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[PROFILE] Yahoo!'s Jerry Yang

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  • madchinaman
    Jerry Yang http://docs.yahoo.com/docs/pr/executives/yang.html Co-founder, Chief Yahoo and Director Jerry Yang, a Taiwanese native raised in San Jose, Calif.,
    Message 1 of 1 , May 23, 2003
      Jerry Yang

      Co-founder, Chief Yahoo and Director
      Jerry Yang, a Taiwanese native raised in San Jose, Calif., co-
      created the Yahoo! Internet navigational guide in April 1994 with
      David Filo and co-founded Yahoo! Inc. in April 1995. Yang, a leading
      force in the media industry, has been instrumental in building
      Yahoo! into the world's most highly trafficked Web site and one of
      the Internet's most recognized brands. A member of Yahoo!'s board of
      directors, Yang works closely with the company's president and CEO
      to develop corporate business strategies and guide the future
      direction of the company. Yang holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in
      electrical engineering from Stanford University and is currently on
      a leave of absence from Stanford's electrical engineering Ph.D.


      The History of Yahoo! - How It All Started...

      Yahoo! began as a student hobby and evolved into a global brand that
      has changed the way people communicate with each other, find and
      access information and purchase things. The two founders of Yahoo!,
      David Filo and Jerry Yang, Ph.D. candidates in Electrical
      Engineering at Stanford University, started their guide in a campus
      trailer in February 1994 as a way to keep track of their personal
      interests on the Internet. Before long they were spending more time
      on their home-brewed lists of favorite links than on their doctoral
      dissertations. Eventually, Jerry and David's lists became too long
      and unwieldy, and they broke them out into categories. When the
      categories became too full, they developed subcategories ... and the
      core concept behind Yahoo! was born.

      The Web site started out as "Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web"
      but eventually received a new moniker with the help of a dictionary.
      The name Yahoo! is an acronym for "Yet Another Hierarchical
      Officious Oracle," but Filo and Yang insist they selected the name
      because they liked the general definition of a yahoo: "rude,
      unsophisticated, uncouth." Yahoo! itself first resided on Yang's
      student workstation, "Akebono," while the software was lodged on
      Filo's computer, "Konishiki" - both named after legendary sumo

      Jerry and David soon found they were not alone in wanting a single
      place to find useful Web sites. Before long, hundreds of people were
      accessing their guide from well beyond the Stanford trailer. Word
      spread from friends to what quickly became a significant, loyal
      audience throughout the closely-knit Internet community. Yahoo!
      celebrated its first million-hit day in the fall of 1994,
      translating to almost 100 thousand unique visitors.

      Due to the torrent of traffic and enthusiastic reception Yahoo! was
      receiving, the founders knew they had a potential business on their
      hands. In March 1995, the pair incorporated the business and met
      with dozens of Silicon Valley venture capitalists. They eventually
      came across Sequoia Capital, the well-regarded firm whose most
      successful investments included Apple Computer, Atari, Oracle and
      Cisco Systems. They agreed to fund Yahoo! in April 1995 with an
      initial investment of nearly $2 million.

      Realizing their new company had the potential to grow quickly, Jerry
      and David began to shop for a management team. They hired Tim
      Koogle, a veteran of Motorola and an alumnus of the Stanford
      engineering department, as chief executive officer and Jeffrey
      Mallett, founder of Novell's WordPerfect consumer division, as chief
      operating officer. They secured a second round of funding in Fall
      1995 from investors Reuters Ltd. and Softbank. Yahoo! launched a
      highly-successful IPO in April 1996 with a total of 49 employees.

      Today, Yahoo! Inc. is a leading global Internet communications,
      commerce and media company that offers a comprehensive branded
      network of services to more than 237 million individuals each month
      worldwide. As the first online navigational guide to the Web,
      www.yahoo.com is the leading guide in terms of traffic, advertising,
      household and business user reach. Yahoo! is the No. 1 Internet
      brand globally and reaches the largest audience worldwide. The
      company also provides online business and enterprise services
      designed to enhance the productivity and Web presence of Yahoo!'s
      clients. These services include Corporate Yahoo!, a popular
      customized enterprise portal solution; audio and video streaming;
      store hosting and management; and Web site tools and services. The
      company's global Web network includes 25 World properties.
      Headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., Yahoo! has offices in Europe,
      Asia, Latin America, Australia, Canada and the United States.



      The company co-founders, acknowledged industry pioneers, are
      reflective. Employees scurry outside their offices, heads poke in
      with questions, e-mails and stock prices pop up on the computer
      screen. But they sit still within the bustle of their own enterprise
      and recall their long-ago days at Stanford, their very first year in
      business, the launch of their first product, and the birth of a
      whole industry.

      "We were very lucky to have been there in the early days," remembers
      one of these computer industry veterans. "It was virgin territory.
      There was so much creativity. Every time someone did something
      novel, it was monumental."

      Bill Hewlett remembering HP's garage days? Andy Bechtolsheim on the
      rise of Sun Microsystems?

      Nope. It's Jerry Yang and David Filo dusting off the heady
      yesteryear of 1994. That's when these two PhD students started
      surfing the Web in earnest and, to organize their late-night fun,
      created the Yahoo! directory to help their Stanford pals locate cool
      Web sites.

      "Thousands of people were producing new Web sites every day," says
      Filo, the 30-year-old who now leads software development for
      Yahoo! "We were just trying to take all that stuff and organize it
      to make it useful. As it became more popular, it became pretty clear
      we would have to get more people involved."

      One of their first additions was Srinija Srinivasan, a 26-year-old
      Stanford alum with expertise in artificial intelligence and now the
      resident Ontological Yahoo! (it's on her business card) in charge of
      organizing the branching hierarchies that steer people to content.
      Every day, millions of people begin their Web journey through one or
      more of the 14 key Yahoo! Categories¬čsuch as Arts, Business and
      Economy, Entertainment, Health, and Science¬čin a so-called "context-
      based" search. But even a growing army of full-time surfers can't
      track the rapidly expanding universe of Web sites, which explains
      why Yahoo! has integrated Alta Vista's search engine to provide an
      ultra-comprehensive directory for "content-based" searches.

      Today, about 120 people have joined Yang and Filo at Sunnyvale-based
      Yahoo! to categorize Web sites, sell advertising, and manage the
      explosive growth of the company. More than 350 companies now
      advertise on Yahoo!, attracted not only by the demographics of
      Yahoo! visitors, but also by the ability to create more interactive
      and measurable forms of advertising for these visitors.

      With more big names like Honda and Disney lining up as customers,
      these are clearly good times for Yahoo! But the future, cautions the
      27-year-old Yang, will depend on the company's ability to transform
      itself from a one-trick Yellow Pages into a full family of media
      products that capitalizes on the Yahoo! brand name.

