Disclaimer: I work for Yahoo! Search. But I speak for myself. All opinions on my blog, twitter... yada-yada... are not necessarily those of my employer. They could be, but they may not be. They might have been but may no longer be. They might have never been, but maybe, baby, someday they might become. So it goes.
1. It's search
Search is hot. You probably know that a certain search engine is making tons of money. Many people want a piece of that. Once you've worked in the search industry, you suddenly become a pretty good catch.
Search is hot as you can see in the news and financial articles. You'll be in the middle of a boiling industry that gets a lot of attention. You'll read in Wall Street Journal about the stuff you just shipped. You'll laugh, you'll cry. You'll see how many of the "expert" analysts are clueless, but people will read them and will comment. Stock will go up and down. It will be amusing, frustrating and then amusing again.
2. It's the performance
Web performance is hot too. OK, maybe warm, but getting hotter by the minute. Reports keep coming in of people improving business because of improving site speed. Speed is also SEO now. And at Y!Search you'll compete with Google. They are always vocal of how they are all about speed. And search is their core and pretty much only business (95%+ of their money afaik). So stakes are high. You'll have to be as fast as Google, if not faster. On top of that you will try to differentiate with a ton more features on the page. More with less. The performance challenge is on.
BTW, it's fun to be the underdog. You can be more agile. Goliath cannot make a wrong turn, too much at stake. And yes, Google has such a big search share that they have nowhere else to go but down 😛 (At least in search, dunno much about business to comment on Google as a company)
3. It's the front-end
The big three search engines give more or less equal quality results in black-box testing. Long gone are the times when one engine was leaps and bounds better than the others. High-quality results are a given. It's the user-experience that counts. In other words, the front-end.
Now with the Yahoo-Microsoft alliance, we'll even compete with the same search results. How about that? Same results (but as you know results are comparable anyway), exact same results, but competing for that precious market share with different user experience. How's that for a challenge for a front-end engineer?
Just a note for those not familiar with YHOO/MSFT - we will depend on Bing for core web results but will have freedom to innovate in user experience and add to the mix the best-of-breed content from the Yahoo! Network (you know, movies, music, tv, omg!, news, finance...) and across the web.
4. It's Yahoo!
Many companies brag about the smart people that work in said companies. Very few are like Yahoo! though. Think about Douglas Crockford, think about all the brain power in the YUI team, the YQL. There are real celebrities who are Yahoos or Yahoo ex-pats. But there are also countless others, incredible people you've never heard of. "Probably some people are not in it for the fame" is what I said during my first Yahoo Music interview and this great guy joked "some will settle for the fortune".
Yahoo! is open. That's what brought me to Yahoo actually. Back at the time when other people's APIs were giving me headache just by looking at their SOAP envelope, Yahoo! offered search results as PHP-serialized string, as JSON string. Easy, open, accessible. Looking at YDN, YUI and Steve/Tenni's performance blog posts I was thinking - that must be a great place to be. Turned out it's true.
About perks - I don't care much about them. If someone talks about perks, I think they just don't have other more interesting things to talk about. Like their work for example. And yes, I moved to US after living in two countries with free health care so I've grown to expect it. But my doctor and dentist are impressed by Yahoo's insurance plans. All I can say is - you'll be taken care of at Yahoo.
5. It's You
It's about you and your personal growth and even personal branding if you will. Times-are-a-changin' it's unthinkable to spend your whole working life in a quiet, safe place. Not in technology I don't think. You'll create, you'll research, you'll discover. And you'll share. If you're the kind of person to blog about your work, to speak at conferences, you'll have your platform at Yahoo. You can blog at YDN, you can blog at yuiblog.com, heck, you can even write a book for O'Reilly/Yahoo! Press. Some did. Want to be the next?
Thanks for reading!
There's a party/mixer this week at the Yahoo! HQ, May 20th, here's the invite. If you're anywhere around the San Francisco bay area, you should go and see for yourself. If you're not, polish that resume, update with the cool stuff you've worked on lately and send it to Yahoo. Or to me, I'll forward it. My email is in the sidebar.
p.s. Oh and if you're more of a back-end guy, well, Y!Search wants you too.