"Yahoos are unbowed and committed to going back to our roots and getting Yahoo to kick ass again."
— from Yahoo's "Big Red Book"
It's not clear who, exactly, is calling a work of inspiring quotes commissioned by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and delivered to employees at the struggling company last fall the "Big Red Book." Is it employees likening her manifesto to Chairman Mao's "Little Red Book," or is it an ironic gesture on her part?
Regardless, Re/code snagged a copy of the tome posessed by all the Yahoos down in Yahoosville. "We take our work seriously," reads one page with a portrait of a smiling Mayer, "but we don't take ourselves too seriously."
The book's raison d'être: “Our hope is that it will give everyone a shared sense of the amazing company that we work for and the incredible opportunities within our reach... Let’s do this.”
Honestly, that is fair and makes sense. Producing the guidebook is far from the worst thing Yahoo — or any company, for that matter — could do for its employees' morale. It's merely that the book's tone, as it surfaces now, is so deeply at odds with the current state of affairs at Yahoo.
"There are going to be no layoffs 'this week,'" Mayer attempted some humor to fearful chuckles at a mid-January all-company meeting. It had already been announced that at least 10 percent of Yahoos would be laid off, a number that the company more recently put at 15 percent as of Tuesday according to the New York Times.
Amid this crisis, the question becomes: Could the Big Red Book be the guiding light that turns Yahoo around? Or will it soon be seen as an artifact of its final days, and just another misguided investment?
Produced by Addison Publishing, the process for the book cost around $1 million according to sources. In the logic of the book, though, that's just money to get the ball rolling.
On a page explaining the "Birth of the Virtuous Cycle."
Great people build great products. Innovative, forward-leaning products will drive increased traffic and engagement, leading to greater advertiser interest and demand. Ultimately, this translates to revenue.
This fly wheel is a key operating principle of our transformation, and the reason we will continue to hire and retain great people while simultaneously improving our products for our users and advertisers.
So, to paraphrase:
Something something advertisers