Tag Archives: Marissa Mayer

Marissa Mayer: Your Days Are Numbered!

I, me, Penney Vanderbily, was about the first to question if Marissa Mayer was the right person to lead YAHOO. Read my story from July, 2013 on

Marissa Mayer from Yahoo. I hope YOU don’t get HACKED


Then in 2014 I continued my attacks on HER.

Marissa Mayer’s Leadership: 10 Ways She’s Restoring Yahoo’s Fortunes

I began this article with “Glad somebody doesn’t think she is an idiot, because I sure do. ”


In May 2015 I went after her like there was no tomorrow:

10 Ways Marissa Mayer Is Reinventing Yahoo

I opened with “For nearly three years, CEO Marissa Mayer has tried to reinvent Yahoo, the Web search and services company that reigned supreme in the early days of the Internet. But the incredible growth of Google’s search engine and Web advertising business drained away revenue that once would have been Yahoo’s.

OK, now I am qualified as a Marissa HATER.

Today I see from Jeff Bercovici

San Francisco bureau chief, Inc.
Yahoo’s CEO employs a familiar management style, but she lacks the thing that made Apple, Amazon, and Tesla great.

Some of the world’s most innovative companies were built by people whose bosses told them they were failures. Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk all were or are known as the kind of CEO who can reduce an underling to a quivering mound of jelly with a fiery dressing-down or an icy silence, the kind who motivates more through fear than praise. “You need to figure out where your priorities are,” Musk supposedly chided one worker who dared to take time off to witness his child’s birth.

Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer fits this template. “Marissa is the type of boss that makes you feel like you’re disappointing her at all times, so I always feel like I’m on the verge of being fired,” Jeff Bonforte, Yahoo’s senior vice president for communications products, told The New York Times. “It’s never, ‘Way to go, Jeff!'” Bonforte later amended his comments on Twitter, but what he said fits with other portraits of Mayer that have cast her as more than a little demanding, aloof, and perfectionistic.

Yet Yahoo is no Apple, Amazon, or Tesla. In the next few weeks, Mayer, having run out of other options, is expected to lay off a hefty chunk of her work force and begin the process of spinning off the core businesses of search, messaging, and media. (A spokeswoman had no comment on these rumors.) Welcomed as a savior upon her arrival in 2012, she is now regarded as merely the latest in a long line of Yahoo CEOs who promised to reverse the company’s 15-year-long slide and then failed to deliver.

When she first arrived from Google, Mayer had the approval of 99 percent of her employees, according to Glassdoor, a website on which people can rate their employers. That number has fallen steadily over the ensuing three and a half years, and now stands at 71 percent. Compare that with 90 percent for Musk, 80 percent for Bezos, 91 percent for Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, and 97 percent for Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Even AOL’s Tim Armstrong, who presided over multiple rounds of layoffs and humiliating gaffes en route to selling the company to Verizon for $4.4 billion last year, comes in higher, at 74 percent.

Even those who’ve lost faith in Mayer–barely a third of her employees think the company has brighter days ahead–can hardly blame her for Yahoo’s plight. Turning around a failing consumer tech company is notoriously hard. (Armstrong basically did it only by remaking AOL as an ad-tech rollup, and then exercising canny market timing in selling it.)

Yet it doesn’t necessarily follow that Mayer is blameless for her squandering of goodwill. Last summer, after a New York Times exposé detailed the allegedly miserable work conditions at Amazon, numerous employees came forward to say they liked working in a culture where the reward for hard work is even harder work. The withholding-parent mode of CEOing gets results.

But for it to succeed, employees have to feel like they’re being driven toward something bigger, not just being driven. The people who drink the Kool-Aid at Amazon do so because they buy into Bezos’s vision of building the world’s biggest and best marketplace. Musk’s workers believe they’re weaning mankind off fossil fuels and helping it colonize other planets. Jobs wanted to make computers more beautiful and easier to use.

A vision is something Mayer has conspicuously been lacking ever since her arrival. The closest she’s come is a mashup of whatever’s working for other tech companies (e.g., mobile, video), with the phrase “daily habits” slathered on to provide some Yahoo-ness.

