Jerry Yang

Web 2.0
47 minutes, 21.9mb, recorded 2004-10-07
Jerry Yang
John Battelle of John Battelle's Searchblog interviews Jerry Yang about Jerry's last 10 years as Chief Yahoo in the closing session of Web 2.0 2004. While Jerry resists the urge to look back too much, the conversation starts with some commentary about the first 10 years of the web and how that relates to Web 2.0, the platform. Discussing the early days of Yahoo!, Jerry contrasts the web of individual pages as it began a decade ago with the web of applications and services that the internet is evolving into today and talks about how Yahoo! has tried to keep up with those trends.

John asks Jerry about mistakes that Yahoo! made and what advice Jerry would give to another pair of Stanford Ph.D. dropouts (Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google). They explore why Yahoo! has "permission" to be involved in almost anything on the web, from music to search to mail, and more. In answering that, Jerry emphasizes Yahoo!'s commitment to earning each day's 3 billion page views and how taking their eyes off that goal influenced the 2000 to 2003 downturn in Yahoo!'s prospects as they focused on survival instead of relevancy and emerging trends. They discuss the rough times for Yahoo between 2000 and 2003 and how Yahoo! C.E.O. Terry Semel led Yahoo!'s renaissance and discuss rumors and speculation about Semel's future direction.

John and Jerry talk about Yahoo!'s lock-in of the personal data that Yahoo! collects and what aspects of the web Yahoo! will not get involved in. Wrapping up the interview segment of the presentation, Jerry talks about what excites him and what he's worried about.

At the close of the session, Jerry fields questions from audience members Jeff Jarvis, Marc Canter, Adam Rifkin, Kara Swisher, Cory Doctorow, and Esther Dyson on subjects ranging from the cluttering of the web to Yahoo!'s involvement in Open Source initiatives to the implications of Yahoo!'s presence in China.

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Jerry Yang is a Taiwanese native raised in San Jose, Calif. Yang co-created the Yahoo! Internet navigational guide in April 1994 with David Filo and co-founded Yahoo! Inc. in April 1995. A leading force in the media industry, he 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. program.


This is a presentation delivered at the Web 2.0 Conference held in San Francisco, CA, October 5-7, 2004. Our thanks go to MediaLive International and O'Reilly Media, the producers of Web 2.0, for permission to bring you this session, one of many from Web 2.0 here on IT Conversations.

For Team ITC:

  • Description editor: Cori Schlegel
  • Post-production audio engineer: Stuart Hunter

This free podcast is from our Web 2.0 Conference series.