      "We were unique," says Yang, explaining the Yahoo! competitive leg
      up. "We were the first in this business to build a credible,
      sustainable, and likeable brand. If you believe the Internet is the
      next big medium, and if you realize every medium has had a brand
      associated with it-like CNN with cable-then it's conceivable that
      Yahoo! will become one of those brands."

      With the competition starting to look like Ted Turner, Bill Gates,
      and Tom Brokaw, the two Chief Yahoos went out last year and
      recruited some adult supervision of their own. Tim Koogle, a
      Stanford graduate who was leading a couple of high-tech companies in
      the Northwest, didn't hesitate when he got the call.

      "When I first met Jerry and David," says Koogle, "what struck me
      immediately was that they had filled a fundamental need and they had
      done it intuitively. That's what you look for in starting a

      With Koogle on board as President and CEO, Yahoo! went public in
      early '96 and has been in full-tilt execution mode ever since,
      spinning off media products based on geographic, demographic, and
      subject-based segments. For example, Yahoo! Japan, Germany, Canada,
      or San Francisco Bay Area offer users localized versions of Yahoo!
      Demographic products include Yahooligans!, a Web guide for kids, and
      My Yahoo!, a customizable Web guide. And Yahoo! Internet Life
      magazine and Web site feed viewers subject- driven updates on topics
      such as stock prices or sports news.

      Yahoo!'s blast-off and this current mid-air transformation into a
      more sustainable global media company has been, according to
      Koogle, "an exercise in sleep deprivation." And when you"re riding a
      rocket, sleep-deprived or not, you tend not to look back.

      But today, the company principals seem energetic and more than
      willing to reflect on the early steps at Stanford that led them to
      this crazy spot.

      They talk about the graduate fellowships that allowed them to choose
      Stanford in the first place ("I was almost a Cal Bear!" exclaims
      Yang)...the classes with John Hennessy, Jim Adams, and David
      Kelley...the business seminars in entrepreneurialism...the summer
      internships in Silicon Valley...and the Stanford-in-Kyoto exchange
      that not only brought Yang and Filo together as friends but also
      introduced them to Srinivasan.

      Yes, Yahoo! is young. But this is a company born of deep roots and a
      long academic history.


      jerry yang
      R O A D_W A R R I O R

      BY DON GEORGE | welcome to week No. 4 of Road Warrior: Adventures of
      the Business Traveler, Wanderlust's compendium of tips and tales
      from people who spend the better part of their lives on the road. We
      launched with worldly advice and eye-opening anecdotes from digital
      visionary Esther Dyson and Web and print designer Roger Black.

      This week's featured interview is with the energetically
      pathbreaking co-founder and head of Yahoo!, Jerry Yang. Also take a
      look at Tip of the Week, which tells you how to win a free trip to
      Korea, and Informed Sources, where road warriors share their queries
      and advice. Last week's letter from a female executive about sexist
      service in first class sparked some spirited responses. Check out
      what our readers wrote. And see if you're inspired to respond to
      this week's query about how to keep hotels from charging for phone
      calls that never connect. We welcome your questions, suggestions,
      tips and ideas -- send them to wanderlust@.... And
      make us a regular stop on your weekly itinerary!

      Three years ago, Jerry Yang realized a dream, creating an Internet-
      based online guide called Yahoo! One year later he co-founded Yahoo!
      Inc. The rest, as they say, is history. Yahoo has become one of the
      largest online navigational guide sites in the world, and has gone
      on to become involved in numerous subsidiary ventures, ranging from
      city guide sites to a print publication. Yang is a native of Taiwan
      who was raised in San Jose, Calif. He is currently on a leave of
      absence from Stanford University's Electrical Engineering Ph.D.
      program and holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering
      from Stanford. He goes by the title of Chief Yahoo.

      Yang is almost always somewhere else these days, according to
      Yahoo's public relations manager, Jennifer Hwang, and so I conducted
      this interview by e-mailing questions to Hwang, who forwarded them
      to Yang -- "I don't even know exactly where he is right now," she
      said, "but I know he always checks his e-mail" -- who ended up
      answering them somewhere between Tokyo and Singapore.

      How often do you travel in a year?

      It's seasonal. Usually 2-3 trips per month.

      How do you deal with jet lag?

      I stay really, really tired -- that way I can sleep whenever,

      Do you have a favored plane or seat?

      The newer 777 or airbuses. I don't care which part of the plane so
      much, but I always like to sit on the aisle.

      What places do you visit most often?

      New York, Tokyo, L.A., Seattle.

      In these places, how do you get from the airport to your hotel?


      What's your favorite hotel?

      I'm not picky -- except it has to have a fax and second phone line.

      What's your favorite restaurant?

      I like to try local dives, noodle shops -- the kinds of places
      residents go.

      If you have an afternoon free, where do you go?

      I sit in a cafe next to a park and read the paper.

      What's your single favorite place or thing in your most frequented

      In New York: the taxi drivers.

      In Tokyo: the Tsukiji fish market for sushi.

      In L.A.: the freeway signs.

      Have you made any memorable cultural or business faux pas?

      I always bow when I go to Japan -- but it wasn't until recently that
      I was told the way I bowed was more like a woman (with hands in
      front of me), than like a man (with hands on the side).

      Do you have any cultural or business secrets you could pass along?

      It helps a ton when you learn people's names and don't butcher them
      when trying to pronounce them. (Unfortunately, I haven't mastered
      this yet.)

      How do you cope with loneliness on the road?

      Frequent long-distance phone calls to check e-mail; staying in touch
      with family and the business.

      What's your pet travel peeve?

      Long flights.

      If you could change one travel-related thing, what would you change?

      I would create shorter lines in Immigration at airports.

      Do you have any essential packing tips?

      Always pack for one more day than you expect.



      Co-founder, Yahoo Inc.
      NET WORTH $905 million
      AGE 29
      ADDRESS 3420 Central Expressway; Santa Clara, Calif.
      BIO Yang became a billionaire briefly this year at the age of 29
      when Yahoo closed at 174. The Stanford graduate is still many tax
      brackets away from where he started in 1993, when he and pal David
      Filo compiled Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web. Since then Yang
      has become the face of the search engine with the human touch, and
      Yahoo has become the doorway to the Internet. More people (30
      million monthly) visit the Yahoo site than any other location on the
      Web. The company has distinguished itself from a pack of faster--
      some say better--competitors by being somehow cooler. And Yang's
      likable image deserves a lot of the credit.
      1998 POWER PLAY If Yang has his way, you won't just search and split
      anymore. Yahoo Clubs, introduced in August, are designed to engender
      loyalty in the search engine's users. Modeled on an idea that
      Geocities spawned and everyone else on the Web is embracing, the
      topic-specific Web communities hold real advertising potential. It's
      a crowded market, but Yahoo has already proved that it doesn't mind
      PLACE YOUR BETS As this company evolves to take advantage of its
      remarkable reach, it will benefit from a great brand name in a
      burgeoning market. And it is already profitable. With the stock's
      price back in reasonable territory, analysts call Yahoo a strong buy.


