I have recently left Yahoo! to pursue some personal projects.
This is a good time to recap my six and a half years working at Yahoo!
I joined Yahoo! in November of 2000 (the dot-com crash was almost in full swing, but having recently left college, I was oblivious to it).
My first noteworthy project was conceived two years after I started. It was called SmartSort. It saw the light of day as part of Yahoo! Shopping sometime in 2004 after it won Yahoo!’s Innovation Award (thanks to Koshi and Beach). SmartSort was notable in that it was doing a lot of computation in the browser before AJAX was all the rage.
About the same time, I had started working on an interactive map for Yahoo! Travel. That project went on to become Yahoo! Maps SmartView (don’t ask me; I didn’t come up with the SmartX names). SmartView was one of the first interactive, multiple point-of-interest mapping products on the web.
There is an interesting back story behind SmartView. At the exact time we were launching SmartView, a small company called Where 2 (founded by the brilliant Rasmussen brothers) was trying to raise VC funding. Their deal fell through because of SmartView’s launch. They were however introduced to Google who decided to acquire their company. They went on to develop Google Maps and the rest is history…
After SmartView, I started working on SmartTrip (just kidding). The product I worked on next was called Trip Planner and it was one of Yahoo! earliest in-house vertical social applications. It has held up well.
In mid 2005, I worked for a few months at Google with the Google Maps team (I will save the details for another time).
I returned to Yahoo in the end of 2005 in a new role where I was given a lot of latitude to come up with new ideas and pitch them as projects to the management team. I developed several prototypes, including an early prototype called RSS::Pipes. This project was green-lighted by Jerry Yang and become Pipes. Needless to say, the entire Pipes project was an incredible experience for me on many different levels, both during its design & implementation and the months following its launch. Pipes is now being run by Jonathan Trevor (who developed most of the amazing Pipes Editor).
I will try to condense my learnings into a few points:
- Aim high, life is too short for anything else.
- In life, you do what you do, not what you think or say you are going to do.
My new project is called Polyvore.