Again, that doesn’t make Yahoo’s ongoing struggle her fault. If others had a bigger, better vision for Yahoo, they kept it to themselves. But it does mean that Mayer’s Jobs-lite management style has made her a bad fit for Yahoo during what will probably end up being its final days as an independent entity. Great leaders can run their people hard because great employees, like sled dogs, love to pull their weight. But if you whip your dogs without telling them which way to mush, you’re not leading them–you’re just abusing them.

10 Ways Marissa Mayer Is Reinventing Yahoo

Yup, we have talked about her before.

For nearly three years, CEO Marissa Mayer has tried to reinvent Yahoo, the Web search and services company that reigned supreme in the early days of the Internet. But the incredible growth of Google’s search engine and Web advertising business drained away revenue that once would have been Yahoo’s. Mayer, a former senior Google executive, was recruited to put Yahoo back on track to growth. Reviews are mixed on Mayer’s performance so far. Some have said that Mayer has done little to fix Yahoo’s fundamental issues, pointing to the company’s poor financials and falling search ad revenue. Still others note that it took turnaround experts, including Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, several years before they could truly make a difference in their ailing companies. Despite the criticism, Mayer is persevering with a strategy she believes will lead to future success. This slide show looks not only at Mayer’s strategy for future growth, but also how Yahoo is slowly but surely changing. Whether her plans will actually work remains to be seen. But Mayer should be given credit for keeping Yahoo on an even keel in the face of intense competition from Google and many other Internet services companies.


Redesigned Microsoft Pact Is CrucialThe joint announcement between Microsoft and Yahoo could be a major victory for the online company. For one thing, it doesn’t change the revenue-sharing agreement, which means a large portion of Yahoo’s revenue—31 percent in 2013, alone—will still be generated from Microsoft’s ad services. In addition, it forces Microsoft to start selling its own ads, which reduces Yahoo’s costs. It’s a win-win.


It’s All About the Acquisitions

If anything can be said about Marissa Mayer, it’s that she sees value in acquiring other companies. In the last couple of years, Mayer has acquired a host of companies across a wide range of markets. Chief among them is the Tumblr microblogging service, acquired in 2013 for $1.1 billion. Tumblr is central to Yahoo’s efforts to build a bigger, more loyal user base.

Yahoo Trying to Catch Up on Mobile Services

Mayer has said that her company has not done enough to focus on mobile. At one point, the company had just 100 engineers working on all its mobile efforts. Last year, Mayer made several public statements saying that mobile would be a driving force in Yahoo’s resurgence and she has made good on that promise with heavy investments in mobile applications development. Whether it’s too late, however, remains to be seen.

Improving Relations With Corporate Advertisers

Research firm eMarketer said Yahoo’s search ad revenue declined over the past several years and predicted the company’s digital ad revenue will continue to slip. Part of the issue is Yahoo’s difficulty attracting corporate advertisers that have the budgets (and desire) to go to its network of sites and services. Yahoo needs to change its strategy in that space to improve relations with corporate advertisers and attract more spending dollars for digital ads if the company is going to get back on track for sustainable growth.

Spend Serious Cash on People, Product Development

Yahoo was a minority owner of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company. Yahoo reaped billions of dollars following Alibaba’s initial public offering in September 2014. Yahoo can use those billions to acquire other companies or try out new ideas. But Mayer has said that she believes the company’s ample cash should be used to invest in high-quality employees and develop products internally that will appeal to a larger segment of the population. It’s a smart move.

Use the New Deal to Take More Control Over Search

One of the core components in the new pact with Microsoft is that Yahoo will have the right to enhance the search experience across for users of desktop and mobile devices. That’s a good thing for Yahoo. The company’s search is still popular internationally, but is facing increased pressure from Google and Baidu. Having more control over Web search development means Yahoo can more readily adapt to the changing times in search.

Yahoo Is Building Out Its Content Business

One of the more surprising moves Yahoo’s Mayer has made over the last few years has been to invest in well-known media celebrities to build out her company’s content business. Chief among those hires was Katie Couric, who Mayer tapped as the company’s global news anchor. Yahoo has also brought on several other major personalities, including the former “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell, to improve its content offerings. The idea? Drive more advertising revenue through content that’s exclusive to Yahoo.

