Saturday, November 29, 2008

Yahoo! Microsoft Deal: Battle Of The Journalists

After being glued to the TV set and for three straight days watching the Mumbai terror attacks, tonight was seeming like a slow news time. And then Times of London broke this news about Microsoft coming back to the table to discuss a $20 billion Yahoo! search deal. I got all excited and immediately went over to Tweetscan to see what the twitter world was talking about this event. Sure enough, there were several people already echoing the same news over and over.

The Missing Confirmation From Kara Swisher

One thing conspicuously missing was any mention of this deal on from Kara Swisher. From what I have learnt in the past several months, she seems to have the best sources inside Yahoo! Kara is the one breaking all Yahoo! related scoops. And she has been right all the time. How could she miss this one? There was something amiss. The Times Online story was still not confirmed in my mind.

So I tweeted about it and got a quick response from her. She also posted her blog update proclaiming this as "Total Fiction".

Battle Of The Journalists

So who might be right on this one? Is Times Of London publishing an unconfirmed rumor as a legitimate story? Or has Kara Swisher lost all of her Yahoo! sources? I am sure the story would unfold more in the morning and certainly Monday morning would have much more clarity. And I am glad this saga is happening during the weekend while the markets are closed. The wild swings that we have been seeing in NASDAQ would have made day traders very happy if this news came out during normal business hours.

One funny tidbit about this journalistic adventure -- the Times Of London is owned by News Corp. And News Corp. also owns where Kara blogs. So the same corporate entity seems to be sending us this story and then contradicting itself.

As I said, next few hours would provide more clarity on this. Meanwhile, I am preparing to participate in a rally in support of victims of Mumbai Terror attack in San Francisco on Sunday 11/30 at 2:30pm. Care to join?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Barack Obama And America

What a historic day. Barack Obama is the president elect of USA. It is a dream come true.

When I came to the US in 1999 as a graduate student in NY, America was a shining beacon of prosperity, opportunity and equality. "An equal opportunity employer" was the term I learned when I first started looking for a job a couple of years later. It gave me a sense of how morally correct this nation was. I was proud of being able to live an work in America.

And then the slide began. The unnecessary Iraq war soon became the single biggest reason for hatred against an arrogant and belligerent America. The economy started slumping. US Dollar lost its charm. And then there was a low point in time in 2007 where Taj Mahal officials stopped accepting USD because of its declining value. It was a sorry state of affairs. I was losing hope in America. And it is still not that rosy a picture. The economy is still in the dumps. There is news of layoffs from many big companies. Inflation is rising rapidly. Housing market is still in crisis.

But now there is hope. Or as The Man himself said in his acceptance speech "There is a chance to keep in the 21st century, the American promise alive."

I am so glad that Obama has won. I have been his big fan since his last elections Democratic Convention speech four year ago. I have read "Dreams from My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope". I greatly admire his oratory skills. I have followed him all along on Twitter and Friendfeed. And I have even donated $403 to his campaign over the last year or so - $100, $101, $101, $101. One donation per milestone -- initial candidacy, Hillary, Palin, and finally in the last week before the election. I am glad I could make a small difference to the campaign. Such is the charisma of Obama. And mind you, I don't even vote in USA.

What Next?

Now that expectations from Obama are through the ceiling, he would have to work hard to live up to them. The market plunge today are already being attributed as "First officially dashed hopes." The time for hero worship is over. In 76 days, the new administration would be coming to the spot light. Its time for some real work now. Make me proud to be living and working in America again. Good luck my man. Good luck Obama!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Six Months In Yahoo!

Today I complete working six months at Yahoo! Time for a quick recap. When I started work here in May '08, Lehman Brothers still existed. So did an independent WaMu. Freddie and Fannie were still chugging along on their own. Dow was well over ten thousand. Randy Pausch was updating his website regularly. Web 2.0 was cool. Seven hundred billion sounded like a lot of money to ever come out of government coffers. Hillary was in the news every day. As was Microsoft's hot pursuit of Yahoo!

So indeed six months is a large period of time. Things have changed, many for the worse. There is one glitter of hope remaining though -- Barack. November 4th. Please O God. Let Obama win.

I have enjoyed my days at Yahoo! It has certainly been a better than expected work environment for me. Yahoo! seem like a very employee friendly company. Despite the turbulent times, people seem to be always focused on work. There is a fair deal of media coverage that could easily distract you -- issues like the Microsoft bid, Google deal fed investigation, Jerry-as-CEO bashing, Valleywag leaks, Techcrunch hot lists of ex-Yahoos, etc. Sometimes I feel like Yahoo! should offer a PR position to the likes of Kara Swisher. Or just buy out VW and rebrand as Yahoo! Truemors or something. You know like in middle school you appoint the naughtiest guy as the 'prefect' of the class. Anyways, like it or not, Yahoo! seems to be a real media darling. Most closely scrutinized than any other company I know.

Jerry and Filo can be seen hanging around the cafes. You can sometimes see them standing in line to buy a sandwich just like anybody else. The all-hands from these guys are timely and always fun. This is a big contrast for me personally, compared to my previous company's CEO. There is never a Larry all-hands that I know of.

Parties. There was the Cinco De Mayo party on the first week of my joining. Then the big Summer Picnic for kids and families. Then the hack day party. Octoberfest. Halloweeen parade. And even a Diwali party. Not to mention the various project kickoff and completion parties and the team outings. And now there are plans for a Vegas themed holiday party. I am loving it.

And then there is devel-random@. Most awesome, but to be discussed some other time.

To round it off with a somber note, there is an impending layoff out there. But coming from seven years at Oracle, this is like an annual ritual for me now. Check back here frequently to see if I survived. Fingers crossed.

Update: Dec 10, 2008: I did survive the Yahoo! layoffs today.