Right after the acquisition …

I was reading this great article from an ex-Flickr employee on how Tumblr (and its employees) should ride the acquisition wave. In specific, I think some of these points are awesome, immaterial of the current scenario (Tumblr + Y!). These are applicable in almost all big company buys smaller company scenarios. I am reproducing the four points below with some of my observations that I went through during the one acquisition I went through and a few which I have closely seen happen.

Don’t pretend it’s not happening or that it doesn’t matter.

Totally nailed it. It matters. You need to soak it in. You need to absorb in some of the acquiring company’s culture. Make new friends. Get some folks with whom you can gut-check processes. Most importantly, make friends with the non-tech crowd at the bigger company – HR, Finance, Facilities. You will soon realize you would need their help. And help is so much easier to get if you are on their side.

Don’t forget you’re awesome.

You got acquired because the parent company felt that either your technology is awesome, or your talent is awesome. Either ways, you are important to them. Acknowledge that. Dont succumb to giving up everything. A good merger/acquisition is a layer-by-layer mixing of what is best for the joined entity. Do not give up silly little traditions when you were smaller. At the same time, embrace larger cultural practices from the bigger company.

Plan for the Bear Hug.

I think the original article nails this one beautifully. In the initial stages, everyone will jump in and give you ideas. Embrace this togetherness, but have a point-contact for traiging these requests. Else you will get in to a rat hole.

Think bigger.

Now you can. You can think beyond the local market. You can think beyond the handful of customers you have now. You can think beyond restraining marketing budgets. You can ask for help in designing UI. You can ask for data. You can do so much more if you start thinking bigger.

Know how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Now this is one thing, that I have seen happening right in front. After the acquisition happens, there are a certain set of things that happen either due to standardization (example in the article is moving to a common data center, which happens everywhere now), or something that resulted from you thinking bigger. Some things might seem easier when doing it on a larger scale, but along with, comes a ton of headache. Localization, internationalization, local laws, patent disclosures. And I fully agree with the advise in the article about – “Dont be afraid to get a gut-check from someone in the parent company.” These headaches have a thing for magically appearing only  mid way through the project.

Read the original article here.

Yahoo! and Daily Habits

I don’t remember which stage it was. It was just after Marissa Mayer took over the helm of Yahoo. She was being asked – “What is Yahoo!”. It was true. Yahoo was going through a bad identity crisis. Yahoo was tottering aimlessly. It was the poster brand. And now, no one knew what it was doing.

It took a while, but I think Marissa has a repeatable answer to that question. There are two messages that are coming out.

Identify daily habits of Y! users and take them Mobile

Make the daily habits so damn good, that users would love it and be delighted.

I think this is a great mission. Mobile is so ubiquitous now. So much so that, there are people who are forming habits using mobiles. Alarm clocks. Foursquare check-ins. Twitter. Figuring out where to go for lunch. Checking their calendar. Folks cannot do without their mobile for some of these tasks, or should I say habits. If you are able to focus on a handful of Y! apps which have become habits, and make the experience fantastic. That makes a lot of sense.

There is some criticism that, she sounds like a broken record, but I disagree with that completely. If she was not doing that, then the press would be saying that she does not have a cohesive strategy. At the point in time, where Yahoo! is, I think what they need is a well defined cohesive mission. And repeating it a 100,000 times is not a bad thing at all.

Way to go Yahoo!. I have always been a Y! fan. Would hate to see it going down.


Flickr founders leave Yahoo

It looks like Catrina Fake has already left, and Stewart Butterfield is on his way out on july. Stewart is apparently known for his wit, and he has submitted, in my opinion, the funniest resignation letter, I have ever seen. To give a brief background, Flickr, a photo sharing website, was founded in 2004 and was acquired by Yahoo in 2005.

Here is the letter for your reading pleasure.

(Source: valleywag)