Yahoo! founders Jerry Yang and David Filo in their early days at Stanford
Today is Yahoo!’s 15th birthday – hooray! It’s been a long ride and we’re grateful that our users, all 600 million of them, have come along for the ride.
We’ve had the unique opportunity to help create an industry and shape the online world, and will continue to focus on the values that brought us here —working hard, having fun, being passionate about your ideas, believing in each other, and always trying to invent the future. And as we celebrate 15 years today, we are even more excited than ever about what lies ahead, and the potential of Yahoo! and the Internet.
Of course, founders Jerry Yang and David Filo didn’t set out to start one of the world’s largest Internet companies or to lead a movement that has changed the world. They were just a couple of Stanford graduate students doing our research (supposedly) while their professor was on sabbatical.
More interesting than their research was their total fascination with the web and all the cool stuff it suddenly made available. But it was incredibly hard to keep track of the thousands of great websites sprouting up everywhere. Jerry and David thought it would be fun to catalog the sites by developing a simple directory. So all this began with nothing more than a hobby to help other early Internet users.
They soon learned a huge lesson just as relevant today as then: change and growth on the Internet happen at warp speed—especially if you’re filling a need. With the proliferation of websites and with hundreds of thousands of people accessing the Yahoo! guide, it was simply impossible for Jerry and David to continue doing this on our own.
Internet growth continues to be simply phenomenal, and we’re nowhere near done. Fifteen years ago, there were 18,000 web sites and fewer than 10 million people globally on the Internet—less than one third of a single percent of the world’s population at the time. Today there are more than 200 million websites with 90,000 created daily. There are estimated to be 1.6 billion people on the internet today—about 25 percent of the world’s population.
These numbers are astonishing, but even more important and more exciting is the impact that the Internet is having on so many people around the world. From socio-economic opportunities to more accessible health care to educating the next generation and beyond, the Internet has changed the way we live, work and learn. It has overcome geographic and political barriers and has made it possible for people to raise their voices as they seek greater economic opportunity and freedom. And Yahoo! has been a leader in enabling these tremendous technological advancements every step of the way.
All this in just 15 years. Yahoo! has been built by thousands of dedicated employees, hundreds of millions of loyal users and scores of advertisers who envisioned a future that was exciting, challenging and at times daunting. We are confident that 15 years from today, we will look back in marvel at how far you, and the Internet have traveled in such a short time. Just as we are doing today.
Thanks to you, the users, for continuing to support us and use products like Yahoo! Messenger. We’ll be celebrating at all the Yahoo! offices today and know that if we could, we’d send each of you a slice of Yahoo! birthday cake.