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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Yahoo! Mail Beta is Overrated (YHOO)

I read an interesting post on Om Malik's broadband blog trumpeting the departure of Toni Schneider from Yahoo! for Yet Another Start-Up(TM). It's interesting for a number of reasons. First, I believe that the Oddpost acquisition by Yahoo! actually started the whole Web 2.0 miasma. Oddpost was the first poster-child for "next generation Internet 'service' started by a couple of guys with a server in their room without much VC money because they were laid off dotcommers".
It also spawned the obligatory Business2.0 article which has since begat a slew of other acquisitions by big Internet companies because they can't develop this shit themselves.
Anyways, I found the timing of this executive interesting because I'm pretty sure he's responsible for integrating Oddpost's technology and creating the Yahoo! mail beta. I have the beta operating and all I can tell you is that it is mighty buggy lately. In fact, it's so buggy, I might go back to using the original version. I don't know what a "SetMessageFlag" is, but considering I see so many of them, I might Google it just to find out.
The point of this post is that we're starting to see the same sloppiness that we saw in the first bubble. The big Internet companies (Google, Yahoo!, InteractiveCorp, News Corp, MSN, etc...) are gobbling up simple little sites like because they have stupendous growth. This stupendous growth comes from a bunch of nerdy early adopters that write a bunch of blogs and have time to digg stories all day.
So for the big companies to spend millions of dollars of cash or shareholder equity on these start-ups to buy companies that consist of a rapidly growing user base and bunch of people with resumes that are basically graphic designers on steroids or used record shop owners -- it's stupidity. These decisions are being made on "coolness" factor but the common principles of business are being forgotten.
What does this mean? It means that if you're going to college, forget the business courses and just learn how to host a server in your dorm room and create some sort of site that bloggers around the world will love. Forget about money and profits and all that other stuff, because it won't matter. Yahoo! will buy you for millions of dollars. Then you only have to putz around the company until your options vest.
And we all know how much I love options!


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