Yahoo went from internet pioneer to Silicon Valley road kill, leaving billions along the way. What went wrong?

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Talk about a fossil: I still have the Yahoo email account that I set up last century. Yahoo was founded, as every technopolis schoolchild should know, in 1994 by Stanford whizzes Jerry Yang and David Filo. And for a time, it was the thing. While Amazon survived the dot-com bust and went on to greatness, Yahoo went into a long decline.

Bringing in superstar CEO Marissa Mayer didn’t fix things. It arguably made them worse. Her 53 acquisitions drained the corporate treasury of billions but were mostly busts. The Wall Street Journal reported today that she reached a secret truce with activist investor Starwood Value, promising to cut costs and presiding over their dramatic rise instead.

No one factor or leader is usually to blame for the mess at a company (Yahoo went through a string of chief executives after Yang stepped away in 2009). But in this case, is there one overriding cause? You get to pick:


This Week’s Links:

American growth and inequality since 1700 | CEPR

What’s the right minimum wage? Reframing the debate. (working paper) | Washington Center for Equitable Growth

With capital flows in a hair trigger, Fed must be cautious | Washington Post

Time to fly my neoliberal freak flag again | Brad DeLong

Busting political myths about federal taxes | Tax Policy Center

The world economy looks a bit like the 1930s | Bloomberg


Today’s Econ Haiku:

Microsoft and pot

For Cheech and Chong’s lost decade?

This is business, dude