Life at Yahoo

This is what it's like to work at Yahoo.
8 posts for Diversity & Inclusion
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Yahoo! Independence 2011

Posted: 7th of June, 2013
Imagine an event centered around people with disabilities that has absolutely nothing to do with charity! Imagine that same event being completely fun, engaging, enlightening (And did we mention fun?). Such was Independence 2011 (, an event created specifically for the Yahoo community (including family members and friends). Independence 2011 had one primary goal: to open your eyes to the reality of disability...which is likely different from the stereotypes many of us carry around.

For more disability related content: Visit the Yahoo Accessibility Blog: Yahoo Accessibility on Facebook: Yahoo Accessibility on Twitter:
yahoo safely homepage

In My Own Words: Why Yahoo! is Making a Big Difference to Kids’ Online Safety

Posted: 30th of November, 2011

As the regional director of public policy in APAC, I have many conversations with regulators on best practices in the Internet space. During these conversations, I am always proud to profile the leadership that Yahoo plays in the area of Internet safety and the websites we have launched around the world.  As a team, there are many of us working hard on this and the results in APAC are world-class.
One of the most important projects that has happened this year was the launch of Yahoo Safely in Vietnam, to promote online safety among children and young people in Vietnam. The launch roped in Vietnamese celebrity Ha Anh (also Unicef’s local Ambassador) and up-and-coming local boy-band “365” as Yahoo Ambassadors to help spread the word. Leveraging the Yahoo! Safely website and plans to extend to offline activities such as a “train-the-trainer” programme, road shows and school visits, the initiative is the first of its kind in Vietnam.
Yahoo! is the first Internet company to establish a presence in Vietnam when it entered the market in 2007 and enjoys a very positive brand image. The launch of Safely in Vietnam, to me, was testament to Yahoo!’s commitment and responsibility to the market. Vietnam is a burgeoning new-to-net market brimming with huge potential and business opportunities – and everyone wants a slice.  31% of the population is currently online, and Vietnam has experienced the fastest growth in Internet in the region in the last 10 years. Yet, online safety is largely overlooked.
While online safety is important all across the world, it is critical in emerging markets in Asia as the majority of new users are youth aged 15 and above, where the Internet is an uncharted landscape, not just to them, but to their parents and educators.
Yahoo! has robust online safety programs in every major market. Above Yahoo Safely which has been launched is in most markets, there are also online safety initiatives in the region outside the umbrella that push strong similarly strong agendas.
In India, the online safety programme led by colleagues from Yahoo India comes under Learn with Yahoo!, an initiative to educate users about the Internet, and like Vietnam, targets new-to-net users. In Taiwan, a mature market where Yahoo enjoys a 98% reach, the Internet Security Program for Children aims to educate users as early as elementary school.
Reaching out in India
India’s online safety program kicked into high gear when its school program, upon travelling to 27 schools in Delhi last year, found that while 98% of this school’s growing audience knew about the Internet and considered it a destination for learning, fun and entertainment, net safety was not a feature on the kids’ radar. Awareness about Internet safety was virtually non-existent.
This insight shaped a new focus for the team, who took the safety message outside of the original program framework. Harnessing the reach and popularity of animated cartoon characters, Yahoo India aired vignettes on Internet safety on kids’ channels such as Cartoon Network and Pogo, with the characters sharing tips, along with an interactive quiz on TV through SMS, to effectively get the message across to kids and parents.
Now, Yahoo India reaches 82% of the Internet audience in India and is a market where users are growing exponentially. Today, above leveraging kids channels and school programs, Internet safety tips are shared across 2,500 Internet cafés in 50+ Indian cities, helping a brand new audience make smarter, safer choices online.
Keeping Kids Safe Online in Taiwan
In Taiwan, Yahoo!Kimo’s partnership with the government and academy brought to bear its Internet Safety Program for Children in 2009. It is estimated that 1.6 million Taiwanese children under 12 use the Internet. The project addressed kids aged 12-14 and touched on three main areas: managing time spent online, befriending strangers on the Internet and giving out too much personal information.
The campaign started in Taipei with camps, blogs, online material and an ambassador programme, and extended islandwide the following year. Materials were developed for classroom use, and Yahoo!Kimo travelled to 2,650 elementary schools across the country to spread the message. This year, teen idols were invited to speak on the program together with the launch of fun videos and competition. And the kids noticed – making over 100,000 downloads of the material. Yahoo Kimo’s efforts have seen them win the Taiwan PR Awards- Corporate Social Responsibility Campaign of the Year, and  the Outstanding Award – Education, in the annual CSR awards presented by Global Views, a leading current affairs publication in Taiwan.
And the online safety push isn’t over in Vietnam. In July, the PC for Life campaign, in partnership with Dell and Intel, saw 2,000 youth journeying across the country on foot to spread the word on internet safety, and educating villagers along the way on how to use the Internet. The Yahoo Safely partnership with Unicef also saw an MOU signed, partnering on various children issues.
To say the least, I’m very proud to be working for a company which understands the need to better the community it serves.
Kuek Yu-Chuang, Yahoo! APAC’s regional director of public policy

