Yesterday was Yahoo!'s 10th birthday party and has officially completed 10 years today :D .. the day started off with each of us getting a Y! branded bucket full of chocolates.
The Bangalorean Yahoos sponsor a National Child Labour Plan School and we had the kids come over in the morning as part of our celebration. About 50 kids had come and apparently, there was a Tom and Jerry show. I had come in around 11 (as usual) and saw the mail regarding this. I went downstairs to the 3rd floor and I see 50 kids shouting and playing and laughing, total chaos! It was good to be back in that school atmosphere. There were lot of games planned and about 7 of us came ad-hoc to help the kids have a good time.
There was drawing, bowling, basketball, skipping, throwing the hoop, playing with the big hoop (I forgot what this is actually called, this is where you have a big circular ring and you try to shake it with your hips), one kid did this really well and with such ease that we were jealous, and there were many other games as well. The fun lasted for about a couple of hours and then we had to force the kids to leave the games and go for lunch.
After we lunch, we tried to gather all the children. Avinash and myself had a hard time to shepherd all the kids but they were such a sweet bunch and they were so full of enthu that it made it easy. One particular kid won lots of pencils but he gave it back to Ankit and asked him to give to the teacher so that they can give it to the other children. That was so heart-rending and reminds me about the kind of life the kids previously had. Its not hard to imagine that these kids were forced to do child labour and had a hard life. They now have a school to go to and hopefully they learn to lead a good life as well.
We asked the kids to sing 'Happy Birthday' to Yahoo! and boy, can those kids sing loud! And I mean really loud. Even yahoos from the other floors heard it. (I had recorded the video of it but it was too big so I couldn't upload it.) Then we finally gave an incentive (ok, ok, we totally bribed them) that if they studied well in school and made the teachers proud, then we would have more such parties for them. All this interaction was in Kannada since they don't know English and Avinash did most of the talking ; he would make a good lecturer indeed ;)
This was followed by a treasure hunt ironically titled 'The Great Yahoo! Search'. Each wing of each floor was a separate team. All I can say is 'dhoondthey reh jaooge' became our theme! :lol: We had really cryptic clues and we had a load of fun trying to figure out what they meant. For example, 'One key to help us all, one bang to find it. One key to cool us all, one fire to fight it'... we struggled for half an hour on trying to figure that one. Think about this before you read the next few lines :mrgreen:
That one really had us scratching our heads. We looked in the refridgerator and lifted up fire hydrants. One of us even broke the fire alarm thinking a bang could lead us to the answer! :lol: That was a big ruckus, the security came running thinking it was an actual fire. The answer finally turned out to be a key on top of the tubelight next to the fire extinguisher and water cooler in the 2nd floor! This led to finally 4 more clues which we solved pretty quickly. By the time we finished the 3rd clue, one of the teams had already won, but that didn't stop us from proceeding further. This was hell lot of fun and we had a lot of running around. A cool way of making us all get up from our seats ;) I wish we can do more of such things. Big thanks to Shivku and Ankit for organizing this.
In the evening, we had a showing of the video depicting the 10 years of Yahoo! Its hard to imagine how 2 kids in a trailer in Stanford University with a bunch of computers with wires all around and clothes thrown all over the place led to the "biggest website in the world with 165 million registered users, 345 million unique visitors a month, $49 billion market cap, and a 62 percent increase in revenue last quarter , bringing 2004 total revenue to $3. billion".
There was a whole lot of laughs and funny moments in the video with David and Jerry telling their story. The most poignant moment was when Jerry explains that the yellow and violet colors were especially chosen because they were the most cheapest colors available when they were painting the office walls :lol: , and now they symbolize the vibrancy and colorful nature of the company.
At the end of the video, I realized how invaluable Yahoo! really is and how the Internet really means Yahoo! to many people. What started out as a simple directory of content on the internet has become the hottest destination for anything and everything from searching for jobs to looking after pets and of course my favorite parts - mail, calendar, addressbook and notepad. Yes, Google is in the limelight now (and for good reason) but let us not forget that Yahoo! does much more and there are more exciting things are on the cards in the coming months. What I find striking is that Yahoo! has had competitors in all the fields and yet each Yahoo! vertical has been consistently in the top 2 or 3 in each of the fields from mail to jobs to search and so on.
This was followed by chaats for the hungry and then the party started. The music was played by one of the DJs from Spinn. It was a long and hard party. I still have the beats sounding in my head. All in all, Yahoo! sure knows how to party and emphasizes what I term the Yahoo! way - 'Work hard and party harder' :D