Because he can…
Because he can…
While watching this year’s Notre Dame vs. USC game I couldn’t help but notice how much Brent Musberger (and frankly the rest of the sports media) spoke about Brady Quinn and how he is probably the top NFL prospect in college football. I must admit that the kid has some good stuff, but I am puzzled by how much credit he gets for leading the Fighting Irish. I’ve only seen him play twice this year and they both happen to be losses…bad losses. A 47-21 loss at home to Michigan and last night’s 44-24 loss at USC. This made me want to look back at how he’s done over the year’s in big games, and here is what I found:
2003 (Freshman Year)
Wins: At Pittsburgh, home against Navy, home against Brigham Young, and at Stanford
Losses: at Michigan, home against Michigan State, at Purdue, home against USC, at Boston College, home against Florida State and at Syracuse.
Best Game: 23-39 for 350 yards and 2 touchdowns in a loss at Boston College.
Second Best Game: 29 of 59 for 297 and 1 touchdown (4 interceptions) in a loss at Purdue.
2004 (Sophomore Year)
Wins: home against Michigan, at Michigan State, home against Washington, home against Stanford, at Navy, at Tenessee
Losses: at Brigham Young, home against Purdue, home against Boston College, home against Pittsburgh, at USC, at Oregon State
Best Game: 26 of 46 for 432 yards and 1 touchdown in a loss at home to Purdue.
Second Best Game: 17 of 32 for 266 yards and 4 touchdowns in a 38-3 win vs. Washington
2005 (Junior Year)
Wins: at Pittsburgh, at Michigan, at Washington, at Purdue, home against Brigham Young, home against Tennessee, home against Navy, home against Syracuse, at Stanford
Losses: home against Michigan State, home against USC, at Ohio State
Best Game: 32 of 41 for 467 and 6 touchdowns in a win home against Brigham Young
Second Best Game: 33 of 60 for 487 yards and 5 touchdowns in a loss at home to Michigan State
2006 (Senior Year)
Wins: at Georgia Tech, home against Penn State, at Michigan State, home against Purdue, home against Stanford, home against UCLA, at Navy, home against North Carolina, at Air Force, home against Army
Losses: home against Michigan, at USC
Best Game: 20 of 36 for 319 yards and 5 touchdowns at Michigan State
Second Best Game: 23 of 35 for 346 yards and 4 touchdowns home against North Carolina
Career vs. USC (0-4)
2003: lost at USC 45-14 – 15 of 34 for 168 yards and 1 touchdown
2004: lost at home 41-10 – 15 of 29 for 105 yards and 1 touchdown
2005: lost 34-31 at home – 19 of 35 for 264 yards, 2 touchdowns (1 passing and 1 rushing) and 1 interception
2006: lost at USC 44-24 – 22 of 45 for 274 and 3 touchdowns
Career vs. Michigan (2-2)
2003: lost at Michigan 38-0 – 3 of 10 for 36 yards and 1 interception (first career game)
2004: won at home 28-20 – 10 of 20 for 178 yards, 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions
2005: won at Michigan 17-10 – 19 of 30 yards and 2 touchdowns
2006: lost at Home 47-21 – 24 of 48 for 234 yards, 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions
Other Big Games:
2003: lost at home 37-0 to Florida State – 20 of 52 for 175 and 3 interceptions
2004: won at Tennessee 17-13 – 12 of 23 for 118 yards and 1 touchdown
2004: lost at home to Purdue 41-16 – 36 of 46 for 432 yards and 1 touchdown
2005: lost at Ohio State 34-20 – 29 0f 45 for 286 yards
2005: won at home vs. Tennessee 41-21 – 20 of 33 fo r295 and 3 touchdowns
The Armed Forces
2001 (1-0): won at home vs. Navy 27-24 – 14 of 27 for 137 and 1 touchdown
2002 (1-0): won at Navy 27-9 – 11 of 20 for 130 yards
2003 (1-0): won at home vs. Navy 42-21 – 22 of 31 for 284 yards, 4 touchdowns and 1 interception
2004 (3-0): won at Navy 38-14 – 18 of 25 for 295 yards, 4 touchdowns (3 passing and 1 rushing); won at Air Force (39-17) – 14 of 19 for 207 yards and 4 touchdowns; won at home vs. Army 41-9 – 22 of 30 for 218 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception
Doesn’t seem like he really wins that many big games. How can we give him this much credit if he can’t pull one out against a good opponent?
