Maybe if I were working at Yahoo, I would be all fired up by Terry Semel’s carefully calculated “Hey, let’s get all fired up” speech, which Jonathan Strauss has helpfully transcribed on his Yahoo blog. Terry says the media are “full of shit,” and that they all dissed Yahoo five years ago and now they’re dissing it again, but it won’t stop the company, etc., etc. All his speech needed was the soundtrack from the climactic scene in Saving Private Ryan.
It could be just me, but I don’t think Terry Semel makes a very good General Patton, or whoever he was trying to channel in his little tirade. He looks like the kind of guy who wouldn’t say shit if his mouth was full of it — or maybe if someone on the corporate messaging team told him it would make him look like a take-charge kind of guy. Nice try, Terry. I hope for your sake it makes your employees forget how far down all their stock options have sunk.
And Terry “The Tiger” doesn’t do much better in the video clip from CNBC that Mike Arrington has posted over at TechCrunch, in which he tries to deny the rumours of layoffs while giving himself a loophole big enough to drive a tractor-trailer through. As several commenters have pointed out, all Semel denies is that there will be 15 to 20 per cent layoffs, not that there will be any layoffs at all. As for the five years ago comparison, Dave “500 hats” McClure notes on Om’s blog post that
The main difference between then & now is that everybody got hit hard in 2000 / 2001, and everyone had to recover at the same time with equivalent challenges.
This time around, lots of companies appear to be kicking ass â€” most notably Google â€” but Yahoo is struggling to keep their stock price afloat while they squander #1 position in users & page views.
No one gets blamed for drowning in a typhoon. but if you canâ€™t swim when the sun is shining thatâ€™s a different story.
If things don’t start turning around at Yahoo, not only will they have to take away the exclamation mark, but I have a feeling Terry might be saying shit a few more times — and he might even mean it.