Yahoo! Safely around the world - click the link for your region to learn more:
Argentina : Asia : Australia : Brasil : Canada : Chile : Colombia : DeutschlandEspaña : France : 香港 : India : Indonesia : Italia : Malaysia : Méxicoالشرق الأوسط وإفريقيا : New ZealandPerú : Philippines : Québec : Singapore한국台灣ประเทศไทย : United Kingdom : United Statesen Español : VenezuelaViệt Nam
Pragjyoti Nair

Pragjyoti: The World of Platforms

Posted: 12th of October, 2011
Director, Program management & Business Operations, Cloud Platforms Group 

 I run the program management and business operations for the Cloud Platform Group (CPG) at Bangalore. At CPG, we deliver the powerful infrastructure and platforms that help developers innovate and add new features rapidly and efficiently.
Leading a team of program managers, I track strategic initiatives in this Group by monitoring progress towards meeting goals and achieving benchmarks, analyzing data, ensuring follow-through on the part of key players, and sustaining momentum needed to drive these initiatives. We take accountability for planning, structuring, leading and executing the largest projects or programmes, which are often of great complexity and high risk.

Sounds complex, well that’s what the world of Platforms is all about. But actually, that’s not all – we do have our “fun” moments too.

I remember an instance, when the team pulled a fast one on our boss (who had been newly promoted) to come to a nearby restaurant - on the pretext of conducting an interview. An unsuspecting boss was shocked to see a table full of his team members waiting eagerly for him to sponsor a lunch treat! Since then he has been very cautious about our interview invites especially when it is at some fancy restaurant!

I have been with Yahoo for about 3 and half years and it has been one great ride! One of the most compelling reasons to work at Yahoo is the culture of the organization - we live life with an exclamation mark!  In the unpredictable internet world, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the demanding and dynamic nature of the work. What I love about Yahoo is that here everyone gets the opportunity to make a difference.  You are a part of a diverse and inclusive work culture, and surrounded by some of the most brilliant, innovative and creative minds in the business. We exemplify work-hard-and-play-hard.  It is exciting, energetic, passionate and fun! Truly, a great place to be.
Nidhi Gupta

Nidhi : My Work-life Balance at Yahoo!

Posted: 7th of June, 2013

Product Manager, Cloud Platforms Group  

I manage some exciting products at the Cloud Platforms Group (CPG), based at Bangalore.

My work revolves around the knowledge and personalistion space – I need to make sure that the products I manage create impact as a platform and power differentiated end-user experiences.

The cloud platform group is charted to create a global, scalable platform built on science that enables rapid innovation and delivery of personalized, monetizable experiences across devices. Some of the technologies that I work on are around detecting trends algorithmically and showing relevant trends based on user interest, geography, demography etc. I also work on personalization technologies that are helping in showing the right content to the right user at the right time. I find it exciting that so much of my work finally impacts user engagement and delight!

Yahoo! is one of the rare organizations that support women in different phases of their lives. I was hired and came on-board while I was expecting my baby. And I was very pleasantly surprised that my professional capabilities were weighed over my personal situation and I received complete support during the whole course of my pregnancy. I could actually continue to work without having to take a break in my career, and it feels just awesome to have been with an organization which truly believes in diversity and supports folks through different stages of their lives.

