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What is Yahoo? Technology or media?

Stashed in: Venture Capital!, Marc Andreessen, @cdixon, Amazon, BuzzFeed!, @marissamayer

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The Atlantic Wire asks one more time, What is Yahoo?

This is reminiscent of a recent Chris Dixon post sharing the words of Jonah Peretti, the founder of BuzzFeed:

Venture capitalists don’t like funding companies that have reporters on staff.  In the early days of BuzzFeed, I had several VCs say they were interested in investing if we could figure out a way to fire all the editors and still run the site. I’m not joking.

Tech investors prefer pure platform companies because you can just focus on the tech, have the users produce the content for free, and scale the business globally without having to hire many people.  

Startups that promise this vision have an easier time attracting funding which is why there are so many startups trying to be the next Twitter or Facebook or the Instagram or Pinterest for X, Y, or Z.  Meanwhile, companies that employ reporters, editors, and creative people usually struggle to get funding which is why so few publishing companies or agencies are venture backed.

AOL went the media route (buying HuffPo, TechCrunch, etc) and got pummeled for it.

Looking at Yahoo's assets, I believe Yahoo shouinane a technology company. Finally.

Good point. Consider Amazon ... who considers themselves a technology company rather than an online retailer. Abstraction is critical. And to wit, Amazon may be the most innovative of all the big players ... including Apple.

Amazon is definitely a technology company.

They run Amazon Web Services and they have built many Kindle devices.

Yahoo? Unclear what they WILL be, but right now they're all media.

I agree, they're a media company. Their content is what drives people to the site. I downloaded their mobile app. for Yahoo Fantasy Sports and it left a lot to be desired.

It's a false dichotomy. Media and technology have been converging for twenty years or more. The fact that there is a company that does both and people can't figure out which one they are is evidence that the convergence is nearly complete. The "media vs. tech" thing is a question that's being answered by people (mainly tech bloggers) who don't understand this -- and who gain from rubbing salt into Yahoo's wounds.

What do retail book sales and commodity web hosting have in common? They're both low-margin businesses that have wiped out countless incumbents over the years. Amazon is not a technology company, they are a company that makes money from low-margin businesses. Technology is one of the things they use to accomplish this.

Ryan, I agree.

Jeffrey, that's an interesting point you make. I'm going to have to think about it.

Technology is a means to Yahoo's end, so they are a technology company.

Similar to how eBay and Amazon are technology companies, too.

The main difference is, eBay and Amazon enable consumers to buy things.

Technology is a means to Yahoo's end. But it's a means to every company's end, too. Does that make every company a technology company? Maybe, but if that's the case, then the label becomes meaningless.

True, Marc Andreessen says software is eating the world.

Whatever you do, if you're not doing it with software you're doing it wrong.

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