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David Filo


Title:Chief Yahoo, Yahoo Corp., Mountain View, Calif.

Bio:Born in Appleton, Wis. B.S. in computer engineering and math, Tulane University, 1988; M.S. in electrical engineering, Stanford University, 1990.

Work history:Started Yahoo, an online guide and search engine of the Internet, with partner Jerry Yang in April 1994; took leave from Stanford Ph.D. program to focus on commercializing Yahoo, April 1995; current post (yes, that's his real title), May 1995-.

When David Filo and partner Jerry Yang started Yahoo, a guide to sites on the World Wide Web (, it was something to take their minds off grueling Ph.D. work at Stanford.

But when the number of companies on the Internet took off, so did they-from school.

"It became clear that Yahoo was growing too big for us to handle alone," said Mr. Filo. "Because Yahoo was such a popular guide, we knew we wanted to keep it going and possibly make money from it."

They had purchase offers ranging from $5,000 from a small communications company to more than $1 million from America Online. Finally, they settled on $1 million in venture capital.

"Of all the sites out there, I think very few of them are worth anything," said Mr. Filo. "That's why a good Internet guide is so important, because there's so much out there to get through to find what you want."

Although Mr. Filo isn't directly involved in selling advertising or negotiating deals, he does spend a lot of time meeting with various companies about "forming strategic relationships."

"I've always been involved in the programming side of computers," said Mr. Filo, who's done internships at Texas Instruments and NEC Corp. "But I think there's a lot of business opportunity in interactive media."

Although he no longer has time to spend his usual 30 hours per week surfing the Web, Mr. Filo tries to go online at least 10 hours a week, making sure Yahoo stays up-to-date on Web developments.

Betcha didn't know:David Filo has never owned his own personal computer.

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