Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dinner with Yahoo! founder, Jerry Yang

It’s not everyday that you get to meet a founder of the world’s largest portal. In fact, in my case, it was the first time I ever met an ‘Internet-era legend’.

Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo!, was in town as part of his Middle East tour following Yahoo!’s acquisition of It was expected that top Yahoo! executives would fly into the region, and they did.

But, undoubtedly, Mr. Yang’s presence generated a different level of excitement and interest in Cairo, Amman and Dubai last week. So, when I got an invitation to an ‘informal dinner with Jerry Yang’, it was an honor indeed.

I arrived early and had the pleasure of welcoming Mr. Yang, who warmly said hello and then gave me his business card, and that’s when I had to say “well, surely I know all about you sir, but thanks for the kind gesture of presenting your business card.” He carries the title of “Chief Yahoo!”. The other side of the card is Arabized, which demonstrates that Yahoo!’s has arrived in Arabia.

Clearly this was not an interview, but a relaxed and joyful evening, therefore the conversation drifted from light business talk to Arab food and customs. I must say that Mr. Yang was humorous, pleasant and he was curious to know more about our region and how Arabs go about their lives. Being originally Chinese, he mentioned to me how similar our cultures were.

I made a concentrated effort to explain to Mr. Yang why Jordan was an interesting country, that there were breathtaking sites to see and that he must come back to town again soon. He mentioned Petra and the Dead Sea, and seemed to know a fair amount of information about both. So it appears an Internet search on Yahoo! yields good results for these two destinations.

Towards the end of the dinner, I asked Mr. Yang if we could have our photo taken together and he kindly obliged. It also started a wave of photos with everyone else at the dinner. Mr. Yang kindly smiled through the whole thing.

Inspiring thinkers and ground-breaking business leaders are a pleasure to meet. As a technology journalist, and as a web entrepreneur, it felt like I was meeting one of my heroes.

A key thought Mr. Yang left me with was the importance of courage and creativity. He said most people you talk to about a venture, won’t necessarily think it’s a great idea, but that’s expected. If they thought it was, they’d think of it first and you wouldn’t be the only one who created it and succeeded!
Indeed, this is probably the story behind the success of Jordan’s best Internet ventures. It’s also the philosophy continuously driving success within organizations when they ‘dream up’ a new service or feature. It’s probably one of the things that made Yahoo! great.

Talking to Mr. Yang re-affirmed that big dreams, hard work and charismatic leadership work. They propelled Yahoo! to success and we can all learn from that.


At 2:06 AM , Anonymous Mohd Khawaja said...

Seems like he has met the best people in town ... thanks for the briefing.

Keep us posted! :)

At 1:42 PM , Anonymous technologyb2b said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 4:27 PM , Anonymous buy generic cialis said...

This is amazing because few people in the world had that opportunity to meet with a man like that because his a genius.


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