Chief Yahoo Chief Officer no more: Yang is Out

YahooTonight, every tech-savvy news organization worth its salt is reporting that Jerry Yang is stepping down as CEO of Yahoo!  I don’t think anyone is surprised, but who, or what will it take to save Yahoo?

Whoever is chosen to replace Yang as CEO has a monumental task ahead. But they also step into a great opportunity. For all its troubles, Yahoo! is still one of the most trafficked sites on the web with billions of page views a month. There are great partnerships in place, and some great content on the portal; which is heavy on user engagement through integrated applications.  There’s a solid foundation and a great opportunity, but it’ll take guts and courage to find gold in these tech mountains.

What Yahoo Should Do

I’ve long thought is crazy for Yahoo! to keep trying to take on Google in Search.  Google is Search, face it (for now). Yahoo’s advantage is content and the ability to drive its mass user base to new applications (through the portal), something Google still struggles to do.  So, here’s what I would do if I was leading the Yahooligans:

1. Concentrate on the content! Movies, Music, games, applications.

2. Let people use Google to search for the what they looking for (above)…the stuff that lives at Yahoo!

3. Integrate people’s favorites around the Yahoo portal, just like today. I log in once and can get all my goodies.

4. Use the Social Graph to let people share their stuff everywhere – MySpace, FB, OpenSocial.

5. Concentrate on making everything as accessible on mobile.

6. Center the ad network around 360-degree targeted advertising on all properties. Buy a campaign and your ad could end up being displayed to 18-34 yr old makes on the games, video, music pages, and applications they like.

7. Let developers develop on your platform and extend your apps.

Yahoo! has already been doing some of this stuff, but it hasn’t been an integrated, mission-driven effort. It’s been throw a dart and hope it sticks. If the person that steps in the top job isn’t new to the company than I don’t expect great things. It needs to be an non-Yahoo! with vision, guts, and leadership.

It’s go for broke time and a bet on content, reach, and integrated advertising leveraging Yahoo’s strength is a good bet.  I think so anyway, but it’s easier said then done.

Good luck to you future CEO. Be bold. Be innovative. Make us all say Yahoo! again.