Why I Took the Job

Favorites, Uncategorized Sep 11, 2011

Almost four years ago today, I moved across the country and accepted a job at Yahoo!. But one of the main reasons I took the position happened six years before that.

In the Fall of 2001 I was a Sophomore in college at MTSU. Each morning I’d roll out of bed and open my Yahoo! home page. It was the first step in my morning routine. I’d check the news, check my email, then get ready for class.

On Tuesday the 11th I woke up at 7:45. The first thing I saw on Yahoo! was a headline that a plane had crashed into one of the towers. I clicked through to the article, but it was such breaking news the whole story was only three sentences long. It had just happened.

I woke up my roommate — a pilot himself — and turned on CNN just in time for both of us to watch the second plane hit live. Neither one of us spoke about it. We just sat there in silence watching the morning unfold.

I haven’t spoken to Chris in years, but if he’s anything like me, that image turned into one of the defining moments on our way to becoming adults. And looking back, we both would have missed it if not for the news being reported on Yahoo! that morning.

And so, six years later in September 2007, I was sitting in Starbucks with my Yahoo! offer letter in hand trying to decide. I remember thinking how much Yahoo! had indirectly changed my life that day and with a thousand other small contributions since then. And now I was given the opportunity to work for them and possibly impact millions of other people, too.

That’s why I took the job.

So tech pundits can write gleefully about the fall of Yahoo! — the many missteps they took during their short corporate history. But fuck ’em. I’m proud I got to work there and with so many incredible people for three full years. And I’m sad to see Yahoo! put themselves up for sale. There are few companies around with such reach — few that can claim to have changed the lives of so many people with nothing else but a few bits over the wire.