Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, combative as ever, defends herself and her company

Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, combative as ever, defends herself and her company

Summary: A "fireside chat" between Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz and TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington was anything but ordinary.

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So how the f*ck are you?"

"Is that appropriate?"

"That's all I've got."

"If that's all you've got, you'd better quit now."

Those were the opening lines of a "fireside chat" between Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz and TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington this morning at the TechCrunch: Disrupt conference in New York City.

In an interview that was at times awkward, pained and yes, a little interesting, Arrington questioned the direction of the enormous company Bartz leads by simply asking, "What is Yahoo?"

Bartz responded:

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. People come to us to figure out what's going on in the world...it's a place where you can just get it together.

Citing Monday morning's news, in which Yahoo announced a partnership with Match.com for its personal listings and another to exclusively serve Nokia mobile phones, Bartz said Yahoo was consolidating its major properties to focus on its "sweet spots."

"Mobile is extremely important," Bartz said, adding that emerging markets -- where Yahoo Messenger use is strong -- are a focus. "Of the 82 million devices, we're on 37 [million] of them."

See more TechCrunch Disrupt coverage:

Responding to Arrington's inquiry, Bartz said she carries a BlackBerry and an iPhone, and noted that Yahoo is nearly ready with its Android stack.

Bartz also defended the company's direction, including its recent hire of ex-Microsoft executive Blake Irving as its chief product officer.

"Our advertising business is an enormous technical effort," Bartz said. "These days in the Valley, if you're not coming out with a device or a platform is somehow not innovating."

More choice quotes from Bartz:

  • "Lots of people work on a project, even at Apple. Proposals get made, sent back..."
  • "We're in a very new industry here. Most of these wonderful startups that are shooting through here...it's like in the early days. Yahoo's 15 years old."
  • "The first day we put up comments on Yahoo News, that first morning we had 85,000 comments. People are very eager to interact with people."
  • "How do we interact with the Facebooks and real-time info like Twitter....it is a combination of not having a walled garden, getting feeds inside Yahoo products in a very integrated fashion -- social mail's important -- in the right way, you find out more about people."
  • On data: "I'd love to own it. Shit, why not? I'd like to be Queen Poobah of the world, but I'm not."
  • To be a 20 percent grower, [Google] has to grow a company the size of Yahoo every year.
  • On Arrington's choice headlines: "By the way, I've never had a bong [hit] in my life, if that means anything to you."

Bartz also defended herself, saying she shouldn't be expected to come up with a game-changing innovation after 16 months on the job, and noted that Steve Jobs was at Apple for four years before it released its first iPod.

"You are involved in a very tiny company," Bartz said to Arrington, holding her fingers in the air, an inch apart. "And it probably takes a long time to even convince yourself what to do."

"So I don't want to hear any crap about something magical that the fine people of Yahoo are supposed to do in this short time. So f*ck off."

ZDNet's The Web Life contributor Andrew Mager was also present for the talk. Here's his take.

Photo: Andrew Mager/Flickr

Topics: Social Enterprise, Browser, CXO, Collaboration

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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18 comments
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  • TechCrunch founder Guerilla Marketing Tactic Backfires

    This would be a much better title for this article. I haven't seen this level of disrespect since AOL bought out Netscape and I walked into a room where some Netscape manager was telling off an AOL Mgr on the phone... calling him an idiot. Michael owes Carol a room full flowers and a huge apology.
    A message for Michael,
    Who are you going to call? Who is going to trust you after this? Maybe you should get together with Tom Cruise....he might be the only one willing to come to any party that you might have after this.

    H
    howardc2@...
    • If a man had said the same thing this wouldn't be news

      @howardc2@... Honestly I agree with you about the apology but this is non-news. If a male CEO had responded in a similar fashion this wouldn't be a story.

      Its sad to see Tech Journalism still lives at home in their parent's basement and thinks a woman using the F-Word is exciting.
      smb2009
      • RE: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, combative as ever, defends herself and her company

        @smb2009 I totally agree with you however technical journalism still lives and ultimately hurts the news so synthetic. hug!<br><br><a href="http://www.primeiroslugares.com">seo</a><br><a href="http://www.factualimoveis.com.br">imoveis riviera</a><br><a href="http://www.acompanhantesdesaopaulo.org">acompanhantes de sao paulo</a>
        insecao
  • RE: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, combative as ever, defends herself and her company

    I've said it before, Michael Arrington is a douche. Its hard to believe people still listen to him. I don't know anyone that visits techcrunch. One thing we do know is that he is getting more and more desperate for attention.
    Loverock Davidson
    • I can't understand why she gave him the time of day

      @Loverock Davidson And for what its worth his "very tiny company" was probably a reference to the size of his penis. Nice one Carol.
      smb2009
  • RE: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, combative as ever, defends herself and her company

    Thanks for posting this - gives a bit more information on the event.
    Crofttie
  • RE: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, combative as ever, defends herself and her company

    How professional. Quite simply, Bartz has no class and a serious attitude problem. Who in the world would trust a woman like this to head a company? The mouth of a thug and the brains of a tree sloth should provide dismissal for anything that comes out of her mouth.
    StoneSatellite
  • RE: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, combative as ever, defends herself and her company

    by pointing out that among "web" companies yhoo is almost an adolescent, and things like twitter, fb, and...techcrunch are babies still being evaluated on a "oooo, it's so cute" basis, she was dead on track.
    and given the rollup of all the properties around here in an effort to appear relevant and stay in business, she's worth listening to.
    gabrielbear@...
    • RE: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, combative as ever, defends herself and her company

      @gabrielbear@...
      I think these internet companies are all fads. It's just another fad appears with another new company that we have forgotten the previous ... this happened with Yahoo, with Orkut and will happen with Google and Twitter and Facebook! It's all a matter of time ...
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      Marcossp
  • RE: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, combative as ever, defends herself and her company

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  • RE: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, combative as ever, defends herself and her company

    One thing we do know is that he is getting more and more desperate for attention.
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    • good

      Yahoo for me has always been a power when it comes to search engines.<br>Since the beginning Yahoo prevailed.<br>The CEO would not be there to be. I hope to bring news.<br><br><a href="http://www.primeiroslugares.com">seo</a> <a href="http://www.acompanhantesdesaopaulo.org">acompanhantes de sao paulo</a> <a href="http://www.factualimoveis.com.br">imoveis riviera</a>
      insecao
  • RE: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, combative as ever, defends herself and her company

    Carol did a great job
    <a href="http://www.acompanhantessaopaulo.com.br/">acompanhantes sp</a>
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    weblaranja
  • RE: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, combative as ever, defends herself and her company

    I think Carol did a great job!
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    <a href="http://www.acompanhantessaopaulo.com.br/garotas-de-programa-sp">garotas de programa sp</a>
    weblaranja
  • RE: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, combative as ever, defends herself and her company

    Carol did a great job
    <a href="http://www.acompanhantessaopaulo.com.br/">acompanhantes sp</a>
    <a href="http://www.acompanhantessaopaulo.com.br/garotas-de-programa-sp">garotas de programa sp</a>
    weblaranja
  • RE: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, combative as ever, defends herself and her company

    nice interview...
    weblaranja
  • RE: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, combative as ever, defends herself and her company

    Yahoo need to improve their services...
    weblaranja
  • RE: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, combative as ever, defends herself and her company

    Yahoo for me has always been a power when it comes to search engines.<br>Since the beginning Yahoo prevailed.<br>The CEO would not be there to be. I hope to bring news.
    insecao