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过人性化的特点 就是雅虎的致命弱点

时间:2023-04-22 00:14 点击次数:
 本文摘要:As Marissa Mayer an-nounced the $4.8bn acquisition of Yahoo’s operating business by Verizon, the US telecoms company, she gave a eulogy to the company she has headed for four years. Yahoo “humanised and popularised the web, email [and] sea


As Marissa Mayer an-nounced the $4.8bn acquisition of Yahoo’s operating business by Verizon, the US telecoms company, she gave a eulogy to the company she has headed for four years. Yahoo “humanised and popularised the web, email [and] search”, she said.在宣告Verizon以48亿美元并购雅虎(Yahoo)运营业务的消息时,玛丽萨迈耶(Marissa Mayer)为她领导了4年的这家企业大演唱了一番颂歌。她说道,雅虎“令其万维网、电子邮件和搜寻显得人性化并流行起来”。

It was a backhanded compliment, given that less “universally well-liked companies” have overtaken the enterprise with the exclamation mark in two decades, including Alphabet, Facebook and Amazon. Ms Mayer identified the problem: Yahoo started as a link directory compiled by its founders and remained all too human.考虑到20年来众多不那么“甚广热门的公司”打破了这家带着惊叹号的企业——还包括Alphabet、Facebook和亚马逊(Amazon)——迈耶的颂歌听得上去看起来带上嘲讽意味的恭维话。她解读了问题:雅虎正式成立之初是由其创始人编撰的网站链接目录,它仍然具有过于过人性化的特点。

Yahoo’s valuation grew to $128bn in spring 2000 because of investors’ faith that human curation could beat search engines — people browsing on slow dial-up lines needed a human interface. But technology triumphed over humanity. The internet was more powerful than they imagined and all that was left for Yahoo was likeability.2000年春季,雅虎的估值曾减至1280亿美元,原因是投资者深信人力信息检验不会击败搜索引擎——那些通过较慢的电话号码线路网际网路网页的人们必须一个人性的界面。然而技术比不上了人力。互联网比他们想象得更加强劲。如今,雅虎只剩的只有魅力了。

One example of how far things have come since Yahoo was founded in 1995 is Elon Musk’s “Master Plan, Part Deux” for Tesla, published last week. The electric car company’s founder envisages vehicles that will not only drive themselves but will also form part of an automated fleet in their down time. “Enable your car to make money for you when you aren’t using it,” he concludes.要解释自雅虎1995年正式成立以来情况已再次发生多大变化,有一个例子就是埃隆马斯克(Elon Musk)最近公开发表的特斯拉(Tesla)《总规划,第二部分》(Master Plan, Part Deux)。这位电动汽车公司创始人设想的车辆不仅不会自动驾驶,还不会在“空闲”时沦为自动化车队的一部分。

马斯克得出结论的结论是:“让你的汽车在你不必它的时候为你赚。”Mr Musk’s vision, two decades after Yahoo’s directory seemed a better bet than Google, is still improbable but it is no longer inconceivable. The internet has turned out to be not merely a bunch of computers strung together across a network but much, much more. It has been constantly upgraded by mobile broadband, global positioning technology, smartphones, cloud computing and artificial intelligence.在雅虎的目录奇特比谷歌(Google)更加有一点投资的20年后,马斯克的愿景仍不太可能构建,但仍然不可想象了。事实证明,互联网某种程度是通过网络连接到一起的大量计算机,它的范畴要小得多。移动宽带、全球定位技术、智能手机、云计算和人工智能都在大大升级互联网。

The group of innovations bundled together and labelled as “the internet” proved to be a general purpose technology similar to the steam engine and electrification. It has had a deep, disruptive effect on many industries and is likely to keep doing so for some time to come.被张贴上“互联网”标签并包在一起的一系列创意,已被证明是一种类似于蒸汽机和电气化技术的标准化技术。它对许多产业都有深刻印象的、颠覆性的影响,并有可能在今后一段时期内维持这种状态。

Yahoo’s problem was that it was on the wrong side of the human-technology divide from inception and never found a way back. The closest it came was in the mid-2000s, when Terry Semel, one of its parade of chief executives, acquired Inktomi, AltaVista and Overture in a failed attempt to compete with Google’s algorithms.雅虎的问题在于,在人力与技术的隔阂中,它从一开始就车站在了错误的一旁,而且未曾寻找回头路。最相似的一次是在本世纪头10年的中期。当时,走马灯般离任的雅虎首席执行官之一特里塞梅尔(Terry Semel)并购了Inktomi、AltaVista和Overture,企图与谷歌的算法竞争,却没顺利。

