3: From Idea to Opportunity I (Info Tech)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Summary: This is the first of three sessions where we discuss the differences between an idea and an opportunity.

Quote of the Day:
"The key to a leader's impact is sincerity.  Before he can inspire with emotion he must be swayed by it himself.  Before he can move their tears his own must flow. To convince them he must himself believe." Winston Churchill

Guest: Srinija Srinivasan

Study Questions
(Policy on Study Questions.)

  • What made Yahoo such an attractive opportunity (and not just a good idea) in 1995 according to Salhman and any other relevant frameworks discussed in Session 2 of E145? How will Yahoo make money?
  • Identify the major risks in each of these categories at the time of the case: technology, market, team, and financial. What is the most critical category and why?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of the three major options they could pursue to finance the venture in 1995 (e.g., venture capital, corporate partnerships and sponsorships, and acquisition to become an operating division of an established company)? Be prepared for an in-class role play either as Jerry and Dave or the venture capitalists at Sequoia.
  • For general interest and only if time permits for discussion towards the end of the session, what do you believe Yahoo's vision and strategy should be today?
Required Readings (Policy on Required Readings.) Online Assignment (Policy on Case Analyses.) All teams must submit one copy each.

"We suggest that Jerry and David [accept/do not accept -- choose one] Sequoia's offer because..."

Note: AOL, which was an established technology company and industry leader at the time, has just offered $2 million to buy Yahoo. This would mean $1 million cash each for David and Jerry. They would also lead a new operating division of AOL.