Who should play Ohio State in the national championship game? As of today, we are left with 10 teams that can justify playing for the national championship against undefeated Ohio State: Michigan, Florida, Notre Dame, USC, Arkansas, West Virginia, Louisville, Rutgers, Wisconsin and Boise State. It is certainly easier to eliminate some teams before we argue for others, so let’s get that out of the way.
Boise State: Finished the season undefeated at 11-0, including a win against Hawaii (9-2), who is now ranked #25. Unfortunately for the Broncos, their next biggest win is against Oregon State, who finished 7-4 (but did beat USC, which we will discuss later). Without a bigger out of conference win, Boise State is out of luck.
Wisconsin: Finished 11-1 overall, the loss coming at Michigan, who is also the only ranked team the Badgers played. With Ohio State and Michigan dominating the Big Ten, Wisconsin is left out.
Rutgers: Had a HUGE win against Louisville at home, but followed it up with a loss to Cincinnati, who improved to 6-5 with the win. Any loss against an unranked opponent (especially one fighting to even play in a bowl game) will kill any chance of playing for a national championship.
Louisville: Lost to Rutgers, who was also undefeated at the time, which didn’t seem that bad until Rutgers came back to earth and lost to Cincinnati. They also beat Miami, who was #17 at the time, but the Hurricanes have been in a tailspin all season long. A big win against West Virginia certainly helps their cause, but the Rutgers loss might be too big to overcome.
West Virginia: They might have the best chance of any of the Big East teams to make it to the championship game. The loss to Louisville hurt, but not as much as Louisville’s loss to Rutgers. Unfortunately for the Big East, the possibility of all three teams beating each other (Rutgers over Louisville, Louisville over West Virginia, West Virginia over Rutgers) pretty much takes all of them out of contention.
Notre Dame: Seemed to play an unusually light schedule this year, until you realize they played the same teams they always play, it’s just that their opponents weren’t that good. Lost badly to Michigan in South Bend and still has to play at USC. Regardless of whether or not they beat the Trojans, the loss to Michigan should keep them from the championship game.
USC: Still needs to play against Notre Dame, but even if they win, the loss to Oregon State should keep them out of it. This team has gotten better and better as the season goes on, but one bad loss is enough to keep this team out of the National Championship game.
A LITTLE MORE THAN MAYBE…
Arkansas: The only loss for the Razorbacks this season is to USC, who is currently #3; a good loss, except that they got absolutely destroyed, losing 50-14. If they do end up winning the SEC (they still have to beat LSU and Florida), the case to include them becomes VERY strong.
Florida: Only one loss, which came at Auburn, the Gators look very strong with their two-QB system. They still need to play at Florida State, and then the SEC championship game against Arkansas, but if they beat both of those teams, they should be in line for the national championship game, except for…
Michigan: Michigan’s loss to Ohio State proved they can play with the Buckeyes, which seems like more than anyone else has proven. They manhandled Notre Dame in South Bend and also beat 11-1 Wisconsin by two touchdowns. The negatives against this team are big though: they did not win their conference and only beat 1 ranked team (Wisconsin wasn’t ranked at the time of the game). Regardless of the negatives however, they proved that they are the second best team in college football, which is exactly who should be playing Ohio State for the National Championship.
An internal document by Brad Garlinghouse, a Yahoo senior vice president, says Yahoo is spreading its resources too thinly, like peanut butter on a slice of bread. Full text of the document is below.
Three and half years ago, I enthusiastically joined Yahoo! The magnitude of the opportunity was only matched by the magnitude of the assets. And an amazing team has been responsible for rebuilding Yahoo!
It has been a profound experience. I am fortunate to have been a part of dramatic change for the Company. And our successes speak for themselves. More users than ever, more engaging than ever and more profitable than ever!
