some context for yahoo’s excellent product management that not a lot of people know about:

remember yahoo instant messenger? i’m guessing basically everyone stopped using that after like the early 2000s. but until about two years ago, almost all of the world’s oil trading was conducted through yahoo instant messenger. every day hundreds of millions of barrels, billions of dollars in equity, was traded by a bunch of dudes through yahoo instant messenger. traders and brokers loved that they could be speaking with tons of people at once, and their compliance officers loved that there was a transcript of conversations and deals left behind for auditing and regulatory purposes.

but yahoo decided, perhaps reasonably on the surface, that they did not want to support this service anymore. they wanted to migrate the messaging platform onto something a bit more integrated and 21st century. except their new service was not compatible with any kind of conversation-recording capability, so traders would not be allowed to use it anymore for compliance purposes.

chaos. billion dollar companies all around the world were scrambling. how would they conduct their business? i know this sounds silly, but traders talk to hundreds of people a day, brokers are showing them markets all day long. phones are inefficient and not all are set to record. they explained to yahoo what the compliance issue was. they offered to pay – these companies can afford any kind of subscription necessary. they assured yahoo that a massive pillar of the world’s economy, as fucking insane as it sounds, is actually conducted through their service. just let us use it. (here’s a reuters article about it, and here’s a financial times article on it)

yahoo didn’t change its plans.

now everyone uses something else to trade the world’s oil.