I have spent the last day strategising on our direction with others from our Yellow Pages team. In a break-out session, our group was tasked with doing a SWOT analysis on our people. The results actually say a lot about where Yellow is right now.
Many of our strengths reappear as our weaknesses. Our history of success is both a boon and baggage that we bring with us. We recognised that we have a great number of motivated, skilled people with a fantastic industry experience. We have people who understand both the directories business and the search business. These strengths are dangerous because of the rapidly changing nature of search: what worked a few years or months back does not work any more. For some, this may manifest itself as inflexibility or resistance to change (after all, if what you’re doing always worked so well, why change now?). Also, while everyone recognises the web as the only way to fly, we still get very significant revenues from Print. It is not surprising the focus of many outside sales and marketing has been on the Print business for some time.
The flip side of all this is that are tremendous opportunities for growth. Talent in search has a good deal to learn from talent in directories. Talent in directories has a good deal to learn from talent in search. Search is a sexy industry. Making the subtle shift from thinking of ourselves as Yellow to being Search can bring terrific rewards: in recruiting the right talent, in continuing to evolve the right culture. Similar, us new guys in Online have a lot to learn from Directories. By leveraging both our industry experience in directories and search, we can nurture both the fast execution of a pure-play start-up, along side the strong relationships and market-driven understanding of Yellow.
Offtopic: I’ve done most of my blogging so far on my Mac Book Pro with Ecto. This is my first time on my PC and web interface. The key thing I note is that a) everything seems to go slower and b) everything is harder than it looks. Uploading the pictures Bluetooth takes a little longer. Trying to format the pictures takes a lot longer, and in the end, in a snap editorial decision (I have to go to bed), the one picture that survived my rigorous editing process (all the others were blurred) was deleted too. Ho hum.