In 1999, I was working for Silicon Graphics but I decided to work for another company because SGI at that point was not performing well and I believed that the company was not financially viable any more.
When thinking of which company to apply for a job, I looked to Yahoo! From the outside, Yahoo! Homepage was something that intrigued me. A site that is constantly running, never going down. I was very curious how it was able to do that. I wanted to be a Yahoo!
When I joined Yahoo!, there were less than 800 people and I immediately sense something about this company. The company is bigger than any one person or any one group. It’s like a big ship that just sails along and no one person’s effort can make or break the ship.
Even though I was very important to the US News group I was working in, my contribution can only add or subtract from Yahoo! in a small way. The many people who came before and after me, their sum of efforts is all part of what makes Yahoo! what it is.
This sense of something bigger than me has served me well over the 11 years I worked at Yahoo! Everyday at work, I can choose to add to Yahoo!, subtract from it, or leave it the way it was when I join. The reason that Yahoo! is succeeding or failing at a certain aspect is due to the sum of every decision made in the company. The reason group A failed at a product strategy may be attributed a decision made in technology or process from many years ago. The reason why a group B succeeded was also due in large part to the decision someone else made to pave the road for the team.
So I ask every Yahoo! to think about this: When you first interviewed at Yahoo! and someone asked you why you wanted to join Yahoo!, remember what your answer was? It could be just a job, or because you believe Yahoo! is one of the great companies, or because you loved one of it products. Regardless of what the answer is.. everyday, please add to Yahoo! and don’t subtract from it. Make the right decisions.
I am still at Yahoo! because I still believe in the company, everyday I want to add to it. The day I feel like I’m subtracting from it, I will make the decision to leave it the way I found it.
The photo is David Filo and the US News team