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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Culture clash at Yahoo

My friend (and former Boston Globe colleague) Chris Gaither has this piece in the LA Times today, headlined `Can Yahoo Sign On to Hollywood?'

The piece opens with a great anecdote:

    The difference between Hollywood's glitzy sensibilities and the smarty-pants culture of Silicon Valley was distilled in a 20-word e-mail to workers in Yahoo Inc.'s Santa Monica office.

    Sent this year on behalf of a Yahoo executive recently recruited from Fox Broadcasting Co., the e-mail noted that "SOMEONE" had parked in his space. For some who received it, the all-capitals dispatch read like a scream: "PLEASE MOVE OR YOU WILL BE TOWED."

    After all, Yahoo prides itself on being the kind of place where the billionaire founders shun private offices. At Yahoo's Sunnyvale, Calif., headquarters, top executives eat in the cafeteria with rank-and-file employees.

    And no one has an assigned parking space.

    But as Yahoo strives to enter the league of Walt Disney Co., Viacom Inc. and other media giants, success hinges on its ability to merge two inherently different cultures: the brash, flashy ethos of entertainment executives and the rumpled, brainiac realm of computer nerds.

Well worth a read.