Headline July 21, 2016/ ''' YAHOO! YOUTH? '''

''' YAHOO! YOUTH? '''

BACK IN THE MID-1990s  before even Google existed, the world's best guide to the Internet sat in Silicon Valley cubicles, visiting websites and carefully categorizing them by hand.

They were called surfers, and they were a collection of mostly  20 somethings   -including a Yoga lover, an ex-banker, a divinity student, a recent college grad from Ohio hungry for adventure-

All hired by a startup called Yahoo to build a directory of the world's most interesting websites.

Today, with more than one billion websites across the globe, the very notion seems mad. Even then there was a hint of insanity about the enterprise.

Yet, sitting in the shadow of a life-size, paper mache sculpture  of Elvis, the surfers built Yahoo.com into the home page for a generation of web users. Their work helped define the early Internet.

Two decades after Yahoo's founding  -the equivalent of several lifetimes in Silicon Valley   -Elvis still serenades the surfers at the headquarters here in Sunnyvale, and a Yahoo is at a crossroads.

The company, long since eclipsed by Google and Facebook, now commands just a tiny fraction  of people's attention and advertisers' dollars.

Yahoo is auctioning itself off. Bids are due this Monday, the same day the chief executive Marissa Mayer, is expected to report yet another quarter of dismal financial results.

Most, but not all, of the surfers have scattered across Silicon Valley and the world. 

The careers of some followed the arc of the tech world's obsession and idiosyncrasies over the last 20 years. Others took their stock windfalls and dropped out to pursue other passions.

Taken together, the surfers about  18 of whom are still in the building, embody the technological and cultural changes that transformed the valley and the world  -and left Yahoo in the dust.

Back in 1994, when the directory was born, the search engines were rudimentary and intellectual newbies were just learning how to navigate the World Wide Web. 

The very idea of a website was novel  

Two Stanford graduate students,  Jerry Yang and David Filo, saw opportunity.

Working from a trailer on campus, they began compiling websites into a list, organized by topic. They eventually named at Yahoo:
*Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle*

It quickly became one of the most important gateways to the web. the value proposition was simple, said one long time surfer, Dave Sikula. : ''We've done the work for you   -we've gone through the web and these are the best sites.''

That required an army of people, said Srinija Sriinivasan, employee No: 5 at Yahoo, who was hired to build the original surfer team.

It was serious work, deciding how to label things and where to put them. What do you call a category that includes  skinheads  and the  Ku Klux Klan?  What kind of pornography should be considered for inclusion, given that  ''sex''  was the most popular search term from the start.

Much was left to individual judgment. Matthew Mustapick, who quit a job at Wells Fargo to become a surfer in 1995, recalled creating the  ''cannibalism''  category. 

He found the sites explaining how to butcher a human body but decided they were too distasteful to include.

Amey Mathews,  who worked as a yahoo surfer from  1998 to  2002 [and is now married to Mr.  Mustapick], discovered in the course of her work that the Irish originally carved   jack o' lanterns  from turnips and pumpkins, After that, the surfers held a  turnip-carving  contest every Halloween. 

The directory survived until 2014. But by then, most of the surfers' time already went to other projects. Many of them worked to improve  Yahoo's search engine as it battled with Alphabet's Google subsidiary.

Still, Yahoo's star continued to fade, particularly with the rise of smartphones and social applications like Facebook and Twitter.

*Today some former surfers ponder the company's fate with sadness and hint of regret at opportunities missed*.

A Lesson that all  *Students of the World must*   heed in terms of !WOW! and !E-WOW!.

The Honour and Serving of the  ''Latest Operational Research''  on Social Applications continues. Thank Ya all for reading and sharing forward and see you on the following one:

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the World. See Ya all on  !WOW!   -the World Students Society and !E-WOW! the Ecosystem : 2011

''' Creativity '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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