News broke out on Monday that Verizon, one of the giants of the U.S. telecom industry, is acquiring Yahoo for a small fraction of what it was worth during the dot-com boom glory days. Reports said the agreement was worth five billion dollars in cash — which is a lot but still nowhere near Yahoo’s $125-billion valuation in 2000, when it had enough in the coffers to buy Google.
And although the deal has yet to be fully ironed out — it will be completed sometime in 2017 — the death knell has sounded, the fate of an internet pioneer has been decided, and it looks like its next chapter will involve mobile video.
Yahoo, as you and I know it, is no more, even if it retains its name.
(Time for a disclosure: I wrote tech stories for Yahoo Philippines. My partner worked as an editor for the company.)
This isn’t a eulogy for Yahoo; it has historically done well on the stock market. People far smarter than I am said its stock outperformed its contemporaries from a bygone era. Unfortunately, its accomplishments on Wall Street didn’t mean as much to the people in Silicon Valley and to the rest of the world.
We should’t shed a tear for the company, or its investors. We could instead take a nice, casual walk on memory lane.
My early exposure to the web started with Yahoo services: the Yahoo landing page was my Facebook News Feed; the email and chat clients were my Gmail and Messenger and Slack apps; Yahoo Music on the desktop messenger app was my Spotify; Yahoo Groups was my Reddit; and all my searches were done on the Yahoo homepage.
If I wanted to get things done online in the late ’90s, Yahoo was my first click. For the vast majority of the population, including myself, Yahoo wasn’t on the internet, it was the internet.
And I wasn’t alone; my brother, all my friends — we were on the same page. These were innocent times, before hackers and malware coders and trolls and cyberbullies and mean-spirited armchair critics.
I’d be lying to you if I said at that time I thought the status quo would never change, but it did irrevocably. My social circle stopped using Yahoo for anything except to tell the people around them to use Google or Friendster or Napster instead. Being the impressionable youth I was, I gave in and signed out.
Your story is probably different than mine. But the ending is nevertheless familiar: We signed out.
Over the next few months, pundits will argue why Yahoo’s empire crumbled; why Marissa Mayer, the ex-Google executive tasked to lead the company’s comeback efforts, couldn’t keep the roofs and pillars from collapsing; and what could have been done to stop the cracks from showing.
I share the sentiment that it didn’t pivot fast enough to take full advantage of the digital ad market, and that Yahoo couldn’t decide what it wanted to be, even as Google was attempting to usurp its dominance in search. Most damning of all is its failure to act on shifting consumer preferences, the shift from desktop to mobile computing and from websites to apps.
I still have two active Yahoo Mail accounts: There’s one I check less frequently than my Google inbox; the other, I couldn’t care less about — it’s probably full of spam, anyway. That’s about the extent of Yahoo’s influence on my life today, its role reduced to housing possibly malicious emails.
How times have changed.
[irp posts=”8688" name=”16 biggest hits and misses of 2016"]
8 career lessons I learned while playing Mobile Legends
The ingredients to winning in-game and in life
This is the first of a three-part series. Watch out for the next two articles.
When people say games have nothing to contribute in your life, I honestly believe they’re wrong. Playing Mobile Legends isn’t something I do mindlessly. I think, strategize, and find a way to win. Throughout the whole match, I’m invested in my game. I focus up, even though to some, it’s just a “game.”
In between defeats and victories, I realized a lot of lessons along the way. Here’s what I learned that’s also applicable in your work and career:
People are the key to success
To rise through the ranks — just like in life — we need to deal with people no matter how much we hate it. If you know how to lead, follow, and go with the flow, you’ll succeed. Mobile Legends taught me that it can’t always be just you. To succeed in this world (and in team fights), we need to work and band together. One man’s failure is our failure, and one man’s success is everyone’s success. We just need to fight and bring each other up to victory.
You don’t always get to retaliate
During my defeats, I learned that life doesn’t give us a fair chance to fight back. Some circumstances in life tell us to just stop and accept defeat and take the lesson learned into improving the next fight. However…
You can still flip things around
If opportunities arise, you can retaliate and strike back. As long as you keep fighting and keep your people together, you can turn the tables and win. Life may throw us lemons, but we can always make lemonade out of it and drink it while we’re on our way to victory.
