Jerry Yang & David Filo: The Minds Behind Yahoo!

Many people don’t know who Jerry Yang and David Filo are and when someone mentions that they are the founders of ‘Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web’ and there is still some confusion. It helps when it is mentioned that the name ‘David and Jerry’s WWW guide’ was eventually changed to Yahoo! – recognition is immediate. David and Jerry are the two Stanford graduates who brought the search engine to our doorsteps.

The Yahoo! search engine started out as a hobby for Filo and Yang as a way for them to keep a record of their favourite websites and personal interests. Yahoo! was born when their lists became too full and had to be broken down into categories and then sub categories, which eventually fell into a hierarchical format.  It all became too much too fast and eventually Filo and Yang were spending more time on their lists and categories than they were on their Stanford studies. David and Jerry eventually decided to start their search engine, but had to name it first.


What many don’t know is that Yahoo! is actually an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.” Because the Yahoo! data base was originally arranged in a hierarchical format, whereas the oracle reference in the acronym is a reference to ‘truth and wisdom.’

Jerry and David’s company was founded in 1994 and Yahoo! opened its internet doors in March 1995. The company really took off in the nineties and the shares skyrocketed during the dot-com bubble. The shares settled at an amazing $118 just before the bubble burst. It was quite phenomenal considering after the bubble burst, Yang and Filo saw the company’s shares settle at $4.05 on September 26, 2001.

And Then Came Google

Google gave Yahoo! quite a kick in the pants in the way of competition and before David Filo and Jerry Yang knew what was happening they were finding ways to pass Google on the internet superhighway. Yahoo revamped the mail service to compete with Google’s Gmail, amongst several other changes to the company product structure. Unfortunately Yahoo! began to struggle and by 2008 David and Jerry had to retrench many staff members. Google was taking over the market and Yahoo! was struggling to keep their position as top dog in the search engine world.

In 2009 Yang stepped down and after two interim CEO’s, Tim Morse took over as Yahoo’s! new CEO and the world still moves for Yahoo! Jerry Yang and David Filo are still the minds behind the original search engine that took the world by storm.

Vida Denning is a freelance writer who enjoys writing on a wide variety of topics. She often used Yahoo when she worked in office space from serviced offices Manchester.