      Chief Yahoos:
      David Filo and Jerry Yang
      by Mark Holt & Marc Sacoolas

      Yahoo (Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle) is the most
      popular hierarchical index of the World Wide Web (WWW). Created in
      1994 by David Filo and Jerry Yang, both Stanford University
      Electrical Engineering Ph.D. candidates currently on sabbatical.
      This popular index receives more than 2 million accesses a day
      representing over 200,000 users.
      This interview was done over two meetings in Palo Alto, California,
      USA in May 1995. The first meeting was with David Filo at Caffe
      Verona and the second meeting was with David and Jerry Yang at the
      Blue Chalk Cafe.


      Are you from the San Francisco Bay Area?
      A: (David) I'm from Louisiana. I went to Tulane University in New
      Orleans as an undergrad and majored in Computer Engineering. Then I
      came out to California to get my Masters at Stanford in EE
      [Electrical Engineering].
      Jerry grew up in San Jose and went to Stanford for his bachelors.
      We're both in Stanford's Electrical Engineering program doing
      electronic computer-aided design research.

      So is that where you guys met?
      A: Yes, we're in the same research group.

      Have you known each other long?
      A: For about 4 or 5 years.

      How long have you been using the Web?
      A: Pretty much ever since [NCSA] Mosaic came out in mid to late '93.
      And before Mosaic, we used gopher a bit... and of course we used e-
      mail and newsgroups before that.


      When did you start Yahoo, and did it start out just for personal use?
      A: We started Yahoo in about April '94. It started out as a way for
      us to keep track of things that we were interested in. We began with
      a Mosaic hotlist, and we just added things to it. When our hotlist
      was about a hundred items or so, all you could do was scroll through
      it sequentially. Soon we couldn't find anything anymore because the
      list was so big and there was no way to search it.
      So, we created some tools that allowed us to hierarchically
      categorize our links much the same way that many browsers like
      Mosaic and Netscape do today. Once we did that, finding previously
      visited links and adding new links became much easier. We then made
      the list available via the Web to make it easier to browse and added
      the search capability to make it easier to find specific entries.

      Was Yahoo available to other people from the start, or was it just
      between you two?
      A: It was just between us at first. The tools that we developed
      consisted of a few Tcl/Tk and Perl scripts that only we had access
      to and knew how to use. After we made it available via the Web
      interface, others had access to it but still not many people were
      aware of it.
      When and how did other people find out about Yahoo and start to use
      A: Well, we never really listed Yahoo anywhere. It was never listed
      with any of the "What's New" pages or posted to any newsgroups. A
      couple of friends started to use it. It was somewhat slow to catch
      on initially because we never really advertised it. It just grew by
      word of mouth and by people linking to it from their home pages.

      From the start were people able to add links, or were they just
      watching you add your stuff?
      A: Well, first of all we had very few users. We might have had a
      hundred accesses a day. So there was really no demand from the users
      to add their own links. Things changed over time though as our
      access rates doubled every month. Through word of mouth on the Net
      more and more people began using it.
      So you never listed Yahoo on any of the other search web sites?
      A: No. Although, after a while we automatically became listed with
      some of the search engines when their spiders and robots found our
      site. We also would refer our site to others who were looking for
      particular types of information on the Web. Other users would do
      this too in newsgroups and such.
      We know how that goes. We've told lots of people about Yahoo. We
      found out about it through Web surfing on other corporations' pages.
      Probably others found out about it in similar ways.
      A: It just kind of slowly evolved. Or maybe not so slowly.

      And when did you guys realize that Yahoo was more than just your
      personal hotlist? Was that after a couple of months?
      A: Probably about six months after we started. Things really changed
      in this respect when we added the ability for people to add their
      own links. At that point it was obviously no longer just for our own
      interests. We also began to add more functionality to make it more
      useful to a wider range of users.

      Such as searching and graphics?
      A: Searching was available from the very beginning, but we did
      improve things over time. The main improvements were in its ease of
      use and its efficiency. They were necessary improvements as the
      number of users grew and the demographics broadened. The graphics
      were also tweaked over time to make the pages as efficient as
      possible in terms of load time.
      Are there about 39,000 links right now?
      A: Yes.

      And is it still about 2 million accesses a day?
      A: Right. Now it's about 2 million. We used to actually get more
      that 2 million, but that was with graphics. Then we took graphics
      completely out of Yahoo because we only had one DEC Alpha for a
      server and it was beginning to peak out in the number of requests it
      could handle. We didn't have any extra hardware, so instead of
      getting more equipment, we just started taking the graphics out.

      So there's probably now about 200,000 to 250,000 users...
      A: Yes, actually that's something I've been meaning to check lately.
      Our logs are so big that our analysis scripts require too much in
      the way of machine resources to run on a nightly basis.
      So the reason the graphics were removed was to lower the number of
      accesses to your server, not to make Yahoo quicker for user with low
      speed connections?
      A: Right. Even when we did have images, we kept them very small ĭ
      around a couple of hundred bytes.

      What about the size of the menu bar?
      A: Even the menu bar was only about 1K. If you have a 14.4k
      connection, anything over 1K starts to become noticeable. We didn't
      think that graphics were that big a deal for users. When we took the
      graphics off, we did get quite a few requests saying, "Leave em'
      off; it's faster that way". We also got a few saying, "Put em'
      back", or "Leave them on there." Really, our graphics weren't much
      to begin with.

      You mean they weren't Adobe Photoshop quality?
      A: Right.

      So, Yahoo's growth rate was doubling every month?
      A: Well, that was true for most of '94 until the end of the year
      with the holidays, which kind of knocked the number of accesses down
      a bit. We've continued to grow steadily during '95 but at a slower
      rate. Last year most people didn't know about us so we continued
      getting lots of new users over time. Now that has changed somewhat
      and the number of new users is more in line with the overall growth
      of the Web. Even that growth by itself is quite dramatic, especially
      when the large online services introduce Web access to their users
      like Prodigy and CompuServe have.

      Did you guys notice when Prodigy started offering access to the Web?
      A: A little bit, but not as much as you might expect. It took awhile
      for their users to get onto the Web. In fact, many of their users
      still don't use the Web yet. They don't all download the latest
      software at the same time when it becomes available. So it takes
      days or weeks, and even then you don't see all the activity because
      of the caching done by their proxy servers.
      Back when they first launched their Web access, we were still
      tracking the hosts that accessed Yahoo on a daily basis. On either
      the first or second day they became the most popular site to visit
      Yahoo. That continues today.

      Are most of your users in the United States?
      A: Yes, well certainly the big ones are. It used to be just the
      companies like Sun, DEC, HP, and AT&T. And now Prodigy and Netcom
      bring the most users.

      Do you have more individual or corporate users?
      A: Well, that's hard to tell. In reality, big corporations are all
      behind a firewall where their users are all routed through one host.
      So it is hard to tell how many users there are in corporations.