Today, my son who is a year and half plays around in the day care facility in the office, and all I need to do is catch a glimpse of him is pop down a couple of floors.

I have always believed that Life is about the choices one makes, and I am glad I chose Yahoo!.

YMCA Women’s Career Day – Special Guest Writer Lexy Folkes

Posted: 14th of September, 2011
Originally posted on the WIT blog. By Kelli Lane.

An elite group of young ladies from the YMCA came to visit Y! WIT here in Burbank. Many of the girls were Seniors in High School who are working out their futures with careful planning. The Y! WIT team, led by Yolanda Person-Collins, spent time with the ladies in a true mentor fashion; conveying the reality of the hardships of life alongside the excitement for their future. Many women from Yahoo spoke, some with hard-knock lives and others successful with no degree to speak of, showing the girls that each person has their own path. The WIT team reinforced the unique path idea by assisting them with personality tests. The Meyer’s Briggs test showed them in which areas they may be best suited for a career. All in all, the girls responded well to the ideas. Three Seniors in High School cited Christine Del Muro as an inspiration to follow their dreams. Many girls that age admit to feeling lost. We hope the little time we had with them could promote confidence to reach out to older women and seek wisdom and advice.

The Girls

Rather than read from us how it went from our end, we asked Lexy Folkes, an aspiring writer from the program to tell us about her experience.

"It was the day after I graduated high school and my YMCA Adviser asked me to go to Yahoo Women’s Career Day. Get up at 7 and drive a car full of girls? No thanks. I was finally bribed and persuaded but it was well past worth it when I stepped through the doors of the Yahoo building and was dazzled by all the high tech lights. Five minutes later and I’m being greeted by a room full of inspirational women. I catch wind that there is free coffee and I almost cried. I return to the room, free latte in hand, and hear testimonials from women who play key roles in the functioning of the Yahoo business. The tour had a full showing of the Yahoo campus, which is surely modeled like a giant child’s playground. The entire show was met with another deliciously free meal and more words from the Yahoo representatives. Questions ensued with valuable pieces of advice dealt left and right. It wasn’t until the whole shebang was through that I came to fully appreciate the entire experience. I gravitated towards the woman who was the representative for the field I wish to pursue: writing, journalism and the arts. Her advice was invaluable and I took her challenges seriously. I’ve been presented with an opportunity to use my skills and exhibit my talents for Yahoo and it is through the willing, collaborative parts of the Yahoo women that presented this chance. The bribing and free coffee was a plus but the knowledge and guidance was far more appreciable."

Girls and WIT

Lexy, it was our pleasure. We look forward to updates about your life in the future. And to all the girls in the program who attended, WIT hopes to hear more about you in the future. We were the ones who were "dazzled" by your brilliant futures!

Accessibility in India!

Posted: 7th of June, 2013
There are 60 million people with disabilities in the U.S. There are more than 10 times that number around the globe. Yahoo!’s Accessibility team wants to make sure that every one of these individuals is able to use Yahoo as their web site of choice. That will only be possible, of course, if every corner of our network is fully accessible.

While we still have work to do toward that end, we did reach a significant milestone when Yahoo India launched an Accessibility Lab in Bangalore. It is modeled after our Sunnyvale lab, which has demonstrated a variety of assistive technologies to hundreds of Yahoos since it launched in 2008.

Our Accessibility Labs are important tools for engineers who can’t imagine life with a disability. The reality is that not everyone can use a mouse, type on a keyboard, or see the computer screen. We simulate that experience so our developers can learn how to think about users with disabilities during their product development process. We have screen readers to help them understand the experience of a blind user, single switches and onscreen keyboards for physically disabled users, communication devices for kids with speech impairments, etc. More and more Yahoo products are being designed and developed in our Bangalore office, so it became clear that we needed to enhance our ability to train engineers and designers there.

