After reading Guy Kawasaki's How to Prevent a Bozo Explosion, I decided to compute Yahoo's Bozo Score. For every question I answer "yes" to, we get a point. Every "no" is worth a zero.

1. The two most popular words in your company are “partner” and “strategic.”

No. The two most popular words at Yahoo seem to be "so" and "google." I think "value" is likely the runner up.

2. Management has two-day offsites at places like the Ritz Carlton to foster communication and to craft a company mission statement.

Yes. I'm almost tempted to take a bonus point because we've used the Half Moon Bay Ritz in the past.

3. The aforementioned company mission statement contains more than twenty words--two of which are “partner” and “strategic.”


4. Your CEO's admin has an admin.

Yes. But I suspect he'd be less useful without one.

5. Your parking lot's “biorhythm” looks like this...

No. I see the German cars there pretty early too. But they're never outnumbered by the Japanese cars.

6. Your HR department requires an MBA degree for any position; it also requires five to ten years work experience in an industry that is only four years old.

No. Our HR department is rather clueful most of the time.

7. Time is now considered more important than money so you have a company cafeteria, health club, and pet grooming service.

We have a cafeteria and a gym. No pet grooming service. I'll take a point on this even though I disagree that it has anything to do with a company being "bozo."

8. Someone whose music sells in the iTunes music store performs at the company Christmas party.

Yes. We had Earth, Wind & Fire last time.

9. An employee is paid to do nothing but write a blog.

No. We have several who blog as part of their jobs. For at least one it's even their primary function. But that's not the sole job.

10. The success of a competitor upsets you more than the loss of a customer.

It depends on the competitor and the customer, so I can't really score this one. And this one is pretty difficult to generalize to "the company" as a whole.

Posted by jzawodn at February 26, 2006 02:02 PM

Reader Comments
# Gerald Buckley said:

What if your admin's admin was part of an acquisition? Does that count?

And what if the band played for you before iTunes picked them up?

Just curious... :)

on February 26, 2006 02:37 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

It's too bad Anonymous Cowards don't get a vote.

on February 26, 2006 02:37 PM
# Tim Converse said:

Hey Jeremy - is blogging part of your job?

on February 26, 2006 02:37 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Tim: It is.

on February 26, 2006 02:39 PM
# Guy Kawasaki said:

10. The success of a competitor upsets you more than the loss of a customer.

Now Jeremy, answer this one more honestly. :-)


on February 26, 2006 04:14 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Guy: I did. It really depends on the customer. We'd like to think that all customers are created equally, but it hits a lot harder when a good friend bails on us than someone I don't know.

It's human nature, no?

Like I said, this is very hard to generalize to a whole company and is, in that way, a bit different than most of the other items you laid out.

on February 26, 2006 04:20 PM
# Dustin Diaz said:

Re: #6, I think Yahoo! is definitely savvy enough to figure out that Universities don't offer degrees in Web Development and design considering I'm in with a Spanish Degree. Good call on that one.

on February 26, 2006 04:50 PM
# ZF said:

I'm sorry, but Yahoo getting a point on #10 is actually the leading and most visible example on the planet of that particular phenomenon right now.

Accept the ding and move on. It's not fatal.

on February 26, 2006 06:16 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Perhaps I should have made this a poll...

on February 26, 2006 06:26 PM
# pmp said:

You are on point with the whole "so" thing.
It drives me absolutely nuts and it happens everywhere.
Many of our folks could use a few weeks in the Toastmasters. They are anal about shit like that with a dedicated role named 'Ah-counter'. Once you listen to people speak listening for these brief pauses in speech, you will be amazed how we all do it all the time without even realizing it.

on February 26, 2006 08:08 PM
# Dom said:

"Our HR department is rather clueful most of the time."

You *are* kidding, right?

on February 27, 2006 04:03 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

No, I'm not kidding. But I can't say I've worked with everyone is HR. But the recruiting and benefits folks I've had interactions with have always been good.

on February 27, 2006 06:59 AM
# vanderwal said:

I think number 10 is a push of Yahoo! Their competitor pains them, but knowing many at Y! the pain is because Y! knows they can do something better (like maps, API, mail, etc.) and they hate to see their customers go to a place that does not care about them. I have seen few places care about their customers as much as Yahoo (granted this has not always been the case) and try to do everything they can to make a better service for their customers.

I know of many other places that have a concern of what their competitors are doing that is much higher than Yahoo.

Any company will have a knee jerk reaction to what their competitor is doing, I think any business should innately have this reaction if they don't they may not be around long. What one does with the reaction is important. And this reaction to competitor has to be balanced with a care and love for their customers.

It is odd that this list has a paid blogger as a point and a care and love for customers above competitors as a good thing. The blog is one means of opening communication with customers.

on February 27, 2006 07:47 AM
# Nathan said:

One of the things I like about working at Y! is that competitor success is often viewed as a good thing:

Take Google Maps -- while our first reaction was to swallow hard and curse a little, I'd say most people in the company are happy it's pushed us in the direction it has.

on February 27, 2006 08:55 AM
# Todd said:

"...We have a cafeteria and a gym. No pet grooming service. I'll take a point on this even though I disagree that it has anything to do with a company being "bozo."

It's not a symptom of the company being a bozo, its a symptom of a company overrun with bozos. Ask accounting to show you the productivity and man hours gained by spending millions on a cafeteria and gym.

Also - if you have a Starbucks inside your company add 100 points

on February 27, 2006 10:14 AM
# John said:

>9. An employee is paid to do nothing but write a blog.

How about Russell?

Does he have time to do anything but blog?

on February 27, 2006 11:09 AM
# alek said:

I was at a wedding a while back when that Half Moon Bay Ritz-Carlton was being built - awesome looking place on a great location - I bet that wasn't cheap!

Hat-tip to you Jeremy for honest answers - not everyone would have answered #2 as you did.

on February 27, 2006 02:55 PM
# jr said:

In respect to the corporate cafe, think about it this way:
your employees get an hour for lunch. They can either spend that hour driving around looking for somewhere to eat or they can grab a bite localy. (Yes, they could also bring a lunch, but let's face it, if they did that they wouldn't need a cafe at all, would they? Most folks don't bring lunch.) Add in the fact that the campus is fairly remote from food sources and yeah, there's a sizable amount of lost time going on.

on February 27, 2006 04:47 PM
# AC said:

Heh, called by Guy himself!

on February 27, 2006 05:15 PM
# Long ago Y! said:

Does Zod still have the "Kill AOL" vanity plates?

on February 28, 2006 05:38 AM
# James Shewmaker said:

The reason that I give Yahoo! a major BOZO razz is because of what they have done to the Yahoo! Directory. When you get to Yahoo!'s (Is that how you use an apostrophe with Yahoo!?) Home Page locating the directory is a PAIN. Business people are less willing to pay the "we'll take it under consideration" fee that Yahoo! charges to be included in the directory because it is harder for user's to use the directory.

One thing that the directory previously was useful for was locating the official website of a specific governmental agency. It can still be done, but it takes a lot longer.

Speak about a goldmine for contextual and behavioral ads! "Search" always has the problem of ambiguity, but the user is eliminating ambiguity as he/she burrows through the directory. Yahoo! should be promoting the usability of the directory - But, it feels less usable, than it was previously.

In the meantime, the DMOZ directory has become overrun by political correctness, so Yahoo! has a chance for acquiring market share by just a little effort in promotion and improvement.

What a bunch of BOZOs!

on February 28, 2006 06:46 AM
# Jon Woolley said:

I wonder how AOL would answer this? It must be hard to resist slamming Google. It's easy to hate google. Arrogant, non-responsive...

on February 28, 2006 08:39 AM
# marc said:

"Sooooo...great post. You nailed it." :)

Kudos for your honesty on all the questions.

Great meeting you in person at SES. BTW, I love G's adsense targeting... a link to Ritz Carlton from question #2. Perfect!

on March 1, 2006 03:24 AM
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