a secret? The new management scheme at Yahoo is “Tribal Leadership”. I guess it means the tribal council can vote you off the island for any reason. Just like ‘Survivor,’ anyone who appears to be competent is a threat to those already there. I am PO’d because I turned down another offer to take what I thought was going to be a 1 year contract. Now they are advertising the same position as a three month contract. I am guessing three month is a reasonable time to bring someone in and evaluate them. Even If I had known it was a three month contract going in, I wouldn’t have behaved differently. I feel sorry for the two new guys who arrived the day I and my co-worker got canned.

    Another possibility is Yahoo just lets contractors go for no reason, to scare the shit out of those that remain. As an engineer, I like to know why things work, but Yahoo is just dis-functional on every level.

    As far as working from home, there is no reason that I can see that my job (once learned) couldn’t be done from home, but other positions certainly would benefit from you being on site. Commutes to Sunnyvale are brutal for most people if they live more than 10 miles away. In spite of the Marissa declaration, service engineers frequently did their on call rotations from home, and some were permanently off-site.

    Hope you like this – it is old but still works, I probably need to add a couple of verses. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5fRw0lXUHE

  • H. Davis

    Yahoo does suck their new format was designed by idiots!!!Blows…

  • Bean Town

    Sorry bud, this is one of the worst rants I came across in a while, couldn’t get even half way through, you’re so full of yourself, it’s pathetic…

  • Rick McCallister

    So nothing about how this is good, just an incoherent rant about how Yahoo sucks, so every idea to come down the pipeline is somehow good? Incredibly shallow and vapid piece.

  • Michael Gerulis Gajor

    Check out the hilarious “Yahoo! Sucks” Facebook page. They are #1 on Google (of course) for “yahoo sucks” search.

    Feels good to vent and rant there a bit like the rest!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Buck

    Glad I never worked for yahoo! Ever since Marissa Mayer had become yahoo’s CEO. She did a great job running that company into the ground. Marissa Mayer should step down as CEO! I have noticed alot of changes within the last three years yahoo has made and none of them good! I have been a yahoo user from the beginning.

    I want my old yahoo back. The new yahoo email sucks so bad. I had no choice but go to AOL. Yahoo’s web designers suck! I hope AOL never hires them! Yahoo’s new email is absolutely God awful. Try commenting on yahoo’s news and sports etc.. In their comment section. Trolls everywhere. Ashame yahoo dosen’t have moderators.

    • 3lbisivni

      You switched from Yahoo to AOL? That’s like switching from chugging pesticide to chugging bleach.

  • Alex Chen

    All of this misses the point. It started out as a tech company. Now that there’s no technical innovation left here and no technically competent people here, there’s no future as a tech company. It is going to be painful here for sure. Unless they bring in technical leadership (not Marissa Mayer. she never cut production code that has ever mattered in her whole life), this “tech” company is on its last legs. At least Jobs knew how to ride technical folks for all they were worth (Wozniak, closing R&D in India, etc. etc.) Right now, this focus on culture is just mickey mouse marketing. Her pregnancy, the no telecommute rule and all that other stuff is a circus side show. Culture does not turn a profit. Making money (building technology and capital production) makes money.

  • Al

    EVERY…..SINGLE…..DAY……….Yahoo is malfunctioning. I cant even fathom the inept infrastructure at this place. Just hope ISIS or the Taliban get their act together and find out where they keep their central servers and paint that bulls-eye.

  • Will Killyou

    You are an Idiot and Yahoo sucks!

  • Samson

    Your ideas were not accepted because they did not contain a plug for homo’s and/or their sick perverted culture. Three out of every five news feeds is from Huffington Post and is in regards to homo’s. WTF?? Then this mail page joke. OMG….

  • Maureen

    It really is bad.

  • scementus

    Actually you missed the best monicker for this “search” engine: Gayhoo. A day doesn’t go by without some minuscule story regarding the tiny LGBT cabal being given prominence like it’s the most vital piece of information for the great great majority of people. Lately Bruce Jenner and his gender-identity foibles are the bigggggest vital lead story. Better change your news direction Gayhoo before you go the way of Lycos, Altavista, Red Hat and other “search” engines.

  • Szebran

    Mayer is a buffoon. Yahoo news is down more than it is up

  • Leave Comments

    Yahoo finance is a mess. They let crazy people run wild on all the comment boards. We get multiple IDs every single day spamming and leaving political comments and ruining all the boards. Yahoo obvious does not care. It is shameful.

    Their new design is awful. very 2000. I hate it. I never use Firefox now to view Yahoo Finance since it is being used on that browser. How can Yahoo screw up so bad? Fix your damn comment system. I hate them for that.

  • 3lbisivni

    Yahoo is a turd and nothing they offer is unique or even comparable to their competitors. They’re an old name clinging to life and I kind of wish they’d just die out already.

  • BikerLad

    “….being drug….”? Seriously? So many Americans think this is the past participle of “drag”.
    Anyway, yes, Yahoo sucks balls. I came here because I typed “Yahoo sucks” into my Yahoo search engine. It’s too bad, because my main email is, and has been for years, Yahoo. I wish I could migrate it over to another service seamlessly, but I’d miss the plethora of Viagra, work from home, and f-buddy spam emails I get every day. Also, the 4 or 5 leading articles denouncing Trump as the anti-Christ really get my blood boiling. I’d miss that.

  • steve rose

    New name for them….Fuyoo-ahoo

  • Red Cricket

    Blah blah “I did this I did that … my mom thinks I am catch!” Travis you sure think your pretty awesome. geez. But I agree Yahoo sucks brontosaurus dick.


@teedubya

Travis Wright is a Venture Catalyst, Public Speaker, Digital Disrupter, Marketing Provocateur, Stand Up Comedian, Tech Blogger & Brand Awesomeizer.

This Travis Wright guy shares marketing resources, industry analysis, interwebs strategery & random hilarity along w/ occasional sport or political rants. If you can stand his jokes and want his opinion on something, feel free to connect with him.

email: tw [at] traviswright [dot] com

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