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Timothy A. Koogle - President and CEO of Yahoo

From UVA Alumni News
September 1, 1998

Remembering U.Va., Tim Koogle says his years in the Engineering School gave him a solid foundation in the fundamentals of engineering. But more importantly, his professors had been practicing engineers before entering the classroom as instructors. "They brought their real-world experience into the classroom and showed us the applications of the technology we were studying. I got really stoked about it," he says.

Koogle went on to get a master's degree and a Ph.D. in engineering from Stanford. But, he adds, "I had many friends outside the E-School at Virginia, and I took classes outside the E-School so I developed a strong appreciation for other subjects as well. That was the big benefit of U.Va.,for me, the broadness of the education."

Koogle currently operates out of Santa Clara, Cal., as president and CEO of Yahoo, Inc. Yahoo made its name as an Internet search engine, but has expanded to offer original content as well as shopping and communication platforms to its global audience of about 35 million users.

Koogle jumped into the business world while still a grad student. He started two companies, one of which he sold to his partners. The other was purchased by Motorola, which led to his working for them for eight years. He later went to work for a Seattle-based data and communications company called Intermec, where he drove annual sales from $125 million to $350 million by the time he left to take the job at Yahoo in 1995.

Koogle sees the technology boom going on and on indefinitely as technology becomes an increasingly intrinsic part of the way we live. "Microprocessors are getting faster. Computers are being built into more products. We watch consumption patterns at Yahoo, and I see this technology being threaded into people's lives," he says.

Koogle says many companies are making money on the Internet. Some are solely Internet-based and others are simply augmenting existing business with a Web site and finding it profitable.

"Commerce is huge on the Internet and will only get bigger as people become more comfortable with it," he says. "I think it's a generational thing. A lot of children are already more computer savvy than their parents. It's like the telephone. Nobody's afraid of the telephone now, but initially people were scared of it."

"Ultimately, every business will need a Web site," he says. "The Web provides a lower-cost promotion and distribution network. if your competitors are using the Web and you're not, they're reaching a larger audience with lower overhead. You don't have to be a genius to do the math on that."

Even though he's been financially successful, Koogle says money is not what motivates him day to day. "I can't even imagine retiring and sitting on a beach somewhere. I'll probably retire the day I die. I like the challenge of creating an ongoing enterprise that lots of people use. And I enjoy the satisfaction of seeing this enterprise allow other people to support themselves and their families."

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