Garlinghouse, Former Yahoo Executive, Joins Startup Ripple Labs

Brad Garlinghouse, who as a Yahoo! Inc. executive wrote the “Peanut Butter Manifesto” strategy memo, is joining digital-currency startup Ripple Labs Inc. as chief operating officer.

Garlinghouse, also a former president of applications and commerce at AOL Inc., stepped down in September as chief executive officer of cloud-services company Hightail Inc.

Financial institutions use Ripple to transfer money and exchange currencies, sometimes using Ripple's own digital currency. Chris Larsen, a founder of Prosper Marketplace Inc., is the company’s CEO and one of its co-founders. San Francisco-based Ripple Labs has raised $6.4 million from investors, including Google Ventures, IDG Capital Partners, Andreessen Horowitz and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

“It’s a rare opportunity to have a dramatic impact on a huge industry,” Garlinghouse said in an interview.

Garlinghouse gained notoriety after he wrote a memo in 2006 that leaked to the Wall Street Journal, arguing that Yahoo was spread too thin with its various business ventures.

“I’ve heard our strategy described as spreading peanut butter across the myriad opportunities that continue to evolve in the online world,” he wrote in the memo. “The result: a thin layer of investment spread across everything we do and thus we focus on nothing in particular. I hate peanut butter. We all should.”

— With assistance by Eric Newcomer

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