Let me rephrase that. How cool is this: Spending the day at “Startup Weekend Hartford” with earnest guys and gals in jeans coaxing new web businesses out of fertile minds.
One treat was the noon-time harangue by Siamak Taghaddos—co-founder of Grasshopper. Siamak looks into the heart of great brands and sees a clear definition, not confusion—a soul, not just features.
Siamak’s advice to the jeaned teams: “You can’t throw money at features and expect to have a brand.”
To illustrate, Siamak played a video of former Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz struggling to answer a single, merciless question: “What is Yahoo!?”
Yahoo is a great company that is very, very strong in content for its users, uses amazing technology to serve up what increasingly we think is going to be the web of one. For instance, on our today module in the front page, every 5 minutes we have 32,000 different variations of that module. So you don’t even know what I’m seeing in fact we serve a million different front-page modules a day and that’s just through content optimization. And that’s just the beginning…Customized because we know the things you’re interested in. Maybe you don’t like light entertainment maybe you like a certain sports team, etc., etc. And our click through rate went up twice. So the point is, people come to us to find out what is going on with the world in a very nice quick fashion to do their communications, email, messenger, check-in on their teens. We all know about Yahoo finance. It’s a place where you can just get it together. It’s collated for you, it’s all the things as you’re moving, you can even get your social information there. Everybody moves through many websites in a day, Yahoo is one they always stop at.
All features and internet gobble-de-gook. Siamak’s deadpan reaction: wtf
Per Siamak: Great brands have a simple, bullet-proof reason for being: Facebook—helps you hook-up easier. Apple—makes you feel innovative. Google—makes you feel smarter. Virgin—makes you feel cool. Grasshopper—makes you feel in control.
Well said. I’m with you, man. Google does make me feel smarter. (Though come to think of it, hearing the former head of Yahoo! bungle a simple question also makes me feel smarter.)