GigaOM has an interesting article about project Brickhouse. When I was at Yahoo! it was a project that I heard about as a possible thing that was going to happen from some of the technologists that reported directly into the US.Looking at the GigaOM post, it seems to be set on a more permanent footing.
Three key challenges that internal incubator operations like this face:
- Looking beyond Silicon Valley as there are a number of talented and entrepreneurial staff around the world. For instance my former colleague Axel Piutti has left Yahoo! for a new stealth project he is working on. Axel had set up Overture (Yahoo! Search Marketing) in Germany out of his flat and was responsible to rolling out Local Search in the UK and Germany, providing a superior experience to the previous business finder service
- Not alienating the majority of people that run the company’s cash cows: Yahoo! Search Marketing and banner advertising across the portal. This has been a major problem for Cisco Systems’ internal incubator, partly due to alleged poor management and perceived nepotism
- Successfully managing Brickhouse across diverse cultures: having worked out of Yahoo! Europe and the mothership back in the States. The culture and management style is very different between the two operations