Hello Reta, lovely to have you on Marketing In Asia. Tell us all we need to know about Reta Lee, the self-confessed, part-time rockstar stalker.
Entertainment reporting runs in my blood ever since I got my first break in 2006, right after university. Since then, I’ve had plenty of opportunities and run-ins with both local and Hollywood celebrities – Jared Leto, Lady Gaga, Kanye West, David Beckham – in my time of reporting that I’ve decided to call myself a part-time rockstar stalker as a joke. Haha.
You have more than 15 years worth of experience in the publishing and online media industry. Walk us through what got you started and make you stay in it for as long as you have.
My first foray in writing began in 2006, when I was writing for entertainment magazines, hot and HELLO! in Malaysia, covering both lifestyle and entertainment beats (both the magazines have since ceased). Then, I rode the digital wave in 2009, when I was writing for msn.com.my and haven’t looked back since. I joined Yahoo in 2018 as their chief editor for Yahoo Lifestyle Southeast Asia, and I couldn’t imagine a day without content writing! I would say, having the support of your peers and bosses who believe in your passion, keeps reigniting my ambition, and that makes it so difficult to leave the media industry.
As the Editor-In-Chief for Yahoo Lifestyle / Entertainment, South East Asia, what are you responsible for, Reta?
My day-to-day includes curating stories that our readers want to read, for our homepage sg.yahoo.com, followed by scheduling those stories on social media. I work on story tips depending on what the day brings, as well as assign interviews and stories based on our editorial calendar. These days, I’ve also tasked myself with shooting videos using my phone, just to add a different skill set under my belt. When I write, I try to give our original stories a Southeast Asian angle, to give our readers a bigger picture.
What is it exactly like to be working for Yahoo?
There is a great sense of camaraderie; the team looks out for one another and we constantly push ourselves to meet the company’s goal and vision. What’s important is also the peer and managerial support, which is necessary if you want to move forward as a robust, innovative company. The discussions are open, transparent and constructive.
Tell us Reta, how did the name Yahoo first come about?
Founded in 1994, Yahoo — the first online navigational guide to the web — was originally named “David’s and Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web”. Yahoo was then chosen by our founders from the dictionary because it was a word that anyone can say and remember with ease! Interestingly, it is also an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle” where “Hierarchical” described how the Yahoo database was arranged in directory layers; “officious” refers to the office workers who used the database; and “oracle” was intended to mean “source of truth and wisdom.” One thing a lot of people don’t know is that our founders, Yang and Filo added the exclamation mark at the end of Yahoo because the word ‘Yahoo’ was already owned by a company that made BBQ sauce.
Today, Yahoo is a part of Verizon Media, a division of Fortune 20 company, Verizon Communications, Inc. Verizon Media is also home to brands like HuffPost, TechCrunch, and AOL – reaching nearly 800 million people across the globe.
Yahoo is one of the pioneers of the early Internet era in the 1990s and despite some respites along the way, Yahoo still manages to stay relevant in this ever changing cyber-world. How is this possible?
Yahoo as we know was the world’s guide to this new, world-changing, eye-opening platform. For 25 years (we celebrated our 25th Birthday early March this year), Yahoo has been an iconic brand which has helped people to discover new things, see new places, meet new people, to just “surf”.
Today, the Internet has grown so big that people spend much of their time sifting through what they don’t care about to find the things they do. They don’t want the whole Internet. They want their Internet. One that’s personalised and customised to their interests. One that puts them in control.
That’s why in an age of Internet overload, today Yahoo’s mission is to amplify what matters the most to people, keeping the world interested and interesting. Yahoo is the amplifier of what matters. The brand that gives people more of what they want, and less of what they don’t. It’s more than just a tech brand or a media brand. Yahoo is an Amplification Brand — making every experience worthy of an exclamation point, which is reflected in the new Yahoo Mail, our new logo, our new extended reality advertising formats, and beyond.
Through brands like Yahoo News, Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Lifestyle, Yahoo Mail, Yahoo TV, Verizon Media is transforming how people stay informed and entertained, communicate and transact. In Southeast Asia, our news, finance, lifestyle, mail, and TV properties are popular and have seen promising growth as consumers come to experience things they’re most passionate about.
From its arrival, Yahoo led a major revolution in our culture becoming the most successful web portal in the world of fostering new consumer behaviours. Yahoo has always been about connecting people to their passions, and that never gets old!
Without doubt, Yahoo has certainly done a great job at branding. What is the winning formula, Reta?
Our brand has always been our promise to our consumers, partners, and advertisers. Keeping these promises is at the heart of what we do, be it through trusted content across our platforms that amplifies and connects people to their passions.
At Yahoo, we seek to give people more of the things they love, and less of the things they don’t. This means that we are amplifying things that matter the most to consumers, and we’re committed to connecting people to their passions. Our core strategy is to build products and experiences that speak to our consumer’s passions and help drive the deepest value. We’re doing that by creating more direct opportunities for users to discover what they love, and to make it easier for them to transact on those passions.
On Yahoo Lifestyle, we’ve seen success in our Women on Top series that features female entrepreneurs in the region and our livestream interviews with singers like JJ Lin and Nathan Hartono. We’ve also introduced Yahoo Singapore’s daily news channel on Telegram with the latest news on-the-go.
Brand accessibility has also been something close to our heart. We seek to ensure that people with disabilities can access our products and services, with digital experiences meeting WCAG 2.0, Level AA web accessibility standards.