Life at Yahoo

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Master Inventors at Yahoo!

Posted: 7th of June, 2013

At Yahoo!, Master Inventor Awards are given to recognize and reward some of the company’s top innovators. The criteria are not just about the number of patents, but also the inventor's contribution to innovation and their capacity and experience in mentorship. We had a chance to interview some of them on their great work and suggestions to junior inventors.


Why is Yahoo a good place for developers and inventors?
Peter Mika: Yahoo! is a great place for inventors of all kinds. Yahoo! Labs in particular is unique in the industry in that it's renown both for scientific excellence externally and for having a huge impact on Yahoo!'s businesses.

Tarun Bhatia: It’s a great place for developers and engineers. There’s much room for creative solutions. We have many interesting problems with the potential of meaningful impact, large amounts of data, adequate resources, and a unique and fun culture. I love how many disciplines we embrace to solve our business challenges – economics, social sciences, artificial intelligence, distributed computing, etc. Each day is like being back in school, only better.

What are you working on now?
Tarun Bhatia: Right now, I’m trying to see if we can real-time assess how we affect a user with each interaction in a session. This has significant marketplace implications. Imagine how effectively we could delight our users and advertisers if every serve-time decision is consciously informed by this assessment.

What advice do you have for more junior inventors?
Ron Jacoby: Find something you are passionate about.  Work to really understand the current state of technology and business of that market. Find the opportunities that exist. Develop your ideas and plan. And never take No as a final answer; use it as feedback to further develop your ideas and pitch.

Tarun Bhatia: Best advice I received was - write it down. Apart from that, encourage yourself to cover a problem outside your area of focus with a fresh perspective. Think of where else your solutions may apply. Do this often.

Ricardo Baeza -Yates:
Do not plan your life. Just do your best and unthinkable opportunities will cross your life path.

Yoelle Maarek
: Think simple, think user. Don't think like an engineer or scientist – think about your mom, your kids, would they understand the value of your invention, would they want to use it.