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Yahoo Culture: Sunnyvale & Santa Monica

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In Chris Gaither's LA Times (free, reg. required) article, Can Yahoo Sign On to Hollywood?, you'll read about the very different cultures at Yahoo's office in Santa Monica (aka Hollywood) versus their Yahoo HQ in Sunnyvale (aka Silicon Valley).

But as Yahoo strives to enter the league of Walt Disney Co., Viacom Inc. and other media giants, success hinges on its ability to merge two inherently different cultures: the brash, flashy ethos of entertainment executives and the rumpled, brainiac realm of computer nerds.

In the year since the company consolidated its Santa Monica office and began hiring a slew of former Hollywood executives bent on "convergence," Yahoo's leaders have sought to downplay the tensions. But the union has sometimes been rocky.

In Sunnyvale, it's "a cubicle society," said a person close to Yahoo, referring to the willingness of people at all levels to work in cramped workstations. Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from Yahoo, this person said the Santa Monica office, by contrast, was about " 'How big is my office? Where is my parking spot? You report to me. I don't need to talk to you.' It's very much the studio hierarchy mentality."

Btw, the article also includes a quote from Senior VP of Search and Marketplace, Jeff Weiner on just what kind of company Yahoo is:

"We're often asked, 'Is Yahoo a media company or a tech company?' said Jeff Weiner, a Yahoo senior vice president and former Warner Bros. executive who runs the search and marketplace groups. "The answer to that is: 'We're both. We're a media business that is technology driven.' "

Also on Search:

Consequently, search has become a big part of Yahoo's media strategy ? it's the launch pad for many people to find video, music and websites ? and a big revenue generator. Yahoo is locked in a battle with Google to persuade movie studios and television companies to release their material to search engines ? one arena in which Yahoo's show-business connections are supposed to pay off.

A very interesting read.


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