      For instance, Sun has one machine at their firewall?
      A: Right.


      Do you intend to keep Yahoo text based, or, after you set up your
      business, will we start to see the graphics put back in?
      A: Well, I think graphics will come back. Right now, we're equipment
      bound. We have another machine on the way which we could add
      graphics with. We will probably also keep the text version for the
      people who want it.

      Would users be able to choose whichever version they wanted?
      A: Yes, but I'm not really sure the best way to do this. It's kind
      of annoying having to always select a graphics or text version when
      you go to someone's home page. It would be nice if you could
      automatically and transparently send your preference with each

      Yes, you could identify their browser when they access your page.
      A: That's true, but it still doesn't solve all the problems.

      What is the bottleneck for Yahoo? CPU, hard disk, net bandwidth, or
      something else?
      A: We had a 10 Megabit connection to the Net at Stanford, which was
      connected directly to the Internet. So bandwidth was never a limit.
      Disk space was never a problem either. At Stanford, it ended up
      being that the machine could not handle enough requests. Limitations
      on the number of TCP/IP connections a single machine could handle
      was our bottleneck.
      Whose HTTP server were you using?
      A: We wrote our own. We were using the NCSA server in the beginning,
      and, around 100,000 to 200,000 hits a day, it was pretty much just
      killing the machine. So, we wrote a server that is extremely

      And that's your own proprietary server?
      A: Yes, for now. But, we'd rather use someone else's, like Netsite.
      We just haven't had time to switch over.

      So your server is really your own customized http server?
      A: Right. There's not a lot of incompatibility, but, the cgi stuff
      is slightly different. It's the way things are passed that's
      different. And there are smaller issues like case sensitivity. Most
      servers are case sensitive while our's is not. So little things like
      that prevent us from switching right now. With the NCSA server the
      bottleneck was that it was a CPU hog. After we wrote our own server,
      it ended up being a TCP/IP limitation. Basically, current Unix
      implementations of TCP/IP can only handle about 100 connections per

      So your bottleneck was TCP/IP?
      A: Right. What seems to happen is that there are some tables that
      grow with the number of connections. Many table lookups are
      performed using inefficient linear searches, instead of hashing or
      something more intelligent. Once the tables reach a certain size,
      the machine spends all its time searching these lists. The
      fundamental problem is that the machines were never really designed
      to handle this type of network traffic.

      Web servers weren't around then.
      A: Nope. In addition to the TCP/IP problems mentioned, there are
      limitations on socket queue size in most of the Unix systems shipped
      today. These limits are hit with even a small volume of Web traffic.
      Luckily the problem can be solved by patching the kernel to increase
      these queue sizes.

      So did you rebuild your kernel to make those improvements?
      A: Yes, we increased the queue limits as much as necessary to avoid
      that bottleneck.

      Did you create all the search software?
      A: We made the search software.

      Are your Web server search software and kernel independent, or do
      they work together in any ways? Does your http server talk to your
      search engine?
      A: Well, yes.

      In a way that no other search engine and server that you know of
      A: Yes. In fact, there is an HTTP server for the non-search stuff,
      and there is a separate server that is actually modified for the
      search engine. That server has some load balancing capability built
      in. The search and server are tightly integrated. The kernel is
      again just a patched version of what the vendors ship.

      So, over at Netscape, is TCP/IP still the bottleneck?
      A: Yes. What we're doing at Netscape is trying to get more machines
      running at 100 percent. Right now we are running on 3 machines and
      we have a 4th coming in. Netscape is loaning them to us.

      So that'll mean a total of four?
      A: Yes.

      Do you have your own lab at Netscape?
      A: No, the machines we use sit in their server room. They have been
      really good to us in terms of getting us what we need. They have a
      great connection to the Net which we wouldn't have been able to
      afford on our own.

      Who do you interact with at Netscape?
      A: The main person we've dealt with has been Bill Foss. He's been
      great to work with.

      Do you guys have a remote access in -- telnet, etc.?
      A: Yes, we do.

      Have you had any security problems?
      A: Not that we know of. The only security problems are that Netscape
      has their own firewalls and sometimes if they are tweaking their
      stuff, it ends up interfering with our ability to get in.

      So the hardware you are running is 4 Indy's?
      A: Right.

      And how much disk space do they have?
      A: Not much...about a gig each.

      Does Yahoo only take about 30 meg?
      A: Probably closer to 50 meg now because of the directory structure.
      The database stuff is probably close to 30 meg. All combined, it's a
      total of about 100 meg right now.

      When you are indexing, does Yahoo index in some way to optimize the
      search? Is that all built in?
      A: Yes, the indexing is optimized for our search. However, our
      search is pretty primitive; it's essentially a grep.

      Have you looked at any of the third-party solutions out there?
      A: Well, we certainly need to. What we have right now is not fast
      enough. We are definitely looking at third-party search engines.

      Any in particular?
      A: We are looking at Fulcrum, Verity, ....

      Illustra? We use that for our Sun Solutions Catalog. We've gotten
      some pretty good results. You can do complex searches on complex
      objects. They have a lot of Web stuff.
      A: Basically, we want to find what works best for us.

      But you're only searching 30 megs, so it's not that big...
      A: True. When you are doing a search of a relatively small text
      file, it's not that big a deal.

      In our catalog, we have to accommodate 15,000 records that can be
      10K long .
      A: Right. It's definitely a different problem. They're indexing
      gigabytes of data, which eventually we'll have to do also. For right
      now though, we're searching on each entry's URL, title and comment,
      so there's not that much data.

      How did you guys come up with the Yahoo categories? Did it just kind
      of grow into what it is today, or is it based on something in
      A: Unfortunately it's not based on any existing categorization
      schemes. When we started the number of categories was so small it
      wasn't necessary to use a well structured scheme. If you go in
      science, there are the obvious categories. We're not really
      specialists in any of those areas, like biology. Basically what we
      have done is as categories fill to a certain point, we break them
      into more specific subcategories. The process has been fairly ad-hoc
      but is becoming more standardized.

      So have you been able to anticipate where the categories are going
      fairly well?
      A: We're getting better at that over time. For us ideally, we would
      like to have maybe 30 entries at most in any one category, so that
      you don't have to wade through a lot of stuff. So we always try to
      put a lot of hierarchy in. You have to be real specific about what
      you're looking for. We kind of look at it as complementary. You can
      browse it, and not necessarily just browse it from the top level.
      But if you search for a keyword, it will also tell you where in the
      hierarchy your request is located. So, you can go into the hierarchy
      at that point and find related items.

      There are other search web sites...have you guys worked with them at
      A: Not really. But we know that their web crawlers go through our
      site and index all of our pages.

      Is it true that Yahoo stays away from sex-based URLs?
      A: Well, we don't have pornography. We did have requests from users
      saying "please don't add this stuff" to the opposite response. But
      the real reason that we actually took pornography out was because
      any time we listed a site that had it, the next day - probably
      within a couple of hours of listing it - it would be down.

