Yahoo Beefing Up Social Scientist Staffing In Yahoo Labs

Yahoo has suffered attrition and a brain drain of top talent for the past couple of years. Google and Microsoft, in some cases, have been beneficiaries of those defections. Indeed, we’ve been lamenting the loss of engineers and talent at Yahoo for some time.

Now, however, the SF Chronicle reports on a new hiring effort. The company is reportedly beefing up Yahoo Labs, hiring a range of social scientists and academics and doing new research according to the article:

In the last year, Yahoo Labs has bolstered its ranks of social scientists, adding highly credentialed cognitive psychologists, economists and ethnographers from top universities around the world. At approximately 25 people, it’s still the smallest group within the research division, but one of the fastest growing.

The recruitment effort reflects a growing realization at Yahoo, the second most popular U.S. online site and search engine, that computer science alone can’t answer all the questions of the modern Web business. As the novelty of the Internet gives way, Yahoo and other 21st century media businesses are discovering they must understand what motivates humans to click and stick on certain features, ads and applications – and dismiss others out of hand . . .

Recent hires within Yahoo’s microeconomics and social systems division include Bob Moore, an ethnographer formerly with Xerox Palo Alto Research Center; Dan Goldstein, a psychologist and assistant marketing professor on leave from the London Business School; and David Reiley, previously Arizona public service professor of economics at the University of Arizona.

This is positive news for Yahoo. The company needs to continue to attract and hire top talent to remain competitive over time. This is a good development and I hope it continues.

Postscript: An earlier Bloomberg article also says that the company has been “hiring people for sales and engineering.”

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Yahoo: Business Issues | Yahoo: Employees

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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