My Y! Mobile Strategy Decks from 2005

I ran across a few Yahoo! strategy decks I saved from waaay back in 2005 that are interesting (to me at least) and amusing from a historical perspective in a variety of ways. I threw them up on Google Drive combined into one long presentation which I've embedded above. You're welcome to peruse all 100+ slides if you're the type that likes long, boring, irrelevant presentations.

(Side note: I've learned to use PowerPoint in a way that's a bit less horrific in the intervening years.)

First thing I noticed right off the bat: Yahoo! didn't implement any of my suggestions. Not one - not in the short term nor long term. The general idea I was promoting at the time was one of ecosystems and open standards for search, communities and mobile in general. Lots of reliance on protocols, alerts, web technologies, etc. What ended up happening was dedicated apps and proprietary systems, and then when iPhone apps hit three years later, a tectonic shift away from "WAP", SMS and mobile web all together. (Christ, I just felt the need to put WAP in quotes... that was a long time ago indeed.)

Part of what I was pitching became what I did at Mowser - so you definitely can't say I didn't believe in my strategy. Some of what I was trying to do in search is now being implemented in Apple's Siri and Google's Now. If you check out the search section, do you see the emphasis on search results serving blocked answers sourced from various services? Then the bit about implementing voice as well? Yep, I was trying to get Yahoo! do that stuff back when the RAZR was the hot phone and 3G to most people was the seventh apartment on the third floor.

I was surprised to see that community deck was actually pretty correct in terms of how things played out, though that was mostly through talking with some smart people at Yahoo! about it rather than any sort of intrinsic understanding on my part. The general recommendation was to concentrate on single profiles with lots of pictures, a focus what was happening "now" rather than what happened in the past, and to facilitate communicating with a group of friends, and maybe friends of friends, rather than strangers. Pretty much like what Facebook does nowadays. Note that neither Facebook nor Twitter is mentioned. The former because I didn't have access until at least two years later (though I recall being aware of some crazy popular college-only service back East), and the latter because it hadn't been started yet. :-)

The rest of the decks are sort of filler and justifications surrounding my pitches. I can't imagine what I was thinking then to create 30+ page pitch decks, but I think that was just how it was done. I really hope Y! has gotten over that particular corporate bad habit. Anyways, not horrible - considering I missed the whole concept of "apps" entirely, but I don't think even Steve Jobs realized how important they were going to be either.

In some ways, 2005 seems soooo long ago... it was truly the mobile dark ages. In most other ways though, it was just yesterday. I mean, that was the year Batman Begins came out and the year the XBox 360 was launched. Both still seem pretty new to me, honestly. Yet if I had to use whatever phone I was using at the time now, I'd probably be pretty unhappy. This sort of pace is just mind-boggling really. Yet if you think about 1995 to 2002, there was a similar sort of leap forward, from Microsoft not including the TCP/IP stack in the default networking of Windows 95, to the rise of giants like Google in just 7 years. We just lived through that same sort of insane transition *again*. It's an absolutely blistering pace if you just stop for a second and look at it - like a guy who suddenly realizes he's in caught in a riptide... everything around him was moving at the same speed, yet there's the shoreline zipping away into the distance. :-)

With that happy thought... I'll move on to the future.


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