Is Apple all about China?

My brother sent me this link ::

Actually I don’t think they are all about China although they are emphasizing it more and more but somehow I don’t think they will always do that. I think they used the last keynote to highlight how far they have come in China since everyone always talks about how the valley tech companies get hosed in China. And mostly they do. Look at Google, Yahoo, Tesla and many others who have tried and have failed to go big in China. Now look at Apple. Killing it in China.

I think from here on out it will just be the norm for them. I don’t think it will have to be continually highlighted.

However I would add that the focus on China is really just a pivot to Asia in general and that is the right pivot. I find it comical when people say oh the Chinese will love that gold iPhone. Or that gold macbook. Sometimes I think the people saying this crap are the same people pontificating about Asian trends just because they eat at Panda Express a few times a week.

Folks – all of Asia is quite similar to China. I suspect more than a few rich Indonesian, Thai and Singaporean folks will be doing all they can to order a gold Apple watch to go with their gold iPhone and iPads. It just comes with the territory.

So yes – China is huge for Apple. But I know they are working hard to crack India and to make a thorough dent in SEA region as well. My guess is they only get more dominant for the time being.

Stunning trainwreck

When I read about Line working on grocery deliveries. Or wechat shutting out alibaba apps, I am constantly dismayed with how Yahoo had an amazing assortment of platforms – payments, games, content, locals and chat, that it could have used together to form a new platform.

I guess innovation like this is too hard to manage from the inside but someone, someday will write about the dominance of chat as a platform and how Yahoo choked on the enormous opportunity.

Will Softbank pick up Yahoo?

Now that the spinoff is in motion it could make a lot of sense for someone to pick up Yahoo and to me that someone is Softbank. I had planned to write this last night before going to bed and after talking to an employee and ex Yahoo colleague. The idea being that since Yahoo owns a chunk of Yahoo Japan then it could make sense for Softbank to get that back and Yahoo in the process.

Sure it would not be easy and the spinoff is not done but Yahoo has pulled back a lot in Asia. No more Korea. No more Indonesia or Thailand. Some pull back in India. I always felt this was a sly way of making it easier for someone else who is also in Asia to come in and not have a lot of competing assets or property. Softbank fits that bill – especially since they share Yahoo Japan which is probably worth more than all of Yahoo’s other Asian assets combined. The other JV is Yahoo Australia which I hear that the local team wants to dump Yahoo and then one could argue that Taiwan is a stand alone Yahoo business but I am sure Softbank would love those assets.

Anyways. Kara of course covered this by the time I got up this morning.

I personally don’t think all these shenanigans are simply just a spinoff plus a stand alone Yahoo going forth – to me this is a setup for something else. But I could be wrong.

Can anyone run Yahoo?

Adding this for everyone ::

The internet is all on fire with the latest article about Yahoo and the forthcoming book. It is too juicy of a subject not to talk about it. Here I go.

In case you are wondering I have written about Yahoo before – and normally these posts always make my top 10.

Starting from the most popular on down:

Fuck you, I’m the ‘D’ on this

What the hell happened to Yahoo! Messenger

Thinking about Koprol 2.0

Koprol – The Inside Story. Part 1

Koprol – The Inside Story. Part 2

Koprol – The Inside Story. Part 3

Koprol – The Inside Story. Part 4

Koprol – The Inside Story. Part 5

Fuck you, I’m the ‘D’ on this – part 2 (#marissadidit)

What is happening with Yahoo?

That is my core 10 posts regarding Yahoo and they make up most of my blog traffic. I actually had another post on how Carol Bartz was the worst pick as a Yahoo CEO but I erased it one day, actually my first day at Yahoo, thinking that someone might read it and fire me. The rest of the posts were all written after I left Yahoo.

I get emails from people saying I like to bash Yahoo but I don’t. I loved working there, I loved Yahoo before I worked there and I still love Yahoo. I write about it cause I think about it. I do not intend to cause any harm to people working there even if I am sometimes accused of that.

Here is the new article on Yahoo :: . It is a riveting read and of course the book will be a must read.

Nothing in the article is really news apart from the fact that it seems Marissa thinks a lot of herself and likes to be late to everything. I heard about the Ross story first hand and of course everyone knew Ross would quit right away. I personally think Ross should have had a shot at running Yahoo. He would have massively cut staff, it NEEDS to be cut, and he would have focused on the right bits. That would be a better course of action than doing nothing or trying to acquire everything. Yahoo could make money as a smaller, more nimble entity. Ross also wanted to buy Hulu but not sure that would have worked but I think trying a big acquisition is smarter than a bunch of small ones for the purposes of recruiting.

At first I was excited about the Marissa news but I had so many current and ex Google friends tell me what a mistake it was. In hindsight a lot of what they were saying was right. She is out of touch with reality, is not a great manager and is not the right fit for Yahoo. As I am in the States right now hanging with my folks, who use Yahoo religiously, I realize that people like my folks are Yahoo’s current target user base for the USA. Yahoo may not like that fact but it is true. They use Yahoo mail, front page, news, weather and the yahoo news digest app. They used to use messenger but let’s be honest – no one uses messenger anymore. It’s dead. Huge, huge mistake for Yahoo to lose out on the messaging craze. Huge.