I proudly bleed purple and yellow everyday! And like so many people here, I love this company
But all is not well. Last Thursday’s NY Times article was a blessing in the disguise of a painful public flogging. While it lacked accurate details, its conclusions rang true, and thus was a much needed wake up call. But also a call to action. A clear statement with which I, and far too many Yahoo’s, agreed. And thankfully a reminder. A reminder that the measure of any person is not in how many times he or she falls down – but rather the spirit and resolve used to get back up. The same is now true of our Company.
It’s time for us to get back up.
I believe we must embrace our problems and challenges and that we must take decisive action. We have the opportunity – in fact the invitation – to send a strong, clear and powerful message to our shareholders and Wall Street, to our advertisers and our partners, to our employees (both current and future), and to our users. They are all begging for a signal that we recognize and understand our problems, and that we are charting a course for fundamental change. Our current course and speed simply will not get us there. Short-term band-aids will not get us there.
It’s time for us to get back up and seize this invitation.
I imagine there’s much discussion amongst the Company’s senior most leadership around the challenges we face. At the risk of being redundant, I wanted to share my take on our current situation and offer a recommended path forward, an attempt to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
Recognizing Our Problems
We lack a focused, cohesive vision for our company. We want to do everything and be everything — to everyone. We’ve known this for years, talk about it incessantly, but do nothing to fundamentally address it. We are scared to be left out. We are reactive instead of charting an unwavering course. We are separated into silos that far too frequently don’t talk to each other. And when we do talk, it isn’t to collaborate on a clearly focused strategy, but rather to argue and fight about ownership, strategies and tactics.
Our inclination and proclivity to repeatedly hire leaders from outside the company results in disparate visions of what winning looks like — rather than a leadership team rallying around a single cohesive strategy.
I’ve heard our strategy described as spreading peanut butter across the myriad opportunities that continue to evolve in the online world. The result: a thin layer of investment spread across everything we do and thus we focus on nothing in particular.
I hate peanut butter. We all should.
We lack clarity of ownership and accountability. The most painful manifestation of this is the massive redundancy that exists throughout the organization. We now operate in an organizational structure — admittedly created with the best of intentions — that has become overly bureaucratic. For far too many employees, there is another person with dramatically similar and overlapping responsibilities. This slows us down and burdens the company with unnecessary costs.
Equally problematic, at what point in the organization does someone really OWN the success of their product or service or feature? Product, marketing, engineering, corporate strategy, financial operations… there are so many people in charge (or believe that they are in charge) that it’s not clear if anyone is in charge. This forces decisions to be pushed up – rather than down. It forces decisions by committee or consensus and discourages the innovators from breaking the mold… thinking outside the box.
There’s a reason why a centerfielder and a left fielder have clear areas of ownership. Pursuing the same ball repeatedly results in either collisions or dropped balls. Knowing that someone else is pursuing the ball and hoping to avoid that collision – we have become timid in our pursuit. Again, the ball drops.
We lack decisiveness. Combine a lack of focus with unclear ownership, and the result is that decisions are either not made or are made when it is already too late. Without a clear and focused vision, and without complete clarity of ownership, we lack a macro perspective to guide our decisions and visibility into who should make those decisions. We are repeatedly stymied by challenging and hairy decisions. We are held hostage by our analysis paralysis.
We end up with competing (or redundant) initiatives and synergistic opportunities living in the different silos of our company.
• YME vs. Musicmatch
• Flickr vs. Photos
• YMG video vs. Search video
• Deli.cio.us vs. myweb
• Messenger and plug-ins vs. Sidebar and widgets
• Social media vs. 360 and Groups
• Front page vs. YMG
• Global strategy from BU’vs. Global strategy from Int’l
We have lost our passion to win. Far too many employees are “phoning” it in, lacking the passion and commitment to be a part of the solution. We sit idly by while — at all levels — employees are enabled to “hang around”. Where is the accountability? Moreover, our compensation systems don’t align to our overall success. Weak performers that have been around for years are rewarded. And many of our top performers aren’t adequately recognized for their efforts.
As a result, the employees that we really need to stay (leaders, risk-takers, innovators, passionate) become discouraged and leave. Unfortunately many who opt to stay are not the ones who will lead us through the dramatic change that is needed.
