Yahoo CTO on what it takes to compete

Since his appointment as Yahoo's CTO last June, Raymie Stata has been on an intense ride. He is part of the executive team charged with building Yahoo's technology strategy and spurring innovation to drive growth and attract more users to the site. Stata has been with Yahoo since 2004 and was previously its chief architect. Other members of the team include Chief Scientist Prabhakar Raghavan and Stata's boss, Chief Product Officer Blake Irving, both of whom report to CEO Carol Bartz.

At the same time, Stata is learning the ropes as CTO, a role Yahoo redrew after last year's departure of Ari Balogh, who was CTO and also chief product officer. IDG News Service talked with Stata recently about his challenges and accomplishments as CTO, and about what Yahoo is doing to jumpstart innovation in 2011, a pivotal year for the company. An edited version of the interview follows:

IDG News Service: What do you focus on as CTO?

Raymie Stata: The CTO role has changed quite a bit recently at Yahoo. Historically, it had been an operations CTO, head of all engineering. Now we have a [separate] CPO and CTO and shifted into a functional model for the CTO. I set the technology direction but don't actually manage all the engineers. That's a big shift for the company. We're still working that out.

An important focus area for me is technology exploration and advancement, which involves looking at new ideas and doing early R&D work to get [projects] off the ground.

Within technology exploration, mobile applications is one area of focus. We're looking at tablets as a proving ground for Web experiences of the future. We're pushing our advance innovation thought and development in that direction, versus on the PC side.