Tim Sanders, who used to fix disasters at Yahoo, came to Charlotte on Thursday to talk about fundraising and Facebook.
Sanders, the former chief solutions officer for Yahoo, spoke to YMCA leaders who had come from across the world to get advice on raising money — and how to use social networking to do it. Sanders encouraged the YMCA leaders to set an example of giving, to look out for the emotional needs of their members and - naturally - to post it all on Facebook.
He didn't spare his old employer: "Google is a verb for searching the Internet. Yahoo is a verb for walking away from money," he quipped.
He also gave advice to the parents in the room. "The best gift you'll ever give your kid is their name dot-commed," said Sanders, who owns www.timsanders.com.
Thursday's meeting, which drew 1,000 participants from 25 countries, was hosted by the North American YMCA Development Organization. Sanders, who is based in Los Angeles, has consulted on social media, corporate responsibility and related topics since he left Yahoo in 2005.
Before his speech, he talked with the Observer about missteps at Yahoo, mistakes by Twitter, and whether you can actually make money on the Internet. Questions and answers have been edited for clarity and length.
Q. Your old employer, Yahoo, is dealing with layoffs and shrinking profits. So are they not following your advice?
About the time I left Yahoo, it became clear that we missed the boat. We should have been a search engine, not some portal, and so we made some strategic errors that were cataclysmic back in 1999, 2000. We allowed a vendor called Google, which we gave $80 million a year to serve search results, to pass us.
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