Solving our Problems
We have awesome assets. Nearly every media and communications company is painfully jealous of our position. We have the largest audience, they are highly engaged and our brand is synonymous with the Internet.
If we get back up, embrace dramatic change, we will win.
I don’t pretend there is only one path forward available to us. However, at a minimum, I want to be part of the solution and thus have outlined a plan here that I believe can work. It is my strong belief that we need to act very quickly or risk going further down a slippery slope, The plan here is not perfect; it is, however, FAR better than no action at all.
There are three pillars to my plan:
1. Focus the vision.
2. Restore accountability and clarity of ownership.
3. Execute a radical reorganization.
1. Focus the vision
a) We need to boldly and definitively declare what we are and what we are not.
b) We need to exit (sell?) non core businesses and eliminate duplicative projects and businesses.
My belief is that the smoothly spread peanut butter needs to turn into a deliberately sculpted strategy — that is narrowly focused.
We can’t simply ask each BU to figure out what they should stop doing. The result will continue to be a non-cohesive strategy. The direction needs to come decisively from the top. We need to place our bets and not second guess. If we believe Media will maximize our ROI — then let’s not be bashful about reducing our investment in other areas. We need to make the tough decisions, articulate them and stick with them — acknowledging that some people (users / partners / employees) will not like it. Change is hard.
2. Restore accountability and clarity of ownership
a) Existing business owners must be held accountable for where we find ourselves today — heads must roll,
b) We must thoughtfully create senior roles that have holistic accountability for a particular line of business (a variant of a GM structure that will work with Yahoo!’s new focus)
c) We must redesign our performance and incentive systems.
I believe there are too many BU leaders who have gotten away with unacceptable results and worse — unacceptable leadership. Too often they (we!) are the worst offenders of the problems outlined here. We must signal to both the employees and to our shareholders that we will hold these leaders (ourselves) accountable and implement change.
By building around a strong and unequivocal GM structure, we will not only empower those leaders, we will eliminate significant overhead throughout our multi-headed matrix. It must be very clear to everyone in the organization who is empowered to make a decision and ownership must be transparent. With that empowerment comes increased accountability — leaders make decisions, the rest of the company supports those decisions, and the leaders ultimately live/die by the results of those decisions.
My view is that far too often our compensation and rewards are just spreading more peanut butter. We need to be much more aggressive about performance based compensation. This will only help accelerate our ability to weed out our lowest performers and better reward our hungry, motivated and productive employees.
3. Execute a radical reorganization
a) The current business unit structure must go away.
b) We must dramatically decentralize and eliminate as much of the matrix as possible.
c) We must reduce our headcount by 15-20%.
I emphatically believe we simply must eliminate the redundancies we have created and the first step in doing this is by restructuring our organization. We can be more efficient with fewer people and we can get more done, more quickly. We need to return more decision making to a new set of business units and their leadership. But we can’t achieve this with baby step changes, We need to fundamentally rethink how we organize to win.
Independent of specific proposals of what this reorganization should look like, two key principles must be represented:
Blow up the matrix. Empower a new generation and model of General Managers to be true general managers. Product, marketing, user experience & design, engineering, business development & operations all report into a small number of focused General Managers. Leave no doubt as to where accountability lies.
Kill the redundancies. Align a set of new BU’s so that they are not competing against each other. Search focuses on search. Social media aligns with community and communications. No competing owners for Video, Photos, etc. And Front Page becomes Switzerland. This will be a delicate exercise — decentralization can create inefficiencies, but I believe we can find the right balance.
I love Yahoo! I’m proud to admit that I bleed purple and yellow. I’m proud to admit that I shaved a Y in the back of my head.
My motivation for this memo is the adamant belief that, as before, we have a tremendous opportunity ahead. I don’t pretend that I have the only available answers, but we need to get the discussion going; change is needed and it is needed soon. We can be a stronger and faster company – a company with a clearer vision and clearer ownership and clearer accountability.
We may have fallen down, but the race is a marathon and not a sprint. I don’t pretend that this will be easy. It will take courage, conviction, insight and tremendous commitment. I very much look forward to the challenge.
So let’s get back up.
Catch the balls.
And stop eating peanut butter.