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April - 2000 - issue > Cover Feature

Srinija Srinivasan

Friday, November 21, 2008
You won’t believe this. Which is why you should check it out yourself. Go to Yahoo.com and run a search for “Srinija Srinivasan.” It throws up one broken link to an article titled “Nawabs of Cyberspace” that appeared in Little India, a free ethnic publication in New Jersey. The same search on AltaVista threw up 241 Web pages; and Northern Light yielded 302 items from 137 sources.
The woman who runs the world’s foremost search engine hides well behind the power of her own creation. As Editor-In-Chief of Yahoo, Srinivasan wields a lot of power in deciding what information gets mined on the Web, and what remains deeply buried as Yahoo assumes to itself the gargantuan task of ordering the chaos of the Web.

“We spend lots and lots and lots of time looking at lots and lots and lots of sites, deciding what’s interesting, what’s compelling, what’s new, making sure the best of what’s out there is in Yahoo,” she once told an interviewer. “Hopefully, it’s organized in a way that people find what they’re looking for and all the while can successfully avoid all that stuff they weren’t looking for.”

In another interview, she made a distinction between what Yahoo does and what other search engines do. “Using the metaphor of a book, we like to think of Yahoo as a table of contents for the Internet, whereas the robotic search engines serve as an index at the back of the book,” Srinivasan said.

She has been featured in top global publications. Newsweek named her in its “The Net 50” and the San Francisco Focus once listed her under its “40 Under 40.”

Known to be media shy, Srinivasan declined an interview for this listing. In our opinion, she belongs on this list for two reasons. From early on, Srinivasan assumed a significant role in a company that itself played a defining role in the Internet era. This achievement qualifies her for any listing of South Asians who matter in technology. She was the fifth employee at Yahoo and we are sure that the phenomenal rise of Yahoo stock has added substantially to her wealth. But she is not an “insider” under securities law and consequently, her current or prior stock holding is not public information, we will not hazard a guess.

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