When we were hired as Yahoo’s BtoB agency about six years ago, the new chief communications officer told us he had one goal: to turn Yahoo into a verb (i.e. “Hey, Syd, would you Yahoo the word truncated for me” or “What’s the origin of the phrase, ‘In like Flynn?’ Dammit Birkhahn, Do I look like Daniel Webster? Yahoo the damn thing.”).
Needless to say, Yahoo never came remotely close to supplanting Xerox, Kleenex or any other product to find its way into the popular business lexicon.
Instead, under the aegis of then CEO Carol Bartz (easily the most foul-mouthed executive I’ve had the misfortune to meet), Yahoo continued its death spiral.
Then, Queen Marissa Mayer ascended to Y’s throne, promising to restore the kingdom to its one-time greatness (and, who knows, maybe even turning Yahoo into a verb in the process).
Alas, a New York Times article reported that Yahoo’s just started a formal process that could result in selling all or part of what’s left.
So, Mayer’s strategy of buying small companies that few had ever heard of, jettisoning significant capabilities and alienating thousands of workers by ending telecommuting, failed miserably. In fact, Queen Marissa may very well be remembered as Silicon Valley’s answer to Anne Boleyn (while, hopefully, not suffering the latter’s dreadful fate).
On the plus-side of the ledger, though, Mayer may be finally be delivering on that long-forgotten CCO’s demand to turn Yahoo into a verb. I could see the Y-word easily finding its way into such statements as:
“Be careful you don’t Yahoo that report. Moed skewered the last, poor sap who did.”
“You catch the Mets last night? Tell me Duda didn’t Yahoo that ground ball. He’s got to go.”
And, speaking of going, I better wrap-up this blog STAT or I’ll be fired for Yahooing the start of yet another meeting.