I hear some of you weren't in New York for New Yorker writer Ken Auletta's talk with Yahoo CEO Terry Semel (Shh, don't admit it). So you'll be glad to know the New Yorker posted a crisp little video of the whole interview on its web site. (If the page acts up, try directly streaming it here.)
Highlights from the talk (which was hard-hitting and boundary-breaking, as posh sponsored breakfast interviews at the Bryant Park Grill so often are), are after the jump.
- Early in his Yahoo tenure, Terry called in the head of sales and let her pitch. "Stop," he said. "I have no idea what you're talking about, and you don't know what I need and what I'm talking about." Thus began Terry's brave mission of dumbing down Yahoo's staff for media clients.
- Terry explains demographic studies — pretty articulately. Ken breaks in — "Will you know their name?" "Generally speaking, No." "But you might?" Terry almost sighs — ohhhh, journalists — and says, "I don't think so..."
- "Two or three years ago, Yahoo was not in search." O RLY, Terry? So, uh, why is search on top of Yahoo's home page in 2004? And 2003? And 2002? And 2001?
- Terry gently introduces the idea of citizen journalism replacing professional media. The media in the audience quietly stop eating. Ken does not look happy. Terry, hun, I dug it, but it's not polite to remind them about the Internet.
- Q&A time! Entertainment-veteran-turned-new-media-prophet Jeff Jarvis stands to
politely ask a questionlecture. Oh man, catch the moment where he name-drops the vlog Rocketboom — don't you know what Rocketboom is?
- "I think MySpace is great," says Terry, before casually mentioning that his daughters dropped it for Facebook, then casually mentioning he wouldn't advertise over topless women.
- Gossip columnist Lloyd Grove (!) grills Terry on fighting government oppression. Terry explains that Yahoo is good or free speech (when it's not getting Chinese journalists jailed).
Navigating Yahoo! [New Yorker]