Outgoing Yahoo CEO Terry Semel once described Yahoo founder Jerry Yang as the "heart and soul" of Yahoo. He's right.
Now, with Semel's resignation effective Monday, Yang's time has come to lead Yahoo. The company needs to be led by someone who can hear the voice of its users and bring a clarity of purpose and dedication to them.
Here's my prediction: Jerry Yang will turn around Yahoo and lead it to success in much the same way that Steve Jobs turned around Apple. Yang will rebuild Yahoo around the user rather than the business model. Like Steve Jobs, Yang cares about the products and services of his company. He pays attention to the details and is driven by the user experience.
In recent years, Yahoo lost its way trying to compete head to head with Google. Yahoo lost not only market share but many of its loyal employees. Morale crashed and disenfranchised employees left. For many who worked at Yahoo, it was like being on a train heading toward a train wreck in slow motion. Everybody sees it. Nobody seems able to stop it, and every poor decision from the top seems to seal its fate.
Yang understands the road to recovery and salvation is not to be Google but to be Yahoo. In order for him to succeed, he needs to be bold. He needs to articulate what Yahoo stands for and then bring all of Yahoo's resources to bear on its challenges. He must kill off projects and programs that are off strategy or are marginal, and regroup his employees and redirect their efforts to make his original vision of the world's best portal a reality.
Gilman Louie is a founding partner of Alsop Louie Partners, a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley.