If you’re a huge nerd, you will know that Jerry Yang
is being stealth-fired as CEO of Yahoo and returning to his former job, the title of which is too lame for me to repeat here. You may notice that the linked article contains a big fat fucking platitude-fest press-release. This is, of course, de rigeur, as is the associated blog post
from Yang himself.
Okay, so it’s a fairly typical example of doing pretty much anything to avoid admitting “hey, we’re fucked.” While a strong commitment to duplicity is lodged deep in the human spirit, I think people’s internal capacity for some kind of counter-argument has been atrophying to a shocking degree. Now, there is some sense to painting a rosy picture of your situation. It prevents panic, and allows people to operate with a level head, which is a good thing. Once it gets to this point, though, the message is pretty clearly, “You know what, you aren’t important enough for me to be honest.”
In the case of Yahoo’s board and shareholders, this is probably the correct opinion to have. Let’s face it, if Yahoo has gone ahead with the Microsoft merger that is essentially the reason for Yang’s getting the boot, the two companies would have combined forces to make a bunch of slow and feature-poor web services with a completely impenetrable UI. It would have taken much longer to shake out, but a lot more Yahoo employees would have ended up getting the axe in this situation, and a lot of those who didn’t would probably have been spared by choosing to move to Redmond. I know this is a minority opinion, but most people are idiots and I’m not, so just bear that in mind when you’re drawing your own conclusions.
At any rate, the problem is that the public at large should not be treated like the short-sighted, money-grubbing swine of the Yahoo board, and boy have we been. In fact, I would say that once the double-speak hit a Soviet-style fever-pitch (we’ll be charitable here and say that this happened on the 1st of May, 2003) our total fucking collapse was pretty much inevitable. Sober reflection is the universe’s number one catastrophe averter, but it requires a certain amount of information. On the scale of nations or the world at large, that information needs to be distributed widely and equitably which is exactly the opposite of trends that from where I stand seem deeply inexorable. It seems like a pretty safe bet that any recovering that might happen in 5 or 10 years will just be building up for another big crapfest, probably an even more disastrous one.