Everything takes forever at Yahoo, the once high-flying, now famously sluggish Internet giant. Today's layoffs of 1,500 employees have been expected for months. And yet the strange thing is so many Yahoos seem unprepared.
Take this poignant goodbye message scrawled on a whiteboard. It speaks to a culture frozen in time — both the hang-loose Northern Californian waverider, and the frantic Web addict, reloading page after page over a 56-kbps modem. (Yahoo, in its early days, employed a large team of "surfers" who were paid to find new websites and add them to its directory.)
On Twitter and blogs, a fragmentary picture of Yahoo's agonizing cut — 10 percent of its workforce — is emerging. Already we've heard of entire offices closing, like Right Media, the New York online-advertising startup Yahoo bougth for $680 million just last year, and Yahoo Brickhouse, the San Francisco-based incubator launched with such high hopes for spinning out new websites. Nothing memorable has issued from the Brickhouse, and real-estate agents have tromped through, suggesting the office in San Francisco's South Park neighborhood, the historic epicenter of the '90s dotcom wave, is being unloaded.
Even Flickr, once Yahoo's golden child, is feeling pain, with employees being axed and runaway spending on servers and bandwidth being reined in.