      Too many people going there?
      A: Yes.

      Is that about the only thing that you don't put in Yahoo and do you
      review links before you add them?
      A: We pretty much add anything. The reason we stopped adding those
      pornographic ones is because the sites would often be down and then
      our links would always be dead. It would take awhile, and then users
      would complain to us. We didn't really have time to sit there and
      look at the links every day and see if they were still available.
      Plus just the fact that those sites, in order for them to actually
      exist, can't really be publicized in a public place like Yahoo.

      A: So of course when Yahoo wasn't yet well known, this was fine. But
      when we became a popular...

      Gotta be underground...
      A: Yes, it's gotta be underground to even exist. With that exception
      ĭ we pretty much add anything that people request, provided that
      there is some value to the content there. For example, there was one
      guy who wanted us to place his hotel ad in several hundred
      categories. He's in a town with many conventions, and for every
      convention that comes through the town, he has a page for it that
      advertises his hotel. There's really no information at all about the
      conferences themselves. So this is an example of something that we
      declined to add.

      How many companies do you think are actually making money from being
      listed on Yahoo? This seems like pretty good Web merchandising. Are
      there companies that are making money off of Yahoo...by having a
      listing, by being found?
      A: We certainly get lots of letters from people saying that before
      they were listed with us, they didn't get any requests, and after
      they got listed with us, they started getting more requests. And so,
      it certainly bumps up the visibility of certain companies. But it's
      hard to say how much revenue is actually being generated.

      We heard that you guys were spending 15 to 20 hours a week updating
      URLs while you were in school, and that now it's probably even more
      time. Is this true, and how did you manage all the updating while
      you were in school?
      A: Well, we didn't have classes; we were working on our thesis. And
      our advisor is out of the country on sabbatical.

      Big surprise when he gets back and sees what you guys have done...
      A: He's been very supportive of what we've done. Now we're both on
      leave and are devoting full time to the project.

      How long will you be on leave from Stanford?
      A: Well, we just took a leave starting this last quarter in April.
      Officially, it's two quarters that we'll be off. It kind of depends
      on how things go.

      So your interest has shifted to the Web from EE?
      A: Yes. This whole Internet thing is very intriguing. Plus, we're
      both more practical than theoretical, so the Internet is a better
      fit in that regard too. It's just a shame we couldn't combine the
      two so that we could have finished school.

      Were you guys at Internet World?
      A: Yes.

      (Marc) At the show, I was approached by a guy who said "Where are
      the Yahoo guys?" I didn't have the Yahoo information center shirt on
      or anything. Your names have gotten incredible recognition. How are
      you going to carry that?
      A: One thing we have going for us right now is our name. We have
      gotten a lot of good press. It's obviously a good thing and we need
      to take advantage of that.

      You mentioned in one interview that you are from the old school, the
      Internet. How do you view The Microsoft Network, how do you feel
      about it?
      A: From our view it seems that they'll just be bringing a lot more
      users to the Net. A larger audience for those providing services to
      the users.

      So it's a good thing?
      A: We hope so. Especially for someone like us, that is, providing
      directory services...their users will create a larger demand. Of
      course Microsoft could compete with us if they decided to build
      Internet directories themselves.

      That's true. Is it just you and Jerry that do all the adding and
      processing of everything?
      A: Right now, it is. We're starting to look for other people to help
      out with that.

      Do you guys have a nightly backup for your system?
      A: Yes.

      Do you guys have backup servers in case those ones go down?
      A: No. It's not, right now, a very reliable system. In fact, they do
      crash once in a while.

      So on the Internet, it works out well?
      A: The Net as a whole is not that reliable, so our blips in service
      don't cause major problems. However, we are certainly working on
      improving our own reliability as well as those sites that we depend

      Do you guys have any mirror systems anywhere else in the U.S. or
      A: Not yet, but we are looking into those issues.

      But not as a part of the business?
      A: Well we've gotten a lot of requests in the past. People wanting
      to put mirrors up. And one of the reasons we haven't done that to
      date is because it can be a real headache, especially for material
      that changes every day. It's not a trivial thing to do. And once
      it's out there, there are a lot of headaches in order to change it
      later. So we want to be careful on how we do that, and make sure
      that it's something that's permanent.

      After you find some engineering support in the various places?
      A: Right.

      Especially with only the two of you right now?
      A: We don't want to end up in a situation where there are different
      Yahoo versions out there. Where some mirror machines don't have the
      same data, that type of thing.

      There's a lot of synchronization to figure out?
      A: Yes, some synchronization is certainly required. Right now we're
      looking at mirroring, mainly for international sites because their
      links are so slow. Some links are slow in the U.S., but I think
      within the U.S, there's really not a need to mirror. Basically we're
      on the Internet backbone, so it doesn't really matter if you're out
      here or back east.

      When you do mirroring, are you going to franchise Yahoo, like a
      A: We don't know. It depends a lot on how we decide to deal with
      international sites. There are interesting issues that come up
      dealing with localization. Right now, what we have is very U.S.-

      Like Sun has Sun SITEs throughout the world.
      A: Right.

      Maybe teaming up with something like that? I mean, they have
      international sites, and something like that would probably benefit
      both sides.
      A: Yes.

      Did you guys have a lot of requests asking for things to be
      translated, or did English seem to be pretty much the standard?
      A: English is pretty much the standard. The main request for mirror
      sites is performance. People have talked about doing German and
      Japanese translations, so there's interest in that. But the main
      concern is...well, countries like Australia, who end up paying for
      their long distance connection, which can get very expensive.

      It would be worth it to set up a mirror site in Australia, and they
      could probably fund it easily with what they save by having it local.
      A: Yes, one of the things we need to do is to find a long-term
      partner. Our presence there needs to be a permanent one so we need
      to find a company that is going to be around for a while.

      So you're saying it's the bigger guys, as big as they are with the
      Internet right now?
      A: Right.


      Are you guys venture capital funded?
      A: Yes.

      Was it difficult to get venture capital or did they come to you?
      A: Most of them came to us because we had mentioned to several
      people that we were looking for money. It's quite interesting
      because many venutre capital funded firms haven't yet supported
      Internet companies. So we went through pretty much the whole process
      without having to fill out a business plan. They realized, too, that
      things change quickly on the Internet.

      Are you happy with the amount of money that you have?
      A: For now, yes. But we quickly realized that you need a lot of
      money. Especially when you see what T3 line costs each month.

      How much of your T3 line do you actually use?
      A: Right now, without graphics, we're only about 3 to 4 T1's and
      probably about 4 or 5 megabits per second out of a 45 megabit
      connection of T3's.

