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Farewell BBC – and hello Yahoo!

Right then! It’s time to get everything out in the open and talk about some of the stuff that’s been going on behind the scenes over the last few months. First things first – and this will probably come as a bit of a surprise to a few people – I’ve decided to make a move from the BBC to go and try something new. The last couple of years have been extraordinary in a lot of ways – I’ve been lucky enough to work on (and occasionally initiate) some really significant projects around the organisation, I’ve been able to explore whole new areas of media navigation, interaction and distribution and I’ve done it all in the company of some absolutely extraordinary people.

In particular, working with Matt Webb was one of the weirdest, challenging and fruitful working relationships of my life. Similarly, playing once again with Mr Biddulph reminded me exactly how much I’d recommend the experience to everyone. If you need any freelance wizardry performed, I can’t praise him highly enough. And I also can’t say enough good things about Paul Hammond – whether he’s been driving me nuts or keeping me sane, he’s always been insightful and great company.

There are loads of other people I’m thrilled to have worked with in the organisation and I can’t possibly name them all, but various projects stick in my head and it’s probably worth opening them up a little. I had great fun on the first pass through the Programme Information Pages project (and the Radio 3 site that emerged from it), and it wouldn’t have been the experience it was without Margaret Hanley and Gavin Bell (and about a dozen other cool people). At the other extreme, rapidly building and deploying the Listen Live Widget with Duncan Ponting was enormously satisfying, as was the Phonetags project working with Webb, Jason Cowlam, Graham Beale and (again) Gavin. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t briefly mention the small team I’m currently working with (Helen Crowe, Chris Bowley, Tristan Ferne, Bronwyn Van Der Merwe and Paul Clifford) – hopefully I’ll be able to talk a bit more about what we’ve been up to before I leave.

So the second major thing that I should probably let people know is that I’m leaving the BBC to go and work for Bradley Horowitz in the Tech Development Group at Yahoo! (alongside Simon Willison and Jeremy Zawodny among others). My particular special skill – I gather – is going to be the power of my social media mojo, undercut with my feral design instincts. I’ll be based in London but out in the States pretty regularly – and here’s the best bit – playing with the Flickr team and the Upcoming crew and all the folks over at Yahoo Research Berkeley (among others). Anyway, as is probably fairly evident, this is not the kind of opportunity you turn down without a very good reason, and I’ve wracked my brains and I sure as hell can’t think of one. So wish me luck!

78 replies on “Farewell BBC – and hello Yahoo!”

Oooh – well done. Yahoo has been doing really well lately with lots of nice new products and smart acquisitions. I’m sure it’s a good team to go and join.

Congrats! I think…though you did kind of make your old job sound better than your new one…but I’m sure that wasn’t your intent (heck, why would you take the new one if that were the case). But I digress, good luck Tom

Welcome to the team! We’re going to have some fun, for sure. We’re lucky to have you, and can’t wait to get started.

Shame. I guess I’ll be dumping the link into my journal then. Thanks for the insights while you were at the beeb.

When you’re in Berkeley, if you should get bored (hah!), I also live here and would love to hang out sometime. I can introduce you to the exciting world of the queer student co-op we have some awesome parties.
Congratulations and good luck!

Nice one Tom. Sounds like a great opportunity and I am sure it will work out well. We just finished a little job for the marketing group in the London office so I might drop by and say hello.
You’re within easy walking distance of Covent Garden, and Bar Italia just about qualifies as your local coffee bar, so there’s two good reasons right there! 🙂

Well done Tom. It sounds very exciting and if the comments are to go by, a great bunch of people. Its great the way Yahoo always responds when I report spammers to them.

Oooh! Squeeeeee! Congratulations Tom! I’m so happy that it all finally came together. Good luck in the new job – I hope it all goes swimmingly well.
I’m also glad you’re not going to the states for good. I still have plans for pints etc. 🙂

Just adding my congratulations – have enjoyed the site immensely, and look forward to all the Yahoo development leaks…er…news you’ll be delivering. Cough.

You might stumble over Mitch Lazar who has just joined Yahoo in London from CNN/Turner Broadcasting – a good chap well worth getting to know!

Congratulations,
Its a real shame to see some of the most talented people leaving the BBC, it was actually you, Matt, Gavin, etc which convinced me that working for the BBC was a great idea. But what a great time to join Yahoo! You will be deeply missed around the BBC, I’m sure our paths will cross again.

Sorry to join in the comments a bit late, and sorry to be less happy than the above posters, I was just wondering how you squared your enjoyment of your new job with the fate of the Chinese journalist Shi Tao reported on here (I’m sure you’ve seen the story elsewhere too of course):
http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/09/07/business/yahoo.php
It doesn’t make pretty reading, does it, Yahoo helping the Chinese authorities to bang up journalists for 10 years? What do you former colleagues at the BBC say about it?
As I say, sorry to be negative and maybe Yahoo aren’t as complicit in this as they seem but the explanation they give (going along with local laws etc) doesn’t stack up in light of their defence in the past of a man who wanted to sell Nazi paraphernalia on a Yahoo site, something that is banned in France and which led to problems with the French authorities (on this occasion Yahoo argued in favour of freedom of speech). The seemingly mutually exclusive arguments employed by Yahoo on these two occasions can only really make sense if one views them from the point of view of turning a buck. Or is that unfair?

Yahoo are a large corporation like any other, once that growth happens the gloves are off and its all about business so at the end of the day Tom probably switched one corporate behemoth for another. It happens. Still congrats on the new job, hope it all works out.

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