Robert Cringely with a peek behind the scenes at Yahoo and how not to run a tech company:
Yahoo has a bureaucracy problem that I attribute to former CEO Terry Semel, who hired legions of vice presidents to insulate the former Hollywood studio boss from the rude fact that he wasn’t, anymore, a Hollywood studio boss. Since Semel didn’t seem to get what Yahoo was about, he hired lots of people to keep him from having to personally deal with it.
Here’s how my friend Randy put it: “My beef with Yahoo is that they have way too many layers (I might have the exact titles wrong, but the number of layers is right) — associates, senior associates, managers, senior managers, directors, senior directors, general managers, VPs, SVPs, EVPs, regional presidents. This is absolutely crazy. They have more VP-level employees than you could ever imagine. Their product and engineering talent sits under all of these layers. It’s no wonder they’re not a technology company anymore. That’s what they need to fix first — flatten the company. Firing a bunch of senior execs who can’t get it done and not replacing them would go a long way. No more senior directors, no more GMs, and way fewer VPs and SVPs.”