      So you have a lot of room to grow?
      A: Somewhat. But, bandwidth is still an issue and lines are not

      Have you thought of turning Yahoo into a hub?
      A: That's an option. One option is to move and get our own T3.
      Another option is to buy services from one of the new startups that
      have multiple T3's and are in business to provide such services for
      a fee to other companies. It doesn't make sense to have every
      company running T3's. In one central place they have a lot of
      bandwidth coming in and sorting the documents. There's no cost
      benefit in doing this, but the problem is that a remote site is hard
      to maintain. In this regard, Stanford had a really nice testing
      machine to test things out. It's harder now.

      So you are currently not paying for any of the access?
      A: No. It's a mutually positive relationship with Netscape.

      And Netscape is promoting the community.
      A: One of the main advantages is that Netscape views using directory
      services as being very important. Without these services, the
      Internet becomes unattractive to users. Users will then all go to
      AOL or Compuserve. So they are very interested in seeing independent
      directory services continue to flourish, and they are helping us to
      make sure that this does happen. We both have a really good
      relationship with each other.

      So your overhead is pretty low right now.
      A: Yes. But, we need to start generating some reasonable revenue. We
      could have done that already, and, one of the reasons that we didn't
      do that is because we wanted to do it right. It's important that we
      didn't want to mess up on this. Netscape gave us some breathing room
      to get going and to organize ourselves.

      Did Stanford work with you pretty well?
      A: Yes, although it was never an official project. They let us do
      whatever we wanted to do. We were just using our own workstations.

      They had to see an increase in net usage.
      A: They saw it, but it wasn't really significant in the beginning.
      Towards the end, Yahoo started picking up a fairly significant
      portion of the Internet. But, no one ever complained that it slowed
      things down. Stanford was very supportive, and now we are being
      supported by Netscape.


      Have you guys been in the industry before?
      A: No.

      Ever run a bulletin board?
      A: No.

      Do you have mentors for business advice?
      A: Well, we're starting to bring in some advisors right now. Up to
      date, we handled it all ourselves, and we pretty much split up the

      Do you both have to agree before you move ahead on projects?
      A: Yes. We're now at the point of bringing in business people.
      Things are moving so fast. We know that we're currently in a
      position where there isn't really any competition, and we can't
      afford to make any mistakes. We both want to get lined up correctly.

      Do you ever wonder if you can keep control as the company grows?
      A: Any time you have investors, there's always the possibility of
      loss of control. Right now, we're in a good enough position because
      we have day-to-day, hands-on control. But it's not going to stay
      that way. So it's up to us to bring in the right people to manage
      and grow the company.

      Are there any other investors besides the venture capitalist?
      A: Hopefully we won't need money in the short term. If things go
      really well, we might need more money to get some other things
      going. And that's when we might think about becoming incorporated.
      We did have interest from some corporations who wanted to invest in
      us. In fact, a couple of months ago, we had a few options. One was
      to go off and fund it ourselves. Another option was to sell to
      either a large company or an existing service provider. We had
      offers to do that. We could have done it, but we didn't want to work
      for a big company. We also thought that our services would be better
      if Yahoo remained an independent entity and was not tied to a
      particular company.

      Is Yahoo incorporated?
      A: We're not a corporation; There are four positions on the board of
      directors, and we fill two of them.

      Are you guys equal partners?
      A: Yes. On our business cards, we are both Chief Yahoos.

      Will you be hiring a president?
      A: We'll definitely bring in a president and other upper management.

      How many people are you looking to hire?
      A: Between 4 and 5 people on the maintenance and technical side.
      We're also looking for some people on the business side and in
      sales. First thought is to hire library science people who have a
      background in libraries, cataloging and stuff - the official library
      system requirements.

      How many people overall?
      A: A year from now, we should have between 10-15 people.

      Will there be major changes in Yahoo now that it's a company rather
      than just a couple of guys from Stanford?
      A: Yes, hopefully for the better. The service will improve. - better
      interface, better features. Over the year, it's been growing
      constantly. I don't think we've taken anything off of Yahoo. We
      haven't really had the resources to do that. So there are all of
      these features that we've thought about wanting to add - things that
      the users requested, and we haven't been able to do them. So now
      that we have the resources, and we are starting to look at Yahoo
      differently. Hopefully, the users will see that it will be alot
      easier to use - it will be more indepth.

      Did your accesses go up when you became www.yahoo.com?
      A: We thought they might go down. We were just two guys who did it
      in their spare time at Stanford. There's no way you couldn't like
      Yahoo. Now, when we became a .com, it looks like we are doing it for
      commercial reasons. So we thought maybe the daily accesses would go
      down, but it just stayed about the same. Everybody knows when you
      change. When we get to the point where we actually start putting the
      advertising in, I think we will start turning people off.

      Where do you want Yahoo to go in the next year? In the next 5 years?
      A: Five years is ridiculous to even think about. I mean, in a year
      who knows what's going to happen on the Internet.

      Are you going to be a full company in six months?
      A: We would like to remain small. We're not interested in becoming a
      big company. We want to grow it well and, in order to get there, we
      have to build the whole infrastructure. We basically spent the last
      year on it with no pay. One of our main motivations today is to see
      if we can do it. To be able to look back at the last year of our
      lives and like what we have accomplished. That's some of the

      (Marc) Pays off when you see it grow. Do you get excited when you
      think about the fact that at any given moment - even when you're in
      bed at 3 o'clock in the morning - that there's a thousand people
      hitting your site?
      A: No. Actually the bad thing is that when a thousand people hit our
      site, we think about whether it will shut off, and we are sleeping.


      Are you basically going to try to stay away from charging the user?
      A: We definitely don't want to charge the user. Generally, everyone
      is in agreement that Yahoo needs to be free. For additional
      services, this model may change. But most services we would like to
      keep free, unless we get to a point where the resources really
      require support that is so significant that there's no way you can
      provide them without charging the user.

      What about charging on the back end?
      A: We could talk about charging the lister - especially for
      commercial listings. We would probably still want to give a basic
      listing for free to everyone. Maybe charge for additional press
      listings - logos or things like that.

      Can you elaborate on the business model?
      A: We'd follow a yellow page model. Everyone gets one free listing,
      but additional listings would be extra. And more listings are better
      than only one listing. You pay for the increased visibility of a
      longer description or a logo. We could also start doing more
      advertising ideas, like a sports page could be sponsored by Nike.

      Like the Prodigy model, or the Netscape model which has ads?
      A: Yes, but we'd do it a little differently. Say for instance that
      you're interested in camping. So you go through the camping stuff
      and maybe the page is sponsored by Northface or by REI. Users would
      be more interested having ads specifically tied to the entries.
      Listers would also probably be more willing to pay.
      A: The other model we're looking into is to charge the providers. We
      want to get into that. Providers like AOL have some need for
      directory services for users.

      Do you think service providers would be pretty interested in that?
      A: Yes, we got some interest from them. Another idea would be to
      specialize. For example, have a family-oriented version that has a
      more selective, specialized focus, such as having a business

      They could even do on-demand versions. For example, in any
      organization with many users. you could focus on versions for
      specific user groups. People would probably like these customized
      A: Right.
      Will you license Yahoo to other companies?
      A: If our affiliation with a particular company precludes our
      talking with other companies, then we need to revisit our current


      Are you guys best friends?
      A: Yes, we're good friends.