Ms Mayer’s appointment was another attempt to cross the chasm, since she came from Google. In practice, the best she could do was to trim some of Yahoo’s inefficiencies and adapt its ragbag of products, from Yahoo Mail to mobile to entertainment and news.对迈耶的任命则是又一次横跨这一鸿沟的企图,因为她来自谷歌。现实而言,她可以采行的最佳措施是砍雅虎部分低效率业务,并调整其从雅虎邮箱(Yahoo Mail)和移动服务到娱乐和新闻的大杂烩般的各种产品。The voracious maw of technology is apparent in this deal. Verizon has now acquired Yahoo and AOL, two of the internet’s original big names. They are joining a utility that increasingly sells broadband data connections. Yahoo was the internet equivalent of a phone book and is becoming part of a phone company refitted for the internet.在这笔近期交易中,科技的极大胃口展现出得十分显著。Verizon如今已并购了雅虎和美国在线(AOL),后两者都是互联网初期的知名品牌。

它们重新加入的这家公用事业公司在宽带数据相连领域的销售额日益增高。雅虎原本看起来电话簿的互联网版本,如今它于是以沦为已向互联网转型的一家电话公司的一部分。The story of technology dominating humanity and taking most of the reward is common across the internet. Facebook’s content is largely provided by users yet the value accrues to the company and its network — it has a market capitalisation of about $348bn, which equates to the price of 72 Yahoos. Amazon cuts prices by squeezing suppliers, including publishers, and is worth the same as Facebook.在互联网上,技术主导人力并取得绝大部分报酬的故事十分少见。

Facebook的内容基本上由用户获取,然而这些内容的价值归入该公司及其网络——该公司市值大约为3480亿美元,相等于72个雅虎。而亚马逊则通过断裂供应商(还包括出版商)太低价格,它的市值与Facebook相若。But technology has an Achilles heel. Although each new wave creates and captures huge profits in the early stages, when it is new and wondrous (consider the 19th century railway booms), it eventually becomes routine. Telephones were once incredible machines but today voice calls on fixed lines are at best a commodity in a world where mobile video streaming is free.不过,科技也不存在可怕的弱点。



Nicholas Carr, the technology writer, says the shift from personal computers to cloud computing is akin to the late 19th century switch from electricity being generated locally to being delivered across power grids. The data centres built by Verizon, Facebook, Amazon and others are far more powerful than what preceded them. They also turn on-demand computing and access to data into a utility.科技作家尼古拉斯卡尔(Nicholas Carr)回应,从个人电脑向云计算的转型,类似于19世纪晚期从本地发电向电网电缆的转型。Verizon、Facebook、亚马逊及其他企业打造出的数据中心,比之前的数据中心强劲得多。

它们也把按须要计算出来和按须要数据采访变为了一项公用事业。There is a hint of this in the Verizon-Yahoo deal. Although a combined Yahoo and AOL, which includes 25 brands such as the Huffington Post and TechCrunch, is likely to contribute only about 5 per cent of the merged entity’s revenues, it could provide growth. Verizon’s core telecoms business is large and generates a lot of cash but its revenues have fallen this year.在Verizon并购雅虎的交易中,也表明了这一转型的迹象。雅虎再加美国在线——旗下享有《赫芬顿邮报》(Huffington Post)和TechCrunch等25个品牌——所贡献的营收有可能只占到拆分后实体的5%,但它们未来将会带给快速增长。

Verizon的核心电信业务规模可观,产生大量现金,然而今年其营收有所下降。Other internet and communications companies have also bolstered their revenues with media content fashioned by humans. Comcast, the US cable company that competes with Verizon, took full ownership of the film, TV and music group NBCUniversal in 2013. 其他互联网和通信公司也通过人力制作的媒体内容提高了营收。2013年,Verizon的竞争对手、美国有线电视公司康卡斯特(Comcast)全资并购了电影、电视和音乐集团NBC环球(NBC Universal)。而Netflix仍然在投放巨资制作原创剧集和纪录片。



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