Back in the day, I was a Yahoo freak. This was back when AOL was spamming our mailboxes with their crappy little disks (I must have collected about 50 of them), and there was no such think as a “homepage” if you weren’t part of AOL’s little “network”. That is, until Yahoo came along.
Yahoo sold me originally on 2 things. First, I was an early Yahoo mail user (I was actually able to grab “wday” as my profile – try to find a 4 letter profile like that nowadays). Second, Yahoo created a “portal” I could use as my homepage. It was so cool – news feeds, a link to my Yahoo mail, a search area, fun little widgets, sports scores, and other stuff I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten. And, best of all, it was free (take that you AOL weenies).
Now, Yahoo is banking on an ex-Google exec (employee #20) to lead them from the wilderness and compete once again with the likes of Google and Facebook. According to the Huffington Post:
Google’s first female engineer, Mayer will now serve as Yahoo’s President and CEO and will sit on the board of directors, according to Yahoo’s official press release. She had previously been the vice president of Google’s local, maps and location services and was responsible for the look and feel of many widely used Google products, most notably the Google home page.
“I wanted to work at Google because the smartest people were there,” Mayer told The Huffington Post’s Bianca Bosker last July. “And I wanted to work at Google because I felt utterly unprepared to work at a search engine.”
So far, I like her attitude. Marissa, who has been labeled the “Googirl” in the past, displays an attitude that should make Yahoo fans feel like maybe the old days might be back. From a CNN interview:
As one of a relatively small number of women in high-ranking positions in tech — Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman are two others — Mayer often is asked about what she thinks about the role of women in her field.
“I actually think it’s the wrong question,” she told Newsweek/The Daily Beast in an interview in May. “It’s a question that hangs us up and causes the progress to be slower. The truth is we’re not producing enough computer scientists, period.”
Passion, she says, is what really matters. Not gender.
And according to “uncrunched“:
I've interviewed Mayer many times over the years at TechCrunch and Le Web events and I've been able to see the way she thinks during those interviews and in other interactions.
What happens next is she'll want to win. And generally she does win. I'd expect a bold new product strategy and an acquisition plan to help build the foundation of that strategy.
Fixing Yahoo will be difficult, particularly since the company seemed to have grown comfortable with its decline and no longer had any fight left in them.
I expect Mayer will be fixing all that sooner rather than later.
It's a good day for Yahoo.
- Does Marissa Mayer Represent a Breakthrough for Women?(mashable.com)
- Google Offers Marissa Mayer a Buoyant Goodbye(mashable.com)
- Can Google Star Marissa Mayer Save Yahoo!?(coffeewithkath.wordpress.com)