      Same interests?
      A: Yes. We're in the same research group. We share an office.

      So was it all worth it? Is it a learning experience?
      A: Yes, it's fun. Hopefully the money that we have will sustain us
      until we are self sufficient. We actually could have been profitable
      months ago.

      Is money ever an issue? Do you consider yourself to be a struggling
      college student?
      A: Yes. We got some money from Sequoia, but we're not getting rich.

      A year ago, you also had an option to get $40,000 plus in ads...
      A: Well, up until recently we were living on RA [Stanford Resident
      Assistant] shifts which is barely enough to get by.

      Any complaints?
      A: Actually, we've been very lucky in that we've had a lot of
      support from several sources. There has been no lack of information
      resources because a lot of what we've done has been driven by the
      users. Their suggestions are helping us, pushing us, voluntarily
      giving us good information. For us, the only bad thing is that we
      don't have the time and, sometimes the resources, to make Yahoo
      better. It's really hard to complain about anything that wasn't
      really under our control. We should have been getting more resources
      along the way, but we didn't anticipate the explosive popularity of
      Yahoo. Six months ago, things changed. We knew that things were
      going in this direction, and we're hoping that Yahoo will succeed.

      You kind of want to pinch yourself to see if this is really
      A: Yes. Right now, the number of users in the lab is pretty small
      compared to what we think we're going to need short-term. That's one
      of the big frustrations. The other thing is we've just been kind of
      keeping up. We do what we've always been doing. I'm doing the Xfile
      mode catalog, which is essentially an unsolved problem. A lot of
      people look at us and think we are crazy or stupid, asking us why we
      are spending so much time cataloging when we should really be in a
      lab. We also get lots of advice on whether we are doing things the
      right way, using the right system, using a GUI, and things like that.

      You did make up your own classification scheme.
      A: Right. Everything basically makes some sense. Looking at all the
      tools that we use, we really don't have the time or manpower to step
      back and think if this is the right way to do it. We're just trying
      to keep up with the demand of the users. Hopefully, we're not going
      down the wrong path.

      Do people think it's good?
      A: There's a need for this type of service out there. But is it just
      a short term thing until something better comes along? Who knows.
      For now, without the day-to-day cataloging that we do, Yahoo
      wouldn't stay in demand. So experimenting in a lab isn't the answer
      for us.

      Do you have any time to surf the Web?
      A: Not for pleasure, But, we surf enough just by checking out the
      added sites.

      You check them out as you add them?
      A: Yes. We definitely have to verify the category. The best case is
      where somebody does it for us - when they add it, they cross-link
      directly. So we check them out and we get to see what's out there.
      But, right now, we're sometimes unable to keep up with the demand of
      adding sites. Between the email that we get and the requests to be
      added, we definitely need more people on board.

      So has Yahoo taken away your social life?
      A: Pretty much, yes.

      What do you guys do for fun?
      A: Lately, we haven't done anything. Last year we had the best snow
      since I've been out here, so we did some skiing.

      We work with computers all day and then we go home and we have
      computers there and we usually work with them until the early
      morning hours.
      A: I never actually owned a computer. But the problem is I never go

      So you're always at the lab?
      A: I'm either there or in meetings somewhere. About a month ago, we
      took off to play some golf.

      Are you surprised by your new found fame - when you see your name in
      the press?
      A: Yes. But, it's not anything different than what I used to do. So,
      I don't see it as fame.

      Do you get more emails?
      A: A little bit. When a story appears, you get more phone calls.

      Are you recognized on the Stanford campus?
      A: We don't have much public visibility on campus. The Stanford
      daily paper hasn't done a story about us.

      What are your favorite Web sites? Like Mark and I like the Fed Ex
      packing page where you can track your packages.
      A: That's cool. Any time I Fed Ex anything, I use it. I also like
      some of the world news and sports pages.

      What do you think about the newspapers that are charging access fees?
      A: Yes. I get the San Jose Mercury News, but I never really read it,
      so it seems reasonable to pay for the net version. It would be nice
      if it was free. It's going to be interesting to see what happens to
      information in general on the Internet. Now information is basically
      free in most places. You just pay for the distribution of it. I
      think it will be interesting when it gets to the point where they
      charge a penny for each clip.

      There are some sites that are already charging.
      A: Yes, you set up an account, type in your password, all kinds of
      stuff. When you think about all the accounts that are out there -
      just think about a thousand newspapers. You don't want to open a
      thousand accounts. A long as the accounts are really cheap and they
      charge only for actual usage...


      Who do you view as the big [corporate] players in today's Internet
      A: Well, you need the hardware vendors to get the Internet going. So
      you need the Sun's, the Cisco's, and the right infrastructure.

      Which companies do you think are proactive in making the Internet a
      value-add or in keeping it free?
      A: I don't think things need to be free. If you are talking about
      the network, the only way that it's going to be long-lasting is to
      make it a real commercial service. And, in order to do that, things
      are going to have to become more commercialized and relatively free
      of government funding or distortions by private companies,
      institutions, whatever. Certainly the big companies, like Sun, are
      providing services to the net that determine the business model,
      which is the needed part. As far as growing the net, Sun is one of
      the main players, like with the World Cup and that type of thing. I
      don't know if you guys made money or did it as public service.


      It started as a hobby. Jerry Yang wanted an efficient and elegant
      way to find stuff on an obscure part of the Internet, the World Wide
      Web. So, in early 1994, he and fellow Stanford grad student David
      Filo took every Web site they'd ever visited, and categorized them.
      Then, they took the dozens of categories and lumped them into a few
      bigger categories. A quick trip to the dictionary (they wanted the
      site to begin with YA, an acronym for Yet Another that is often used
      in the names of software tools), a self-mocking exclamation point at
      the end, and Yahoo! was born.
      Neither of them guessed that their guide would someday become the
      most popular, valuable, and widely imitated brand in a multibillion-
      dollar market.

      How they got there
      Maybe it was the zany name. Or maybe just the outright genius of a
      hand-picked directory, competing against irrelevant and random
      search results on other sites. Whatever the reason, early Net heads
      loved it, and by the end of 1994, nearly 100,000 separate visitors
      were clicking to Yahoo every day.

      That's when Yang and Filo made several crucial decisions. First of
      all, they noticed HotWired's launch as the first ad-supported site
      in October 1994 and saw the mass media's growing obsession with the
      Web. Realizing that they could turn Yahoo into a viable business,
      they put grad school on hold, refused buyout offers, and hunted for
      venture capital. When Yahoo relaunched as an ad-supported site in
      August 1995, their hobby was suddenly bringing in money.

      Even more importantly, Yang realized that Yahoo could be much more
      than a stopping point on the way to millions of other sites. He
      pursued meetings with media companies like Reuters and Ziff-Davis,
      and began referring to Yahoo as a full-fledged media brand, akin to
      any major magazine or TV network.

