Learning from successful online entrepreneurs using Jerry Yang and David Filo (The Yahoo! Boys) as a case study
Reflecting on how they started and their achievement so far will definitely help us to look beyond our present and focus on how to constantly expand to meet our current as well as future demand.
Brief history of the Yahoo! Boys
Jerry Yang was born in Taipel Taiwan on November 6th,1968. Yang along with his mother and brother moved to San Jose, Calorina after the death of his father when yang was just two years old.
Yang attended sierramont middle school and later piedmont hills high school. He obtained his B.s and M.S in electrical engineering from standard university.
:David Filo and Jerry Yang
David Filo on the other hand was born in Wisconsin in 1966, about two years before yang was born, but when he was six old, he moved to moss bluff, Louisana with his family. He attended Sam Houston High school. He earned the Dean’s Honour Scholarship and graduated with a B.S in computer engineering from the Tulane University. He later went to Stanford university, where he meet his friend, to obtain his M.S in electrical engineering.
They became fast friends at Standford university. One day, both grew bored with their doctoral thesis, so, they quickly looked to other things to get them engaged.
It was 1994, Filo and Yang started putting together a ‘hot list’ of their favourite sits to make it easier for them to locate the cool pages they saw something interesting. They named their hotlist “Jerry’s Guide to the world wide web” they started spending more time on it. Before they knew it, their database were been used by people all over the world.
In the first month alone, traffic to the Stanford university website, where the duo hosted their site, doubled and kept increasing every month to the extent they were later told to move their thing off Campus as their traffic were crashing the Stanford website.
It was then they realized they have to turn their website into a full time business.
They seek for and among other offers, decided to work with Michael Moritz, a venture capitalist with Sequoia capital.
In 1995, they rename the website, “Yahoo”. They later added the exclamation mark to make it Yahoo! Because the name was already trade marked for barbecue sauce. The word “Yahoo!” mean “Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.
Yahoo! Started as a web directory but with intense growth, it began acquiring other companies like Rocket mail, classic games.com, egroups and other search engines such as inktomi and Aitavista.
Yahoo! Abandoned its Google-powered search results in 2004 to start using its own technology with time, Yahoo! Increased it mail account storage capacity, launched Yahoo! Messenger and acquired sites such as flickr and delicio.us.
Today, Yahoo! Continue to grow into one of the largest online companies as well as a good exemplary for young online entrepreneurs.
What to learn!
Filo and Yang are educated elites. They are intellectuals and engineers. Though, education is not a paramount to succeed online but can give you an added advantage over your competitors.
Work full time
It was not long before they realized they needed to make their online business a full time business. You can never reach great height online if you are working part-time. Your success online is directly related to the amount of time you invested.
Be self dependent
Yang and Filo are M.S graduate but they utilised the opportunity to stand on their own. Instead of spending your precious time waiting for that paid job, why can’t you think of standing on your own, especially by starting your own online business.
The Yahoo! Boys started with their raw talents about internet. Their initial name “Jerry’s guide to the world wide web” backed this point. They later moved on to allied with a venture capitalist, adopted the name Yahoo! Acquire other online ventures, disengaged from Google powered search results and move on to become one of the greatest online adventure. All these would not have been possible if they are waiting to be sophisticated before starting.
Identify your idea
“I think that it’s always possible to have a great company if you have great ides” says yang.
Filo and Yang found their idea while still students. Try to identify or create your own idea, with little hard work and creativity, who knows may be you can achieve online more than Filo and Yang.
Employ great employees
Yang says, “A lot of the credit goes to the smart and great people that have since joined Yahoo! Because they took it upon themselves to make Yahoo! Great” if you must succeed on your online business, you have to employee smart people and motivate them to give their best.
Do what you like
Filo says “I mean I work all day and sometimes all night, but I like people I work with and I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing”. It is important to choose a niche you love when starting an online endeavor. The only way you can succeed online is by doing what you really love. If you like music, open a music website, if you love sport, create a sport website. If you like selling stuffs, open an online store, have website or blog where you sell products or better still, be an affiliate marketer.
Choose the domain name you love
The Yahoo! Boys love the domain name they choose which make it easier for them to turn Yahoo! Into a branding behemoth. The name you give to people is the name you like. You cannot do well online if you choose a domain name you are not fond of.
The time is now
“ the time is now” says Yang. “The internet is still young, the opportunities ahead are tremendous, and I’m really ready to rally our nearly 12000 yahoos around the world to help seize them”.
Like yang, I believe that the internet is still young. This is the right time to start your online business to seize the tremendous opportunity ahead.
Don’t go in for fast money
The internet is not a place to make fast money as many people assumed. Like in the real world, you have to walk your way to the top through hard work and perseverance. The principle also help the Yahoo! Boys as David Filo says “We’re not in this for fast money. Really, what we want is to be part of this industry.”
Always stay competitive
Yahoo! Boys use all their available resources to stay competitive through intense review of their business, constant examination of strategy and culture, invention of new things, making wise decision and offering of free services.
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