Also, as a global company, we are keenly aware that commercial screen readers are generally out of reach for most blind people living in developing countries. So we’ve sponsored the non-profit NV Access Foundation, which is working on a free, open-source screen reader. Our support will help them improve web features for NVDA for Windows, making it easier for visually-impaired users around the world to browse the Web – especially when they encounter Web 2.0 technologies. And by making NVDA’s screen reader a better product, we’re also helping all the web developers who use it as their testing tool.

Everybody wins.

Victor Tsaran
Sr. Accessibility Program Manager

Code Like a Girl: Girl Geek Dinner in Banglore

Posted: 7th of June, 2013

“Girl Geek Dinner” in Bangalore

by Vartika Agarwal

What was the best part about this Girl Geek Dinner? One girl geek wrote in the feedback form, “There were no men.” Laughs aside, Yahoo!’s first Girl Geek Dinner in India generated a huge buzz for all the right reasons. From new entrants to industry veterans, girl geeks of every hue and standing came to this event, making it an unparalleled opportunity to network.

Over 275 women technologists from organizations like Cisco, NetApp, Google, Microsoft and IBM braved the rush-hour traffic to connect over dinner at The Leela Palace in Bangalore on June 9. Though the number of women in the tech industry in India has continued to climb since the dramatic growth of the IT industry in the mid ’90s, and is now around 25 per cent, networking events for women are not that common. For some attendees, Girl Geek Dinner was nothing short of inspirational. “It led me to realize that women can do more,” said one girl geek, referring to the real-life stories of women technologists achieving against all odds, shared that evening.

A networking version of Bingo served as an icebreaker and spurred interaction. But besides forging connections for the long term, there was one more reason to play. The grand prize for the competition was an iPad! (There was a collective gasp when a girl geek from Cisco walked away with it.)

Just before dinner, a discussion on a hot topic offered food for thought. Three accomplished women panelists, (including one Director from Yahoo!, a tech entrepreneur in India and a former VP of Engineering from Novell), debated the question, Are women considered geeky enough to climb the corporate ladder? The audience, a microcosm of the workforce, was the guest panelist in this discussion, revealing the diverse challenges they navigate everyday, during the Q&A that followed. Some came from conservative homes (“What do you do if your family does not support your decision to work?”) others were contemplating starting a family, or were rejoining the workforce (“Do you bribe your children with presents when you travel or work late?”)

While the consensus was that women technologists did not lack the capability, drive or passion to succeed, there were other factors, many of them personal, which slowed career growth. In India, while women are well represented in entry-level roles in the tech industry, they drop out of the workforce as they progress up the ladder. Global trade body NASSCOM puts the percentage of women in leadership roles in the Indian tech industry at around 6 per cent.

Aparna Ballakur, VP – HR for Yahoo in India, made a telling statement in her welcome note, “I’m the executive sponsor for WIT in India not because I am the HR head, but because I’m the only woman in the leadership team at Yahoo in India. I would have preferred a woman technologist to be here in my place today,” she said. Aparna shared how WIT Bangalore plays an important role in inspiring and supporting technical women across the talent pipeline, both within and outside Yahoo in India. At Yahoo Bangalore, the charter includes building an inclusive workforce, mentoring women and supporting them as they rejoin the mainstream after a break. Outside Yahoo!, it’s been about giving back to women in the tech community. As part of its outreach program in India, WIT helps women on campuses successfully enter the IT workforce. It also connects and empowers women in tech through networking events.

The networking at this Girl Geek Dinner continued over dinner - a fabulous Indian and continental spread. The event ended like it began, high on energy. One guest had just three words to describe it, “Insightful, informative, helpful.” That said it all.

Yahoo! Big Thinkers India Series

Posted: 7th of June, 2013

The Yahoo! Big Thinkers India Series is a well-established quarterly lecture series on topics ranging from science, technology and the Internet.

Conceived in 2007, this lecture series is a unique knowledge sharing platform created by Yahoo for academia, scientists, technologists, media and the corporate world. The speakers are globally acclaimed subject matter experts from the Yahoo Research team. They bring with them the expertise and global perspective of the constantly changing world of technology, online products and communities and the Internet space in general.

The speakers focus on data driven analysis, high quality research, algorithms and economic models. We welcome you to leverage this opportunity to interact with some of the biggest brains in today’s world.