State of the Web: Yahoo! Envy

How <I>do</I> they do it? JJC says the winning ingredient is a stellar management team.
Author:
Publish date:

Remember when you were growing up and busting your butt to do well in school and your parents would tell you that so-and-so up the block was doing better than you? If you were like me, you would react in a rage of jealousy and pique.

That's how many Web entrepreneurs felt this past week when they heard about

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

or listened to the quarterly conference call. All we could do is marvel and cringe with envy.

In many ways it is amazing at how far ahead of the curve this company is. On every matrix this company's businesses are exploding. Pageviews? Well-ahead of expectations. Advertising? Well-ahead of expectations. Fees paid by others to get in the Yahoo! queue? Well-ahead of expectations. Integration of

Broadcast.com

and

Geocities

? Well-ahead of expectations.

And when I speak of "well-ahead" of expectations, I am talking about

Matt.com Jacobs

, our new guy, running in and saying: "They basically did the fourth quarter in the third!"

It is no doubt true that every dot-com in this country had to have been thinking: "How did these guys get it so right, so ahead of everyone else?"

What really has people spooked is that, in many ways, Yahoo! is not anything at all except great management. The site is fast but ugly. The content is all provided by others, who pay to get seen. There is no Yahoo! at Yahoo!

I attribute this great strength to the bench of execs at Yahoo! Any time you meet anyone at Yahoo! you are immediately impressed with them. I know the personal finance people at Yahoo!, for example, and I find them to be extraordinarily motivated and hard-working and not the least bit arrogant, despite their breakaway positioning.

I know you can take what I say about Yahoo! with a grain of salt: I am long it, of course. But if you don't believe me, listen to that conference call. Get the playback. Study that quarter.

As

Joe Mastellone

in our office would say, "It's a beautiful thing."

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long Yahoo!. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at

jjcletters@thestreet.com.