Now would be an excellent time for Yahoo employees to jump ship
As potential investors circle the troubled company, employees stay at their own peril
You're a Yahoo employee, and a well-regarded one. Maybe a mid- or high-level executive, pulling down a decent salary.
You've suffered and survived through the Carol Bartz era. However, now the belligerent chief executive is gone. Maybe you liked her "refreshing candor," maybe you didn't. Either way, you recognize that Bartz wasn't able to kick-start Yahoo's revenue growth and that the company lacked -- and still lacks -- a coherent vision and strategy.
Yet Yahoo 1) is still profitable, 2) is still one of the web's most popular destinations, and 3) still has formidable assets that, in the right hands, could allow the Internet pioneer to recapture its past glory (and maybe make those underwater stock options you hold actually worth something).
Source: Ferran Rodenas/Flickr
So, as you read about the "potential bidders" expressing interest in all or parts of Yahoo, you should be hopeful, sit tight, and wait to see what happens, right?
Absolutely not! While Nos. 1 and 2 are indisputably true, you're a fool if you buy into No. 3.
Here's why: The potential bidders, like Silver Lake Partners, are vultures. This is a money grab for them. None of them are interested in building a business, maximizing your potential or rewarding you for your loyalty, hard work and brilliant ideas.
They intend to make money by hacking expenses (much like Bartz), which means massive layoffs. These will come after some suits walk into your headquarters and offer insincere assurances about their glorious plans for the company (or whatever part of it they buy) and job security. In fact, they may not even bother with that last part. They might just tell you to keep your head down and continue doing your job until further notice.
This is how the corporate-takeover world operates. And this is what's going to happen with Yahoo, no matter who buys it or its various parts. Some former executives at Skype can tell you a little bit about how that goes.
And if you're one of the "lucky" employees that escapes a pink slip? You'll be overworked and miserable. Is that what you signed on for?
Now, let's say no one steps up to buy Yahoo or the part of the business in which you work. Leave anyway, because your board of directors is incompetent. On that score, at least, Bartz is absolutely correct.
So let's review the three possible options:
1) You put your fate in the hands of heartless chop-shop executives.
2) You put your fate in the hands of clueless doofuses.
3) You take control of your own fate and leave before you have no control over your fate.
For your sake, I hope you choose No. 3.
But don't take my word for it. Drop a line to any of the many former Yahoo employees who wised up and left in recent years and ask if they regret their decision.
Then ask them for a reference and any job leads.