Enter Marissa, a CEO who knows little about my parents. Marissa is too wealthy, sheltered and full of herself to ever understand my parents. Yes – I know a lot of tech CEOs are out of touch with my mom and dad but the difference is Yahoo needs turing around, Yahoo’s strength is folks like my mom and dad and it will take knowing them to serve them. I know Yahoo wants the young ones but that ain’t happening. In fact, I am not my parents or a young one but I don’t use Yahoo anymore either. That’s the problem really – no one is really waking up everyday and checking Yahoo like they used to.

On this point one has to hand it to Gruber for somewhat nailing the decline of Yahoo :: . I don’t disagree with him on what happened but I don’t think those mistakes spelt the end of Yahoo. What cooked Yahoo was years and years of not changing course.

Yahoo knew the old stuff was dying and the new web was taking over – but they didn’t respond to it at all.

They missed mobile, then they missed apps, they missed the emerging markets and they blew their Asian deals. Let me be clear here – Yahoo made money on both their Alibaba and their Softbank deal but what they never did is take advantage of those deals. They should have learned how to import stuff from Japan and China back into the States. They should have worked closely with Alibaba and Softbank on Southeast Asia, India and North Asia. Yahoo had huge leads in these markets and now they have virtually nothing. Korea closed. Yahoo Japan is not Yahoo. There is no Yahoo in China. They are dying in Southeast Asia. Properly executing in Asia could have done a lot for Yahoo in the big picture. They let it all die.

I agree with Gruber that a comeback is highly unlikely but along the way they could have fallen less farther than they did. As to now – I don’t know if it can bounce back. It may just be too late. Apart from Flickr I use nothing from Yahoo and they could spin that off if it were up to me. Their mail sucks. Their messenger sucks. I never hit the front page. The new digest thing was interesting but too fluffy and not customizable enough for my tastes. There is just nothing interesting about Yahoo and to top it off – I live in Asia – Yahoo in Asia is even worse than Yahoo in the States. 

Yahoo makes money. They have too many people. They still need to cut back and focus. Then they would make even more money.

As to a Yahoo/AOL thing. Kill me if this happens.

Maybe Alibaba or Softbank might try to buy them. At least that would be interesting.


Amazing to see the depth at Google

Google prints money so it is not surprising they can afford to have resources for a product manager that helps to represent Asia. This is similar to what I was doing at Yahoo but of course we didn’t have this expansive of a charter.

I have to admit that Google is pretty serious about Asia. We are working with them at Spuul on some stuff and they devote ample resources, are very organized and run some strict deadlines.

As I hear about all the dismantling of Yahoo in Asia, I tend to think about what could have been but obviously wasn’t.

Google is not my favorite but I am impressed with how much money and effort they put into Asia.

Will write up another post about an interesting project they are doing with PWC in the region.

What is happening with Yahoo?

Had a few people pinging me and looks like some serious retrenching in EMEA and Asia.

It makes sense – outside of the USA the biz keeps falling. What is scary though, is in places like Asia, other companies are growing like a weed. Is Yahoo quickly becoming a USA focused company or is this just more centralization around running the biz from the states? But these are sales folks though so not sure how one can grow the number by losing more sales people?

I am sure there is more info to come. What is stunning though is at one point Vietnam was one of the bigger offices in Asia – pricey real estate too. Gone are the days where Yahoo 360 and messenger ruled the roost. I think in places like Vietnam where Yahoo used to be powerful, Yahoo is suddenly looking irrelevant.

I argue the biggest issue in Yahoo Asia is that the team has not brought in new blood similar to what has happened in EMEA and USA.

The numbers are telling – the revenue keeps slipping in Asia and the Alibaba pressure is greater than ever.

Quite the shakeup.

I am sure more news to come.

One of the biggest deals of our time…

Lots of people in the west a few years ago had never heard of Tencent or Alibaba. Those of us in Asia obviously have but I think many people don’t realize that these two companies created some of the largest investment deals ever. Naspers buying a large share of Tencent for millions that turned out to be worth billions. Then Jerry Yang and team buying a large share of Alibaba for millions that is also worth billions. What’s stunning is how a lame duck board and an even lamer CEO at the time sold a lot of the Alibaba shares for a fraction of what they were worth a few years ago. Just a stunning mistake. Of course Yahoo still made a ton of money and who the hell knows what they will do with it. Just look at how Ebay is dumping PayPal to unlock some value to see that the threat of breaking Yahoo up is very possible.

There is so much more to talk about when it comes to the downfall of Yahoo, their missed Asian oppurtunities and what they will do now – not sure I have enough time to cover it but bottom line is the Yahoo joint ventures look to be the better businesses for Yahoo than their own owned and operated businesses. It’s a shame Yahoo didn’t create a lot more of them when they were in such a dominant position to do so. I honestly don’t believe Yahoo will ever make a substantial comeback in their core businesses.

For I will always enjoy the limited time I spent working with Yang – check out this Fortune article on Yang, the Alibaba deal and what he is doing today.

How to become a product manager

Just got the chance to check this out ::

I had the distinct pleasure of working with Isaac some at Yahoo as well as just chatting with him a bunch when he lived in Singapore. And yes – I have missed him a ton since he left.

It’s a great deck and one that I think about a lot since at Spuul I don’t have any PM’s but someday we might. I always wonder how a startup grows into acquiring or growing PM’s and how I would transition over to letting them manage things instead of the way we do it now.

I think a longer post needs to be written about the PM in a startup versus the PM in an established company. I am sure Isaac has lots to share there given his time at Yahoo and his new tenure at Frank and Oak.

Thanks for sharing Isaac!