Internet icon, technologist, entrepreneur, Yahoo’s Jerry Yang

18 09 2008

Jerry Yang is co-founder and CEO of Yahoo! Inc. He is worth an estimated US$2.3 billion and ranked 524th among the richest people in the world. Mastering the English language in only three years during his high school years, Jerry was soon placed in an AP English class. He went on to Stanford University where he graduated with a B.S. and M.S. degree in electrical engineering.

Jerry has been a leading force in the Internet media industry for as long as anyone can remember. He has built Yahoo! into a destination network of sites that attracts 3.4 billion views per day. Yahoo! remains the world’s most highly trafficked website–beating Google–and is one of the world’s most recognized brands.

Yahoo was originally started in 1994 when Jerry was a PhD student. He jokes, “Really, we’d do anything to keep from working on our theses.”
To fight boredom, Jerry began surfing the then-nascent World Wide Web. He started by putting up a site that consisted of his name in Chinese characters, his golf scores, and a list of his favorite internet sites. He cleverly called it, “Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web.”

Jerry recalls,

It was a really gradual thing, but we’d find ourselves spending more and more time on it. It was getting to be a burden.

The big leap came when Jerry and his fellow phD student David Filo, hacked code that would sort hyperlinks into hierarchies. At some point, they started to share it with fellow students and without any advertising, the number of visitors to doubled every month. Stanford had to deal with overtaxed bandwidth and finally told them to stop crashing their systems and move it off campus.

…And that’s how Yahoo! was born. You can still see the earlier version here.

Fun fact?
The name Yahoo! is an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle,” but Jerry and Dave insist they selected the name because they like the general definition of a yahoo: “rude, unsophisticated, uncouth.” Yahoo! itself first resided on Jerry’s student workstation, “Akebono” and Dave’ s “Konishiki” — both legendary sumo wrestlers.

We were the first in this business to build a credible, sustainable, and likeable brand. If you believe the Internet is the next big medium, and if you realize every medium has had a brand associated with it-like CNN with cable-then it’s conceivable that Yahoo! will become one of those brands.

A job well done, Jerry. Today, Yahoo! Inc. is a leading global Internet communications, commerce and media company that offers a comprehensive branded network of services to more than 345 million individuals each month worldwide.



Youtube co-founder and technologist, Steve Chen (I wish I were him)

14 08 2008

Youtube was truly groundbreaking because before its launch, there were few simple methods to post videos online. Few would contest that Youtube has fundamentally changed the way folks consume information online.

In January 2008 alone, nearly 79 million users had made over 3 billion video views.

Steve Shih Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim helped co-found Youtube in mid-February 2005. In October 2006, Google Inc. announced that it had reached a deal to acquire the company for $1.65 billion in Google stock. The acquisition, the biggest in Google’s history, put the Internet search giant in the leading position in the burgeoning world of online video. The Google shares that Steve received were worth $350 million at Google’s Oct. 30, 2007 closing stock price. That only took a year and 8 months!!

Steve was also an early employee at Facebook, although he left after several months to start YouTube. In June 2006, he was named by Business 2.0 as one of the “The 50 people who matter now” in business.