      Portal wars and ad dollars
      Soon, the site included an up-to-the-minute newsfeed, weather
      reports, stock quotes, and computer reviews. Readers loved each new
      addition, spending more and more time at yahoo.com before clicking
      away. Additions kept coming: free email, personalization, Java-based
      games, interactive maps, an email lookup service, and more. The idea
      of the all-in-one Web portal was born, and imitators soon cropped up
      like mushrooms after a rainy winter.

      Yahoo was also a leader in clever business practices, such as
      targeted advertising: as users searched for their personal
      interests, the company displayed ads based on those interests. As a
      result, Yahoo was able to charge high ad rates and was one of the
      first Net companies to show a profit.

      Competition will get fiercer
      It's hard to say if Yahoo will remain on top. Many of its toughest
      competitors have deeper pockets--Microsoft (MSN.com), AOL, AT&T
      (@Home/Excite), Disney (Infoseek/Go Network), and General Electric's
      NBC (Snap), for example--and other directories are frantically
      pursuing mergers and content-sharing agreements to stay viable.
      Yahoo's January acquisition of Geocities increased its
      overall "reach" in the Web space, but Geocities' "Web community"
      model has not yet turned a profit, and some analysts question the
      wisdom of the purchase.

      But regardless of its place in the rankings, Jerry and Dave's "Yet
      Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle" has been overwhelmingly
      influential in creating today's Web landscape, both in terms of the
      way it looks and the way it makes money...or dies trying.


      No. 8: Jerry Yang
      Yahoo! Inc

      ahoo! is an utterance that might well escape the lips of a 32-year-
      old with a $3 billion net worth based on a 10% stake in a company
      enjoying a $30 billion market cap. Especially if he racked it up in
      under four years flat. Neither Bill Gates nor Marc Andreeson came
      close to matching that kind of breakneck return on sweat equity.

      In mid-1995 Jerry Yang was a Stanford engineering grad student
      with a winning squinty-eyed grin who had landed his first million in
      venture capital. Today he's the co-parent and co-Chief Yahoo of a
      webglomerate that claims the daily attention of 25 million pairs of
      eyeballs -- and that manic grin hasn't dimmed a watt. There's still
      a fairy tale quality to the events that began in the spring of 1994
      when Yang put up a web page containing his name in Chinese
      characters, his golf scores and a list of his favorite internet
      sites. Six months later he and David Filo hit on the idea of Yahoo!,
      a name suggested by a slur tossed at them by Filo's dad. The yahoos
      turned it into an acronym by reverse-engineering the mock-
      sonorous "Yet Another Highly Officious Oracle." Whatever, it worked.
      By early 1995 the site was bookmarked on every browser in

      Masayoshi Son, head of Japan's Softbank, had the prescience in
      1995 to take a 20% stake in Yahoo! A few months later when Yahoo!
      held its IPO, Son snapped up another 17.02%, putting him in
      effective control. He then installed a professional management team
      to fill the CEO, COO and CFO spots. By then the stakes of Yang and
      Filo had been cut to about 12% apiece, but Son kept them on as
      Yahoo!'s heart and soul under the title of Chief Yahoos. Their job
      is to ooze irreverent inspiration. Of the duo Yang is the more
      outgoing and better suited to carrying an empty briefcase while
      snapping orders into cellphones. Filo plays a quieter behind-the-
      scenes role. Together they've guided Yahoo! into foreign-language
      extensions, local guides, print magazines and e-commerce.

      Not content with 95 million pageviews a day, Yahoo! recently
      acquired GeoCities, a top online community that offers free email
      and homepages. That keeps Yahoo! number one portal with about 10
      million more pairs of eyeballs than the 22 million AOL grabs after
      adding Netscape's 8 million to its own 16 million dialup accounts
      (the total is reduced by overlapping visitors). Yahoo!'s taking no
      chances. It recently launched ad-subsidized dialup accounts for
      $14.95 a month.

      Yahoo!'s market cap is off the $38 billion peak reached last
      fall. For the moment, though, it enjoys a clear leg up over rivals
      in both visitor count and ad sales, actually having turned a $25
      million profits on 1998 revenues of $204 million. Ad revenues should
      more than double in 1999. But in the hyper-charged, hyper-
      ventilating cyber-universe, there are no guarantees. Just ask Marc
      Andreeson. Yahoo!'s top-dog status is threatened by the marriage of
      rivals to giant deep-pocketed suitors eager to settle Cyberia. The
      bone-crunching shakeout to come in the next two years will leave
      half eating permafrost.

      Chih-Yuan Yang was born in Taiwan in 1967. His father died when
      he was 2. As he was about to enter his teen years, Yang immigrated
      with his grandmother, mother and younger brother and settled in San
      Jose. After he and fellow electrical engineering student Filo hit on
      the idea of a web directory, they hacked code to sort hyperlinks
      into hierarchies, giving birth to "Jerry and David's Guide to the
      World Wide Web". The rest is web legend.


      Jerry Yang, Co-founder
      Yahoo! Inc.

      By Steven Ferry | Special
      to Government Technology
      Photography by Ed Caldwell

      Recognized worldwide as an industry visionary and Internet
      entrepreneur, Jerry Yang, who co-founded Yahoo! Inc. in April 1995,
      has been instrumental in building it into one of the most recognized
      brands associated with the Internet, and a leading force in the new
      media industry. Yahoo was not only the first online navigational
      guide to the Web, but has the most traffic, advertising and
      household reach. Yang took time from his duties as "Chief Yahoo" to
      discuss the nurturing of the entrepreneurial spirit within large
      organizations today.

      GT: How does the new commercial environment differ from the one we
      grew up with?

      YANG: We are seeing an increase in the pace of the innovation. Many
      new businesses have a technology component now, so the way they are
      financed, provide their services and are regulated has changed,
      compared to the last 30 or 40 years.

      GT: How do you see this change affecting society and the way we live
      our lives over the next decade?

      YANG: When you consider the PC revolution over the last 20 years and
      the ability to network with telecommunications, it becomes clear
      that this change has taken a very steep curve toward adoption by the
      average consumer. The mass audience is becoming more technology-
      savvy and putting that to use. One of the key trends as we move into
      the next decade, therefore, is that companies will make the
      technology more useful, easier to use, more effective and a greater
      part of people's lives. Any company that can succeed in making such
      a mass-audience product will have a great chance of success. We've
      also seen the shift to an information- and service-based economy:
      Over the last six years, Silicon Valley has changed toward an
      Internet-services-based industry -- a very interesting way of
      growing the economy and altering the workforce.

      The average worker here in the valley has changed in this time from
      a semiconductor-industry worker to an information-industry worker.
      This transformation has brought up the issue of how to procure
      qualified workers, something worth considering in this article. The
      new breed tends to be much higher educated, more<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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