“Death spiral at Yahoo already started in 1998″ – Paul Graham

Paul Graham:

Good programmers want to work with other good programmers. So once the quality of programmers at your company starts to drop, you enter a death spiral from which there is no recovery. [2]At Yahoo this death spiral started early. If there was ever a time when Yahoo was a Google-style talent magnet, it was over by the time I got there in 1998.The company felt prematurely old. Most technology companies eventually get taken over by suits and middle managers. At Yahoo it felt as if they’d deliberately accelerated this process. They didn’t want to be a bunch of hackers. They wanted to be suits. A media company should be run by suits.

via What Happened to Yahoo.

What can AOL’s new hires really do?

Two weeks ago, AOL picked up Mike Maser, chief strategy officer at Digg, who joined AOL as head of marketing for consumer applications;

Wait, Digg had a strategy?  Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say they did.  Well, given the shakeup with Kevin Rose taking over as CEO and making some big product updates, I would say their strategy was not very good.

McKinsey executive Jennifer Wong started as global head of business operations last week;

McKinsey types are really good at managing P&L.  They’ll streamline your processes and run it nice and lean.  The only issue is that when there’s pressure to monetize above and beyond that, the only thing you can do is to monetize more aggressively by dialing up the ads and annoyance.  There’s really no magic here.

as did highly regarded Wall Street internet analyst Jeff Lindsay, who joined as VP-strategy in AOL’s content division. That’s in addition to former New York Times tech reporter Saul Hansell, who heads AOL’s content-production platform SEED;

I don’t know if Lindsay or Hansell have any management experience.  If not, they are in for a rude awakening.

and former Google executives David Eun, who heads AOL’s content arm; sales chief Jeff Levick; and agency-relations head Erin Clift. Former Yahoo-er Brad Garlinghouse joined last fall as head of AOL’s consumer-applications group.

As I’ve said previously, it’s really hard for these guys to start contributing if there isn’t a product that has momentum.

via Why Does Everyone Want to Work at AOL All of a Sudden? – Advertising Age – News.