In Silicon Valley, at least, it seems everyone has worked for Yahoo! (YHOO) for 15 minutes—which is several minutes longer than the tenures of some of the company’s chief executive officers. As investors and online commenters focus on the company’s new CEO, Marissa Mayer, as well as what cuts she might have to make, there’s no denying that Yahoo’s combination of early success and slow decline has made it a testing ground for a generation of technology executives. “How do you grow that quickly?” asks Jeremy Ring, an early sales executive who’s now a member of the Florida Senate. “You’ll have to learn it, and that’s very valuable.”
Other former “Yahoos” agree. “It really was a bonding experience because we were working very closely with one another, around the clock,” says Michael Landau, who had several jobs at Yahoo before leaving in 2005. “In some respects it was like a fraternity.” Or perhaps, given how much former employees say they learned, an academic institution. Accordingly, here’s a handy Alumni Guide to Yahoo! Prep—where graduates do great things, even as their alma mater strives to remain relevant. Naturally, former Yahoos keep in touch, although for those who “bleed purple,” how some of them do is a touchy subject. “We all follow each other on Facebook (FB),” Ring says.