Wednesday, March 13, 2013

1975 : Whats your DNA like?

I have been reading a lot around Marissa Mayer and her mission to change Yahoo. While I do admire her commitment to such a challenge, I can’t help wonder if she is really ever going to succeed.

Over years, I have gotten more and more convinced that at the heart of a corporation, is its sweet DNA….and DNAs cannot be changed all that easily, even if it is driven from the top.

And the DNA is central to the behavior of the beast….almost like a brand. Like you begin expecting BMWs to be edgy, Mercs to be more sedate and understated, Microsoft to be full of bravado (even while their own ship is possibly sinking!!).

What do you identify Yahoo with? A bunch of non-involving informercial driven site(s). Somewhere along its evolution, it ceased being a tech company, and became more an ad business….and that’s where its heart possibly got corrupted. Marissa thinks she can shephered 11000 folks back into the “tech shape”. Will an ad company ever compete with the 100 ton gorilla called Google, which continues to be fiercely tech in its DNA?

I think that is a gargantuan task. We all resist change, especially if it means, it will personally threaten “me”.

Another example, what do you see Flipkart as? A bunch of opportunistic discounters. Do you think this DNA will fight Amazon, who is a technology behemoth, that just as an aside also does Tablets and etailing, and is spellbindingly successful at that too?

Never have I been more convinced that to be a lasting firm, you need a culture of success, burnt into your DNA. I currently work for a firm, which epitomizes this fascinating journey. I don’t know of any other organization, that is more devoutly wanting to be better and better and better…almost as if perfection was its only goal. This relentless pursuit, while it continues to be infinitely tiring, is also intensely transformational for the self…and that is the high, that draws you towards such a poison tip.

A firm like mine, might one day (still) die, but while it lasted, you know it had a soul coursing through every cell in its body, and that to me, is so terribly fascinating.

Will Yahoo and Flipkart last another decade? Lets say, the chips are down Smile

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