(Full disclosure: I previously worked for Yahoo!, as well as Genghis and John. Mike currently works for Yahoo! as well.)
So, the geeks in Silicon Valley are currently talking about Yahoo! founder Jerry Yang taking becoming the new CEO of Yahoo!, replacing former Hollywood mogul Terry Semel. As a former Yahoo! employee, I would see Jerry in the cafeteria every so often, talking to an executive or someone from the media, and he definitely has a larger-than-life-presence. (He’s pretty tall, but then again, I’m 5’7″ – so most everyone is pretty tall to me.) Times like that make you forget that Yahoo! was started in 1994 with some humble beginnings:
There’s still a fairy tale quality to the events that began in the spring of 1994 when Yang put up a web page containing his name in Chinese characters, his golf scores and a list of his favorite internet sites. Six months later he and David Filo hit on the idea of Yahoo!, a name suggested by a slur tossed at them by Filo’s dad. The yahoos turned it into an acronym by reverse-engineering the mock-sonorous “Yet Another Highly Officious Oracle.” Whatever, it worked. By early 1995 the site was bookmarked on every browser in cyberspace.
The fact that Jerry Yang grew up in Taiwan, “Yahoo!” is easily pronounceable in Chinese and has had an relatively early Internet presence (Yahoo! China, Yahoo! Taiwan, and Yahoo! US sites in Chinese exist) also make it a big hit with my elderly parents as well, who constantly remind me that I “lost face” when I left Yahoo! last year.