There are a lot of selfish people in the world
People will leave the match unexpectedly, do things on their own and refuse to cooperate or steal your buffs and kills. You will encounter a lot of greedy and selfish people not just in games, but also in life. It’s frustrating and annoying, but we always have a choice to outsmart them, to try to include them, talk them out of it, or just be kind, try to understand, and accept that some people are just selfish at their very core.
Not all battles are worth fighting for
When you’re running on data, every minute and every fight should be worth it. Just like in life, our time, energy, and resources are limited. A former mentor always tells me to pick my battles, and I find it accurate especially as I am getting older and taking on more responsibilities.
We can’t always win our fights, and when we see we’re on the losing end, we can always retreat. There is no shame in admitting that you lost. Humility goes a long way.
Don’t be arrogant and belittle people
Some people are just starting, and they won’t hit as hard as you do. However, life happens and people gain a lot of experience where they grow stronger and smarter. You’ll never know who will be a worthy competition or an important ally in the end game (or later in life). Choose to be kind, it doesn’t even cost a cent to do so.
We all have our own pace and potential
Some people shine early. They get promoted, recognized, and get awards early in their careers. Heroes like Cyclops, Selena, and Angela are always strong during the first part. Other people (and heroes like Gusion, Claude, and Roger) shine in the middle as they rise through the ranks and the tables start turning around.
However, some shine in the late game. People (and heroes like Hanabi, Irithel, and Lesley) hits harder when they are at their peak condition. I guess what I’m saying is take your time because you’ll shine when the time is right. All you have to do is grind and work on yourself for now.
Communication is key
You can’t expect people to read what’s on your mind (especially when you’re playing a MOBA game). Like I said earlier, teamwork (read: people) is the key to success. If there’s a problem, tell people what’s wrong and how they can be better. Take the initiative to call for backup or ask everyone to retreat when they’re in danger. Lead them when opportunities arise for your team to advance and take down your opponents. The main ingredient in winning in life (and in everything else) is communication.
Even Microsoft listens to your Skype and Cortana recordings
Absolute privacy is a myth
A couple of weeks back Apple admitted it listens to accidental triggers of Siri to analyze and improve user experience. They also added that none of the recordings are associated with the user’s identity. However, contractors tasked to listen to these recordings admit coming across clips that revealed personal data.
Now, even Microsoft admits it uses human contractors to review its users’ audio. The list of “listening” companies also includes Amazon, Facebook, and Google. If you want absolute privacy, going off-the-grid may be your only option.
Microsoft uses third-party contractors to listen to your voice conversations on Skype and virtual assistant Cortana. The updated privacy statement says a human review is used to help build, train and improve the accuracy of its artificial intelligence systems.
While other companies like Facebook, Google, and Apple have suspended these collections, Microsoft says it will “continue to examine further steps we might be able to take.” In simpler terms, “Screw you, we’ll continue doing it.”
The company also says the recordings may actually be subject to “transcription of audio recordings by Microsoft employees and vendors.”
Users are increasingly worried about online privacy since the Cambridge Analytica scandal was revealed. Technology companies have a huge chunk of our daily lives and many aren’t comfortable with it. Especially when privacy policies are complex and security loopholes are widely abused.
Facebook will have dark mode for mobile
Things are looking bright for our eyes
Facebook is working on Dark Mode for mobile
I wrote a blog about this: https://t.co/X5tAZuIlPz
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) August 12, 2019
Wong came across the unreleased dark mode for Android by looking in the code underneath, indicating that the tech giant has recently started implementing the feature. However, it seems that Facebook’s dark mode is still in its early stage of development.
By “early stage of development”, this is what I mean
Only the Groups tab is looking good for the demo at the moment 😅 pic.twitter.com/L1SHaWlSk1
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) August 13, 2019
While some users declared having it already on Facebook Watch, Wong emphasized that the dark mode is underway across the whole Facebook app.
There are no words yet from Facebook regarding dark mode nor its timeline for implementation. However, things are looking bright for our eyes that are hurt by bright lights should the tech giant implements the much-awaited feature. It’s only a matter of time before we embrace the dark.
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