More Effectively Target International Markets

Yahoo is a global company, but its presence in several key markets, like China, is troubling. Yahoo needs to work hard at building out its operations in Asia and Europe and be a bigger player in those markets. Once upon a time, Yahoo was the dominant force in search worldwide, but now Google and local competitors are far ahead. Yahoo needs to address that sooner rather than later.

Don’t Forget the Analytics Business

Yahoo has made a series of rather interesting acquisitions in the analytics business with the purchase of such companies as Flurry, Lexity, Ztelic and others. Analytics plays a major role, not only in building out an advertising business, but it can also help Yahoo gauge where user interest and activity is going. Yahoo can then respond with services of its own that appeal to user demands. Don’t underestimate the importance of analytics in the Yahoo product portfolio.

Remember the Value of Core Businesses

All this talk of Yahoo going into new markets and investing in other firms ignores one important factor: The company still has several important platforms, like Yahoo Mail, Messenger, Finance, News and others, that need to be cared for and built out. Yahoo has a core business in those services that can keep the company churning, but it can’t allow companies like Google to steal its users away. Focusing on the time-tested, old favorites at Yahoo isn’t such a bad idea.

Why Does Something Simple Like E-Mail Suddenly Become A Pain-In-The-Tail?


We have already dumped on YAHOO and poor Marissa Mayer enough for her misguided attempts to “change” YAHOO. On the bright side, I am so happy to see a cool, smart woman running a major business instead of dry turds like Steve Ballmer.

Yes, we have tried Google’s GMAIL: for one client, and we hate “reading our email backwards”. Forget them. Don’t get trapped on their system.

Now for HOTMAIL. Used to be nice and simple. Yes, they had OUTLOOK too. Lot of big clients had it and we had to use it even it was a real dud. But we were getting paid to put up with a lot of stupid practices by clients anyway.


While Microsoft did warn users that this was the plan, many non-tech-savvy users were bewildered by the change. They couldn’t find their contacts, calendars and old e-mail messages. They weren’t clear as to how and if they should try to merge their e-mail accounts and whether or not they could keep their Hotmail addresses.

The not-so-surprising takeaway here — and this applies to Windows 8.1, too — is most users don’t like change. Especially change that they don’t perceive as improving their computing experience.

So what is the answer? Hard to change mail systems because everybody has your “old” email ingrained. But where I am going is not to one of the “big” ones, but to PerfectInter.Net


A Tale of Two Cities (One is Virtual)


I deal a lot with two big Internet companies.
One is WordPress.com (actually http://automattic.com/). They host my BLOG. I love them. They try to make things easier for you. If you have a problem, they are VERY helpful.
The other company is YAHOO. I recently wrote about how I cannot log out: Marissa Mayer from Yahoo. I hope YOU don’t get HACKED
Now YAHOO is going from bad to worse as time goes on. Marissa tries to make an annoying change each week as she copies all the bad points of GMail and Hotmail. Sometimes her changes backfire: Bloomberg just reported that in response to user complaints, YAHOO will restore “tabs” in the next few days, letting users easily click between e-mail, contacts and message drafts.  Mayer apologized last week for “compounding issues,” including lost messages, users being shut out and access to other e-mail systems.
ZDNET got a bit more specific:The redesign was former Googler and current Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to force Mail users into using a Gmail imitation — a design implementation that was met with a remarkable amount of opposition and rejection from Yahoo’s typically complacent, longtime, locked-in user base. Last week, Mail’s head honcho Bonforte told employees in a closed meeting that users would have to be kicked in the balls to leave the service. Within a few days, a headline-making service outage drew attention to users’ lost emails (some since the October 8 redesign), which had Bonforte singing a more contrite tune to the public on Twitter and in Yahoo’s embarrassing blog post. The outage and its critical press returns, has been the only event to bring Mayer anywhere near the Mail mess. She eventually apologized for the loss of service, acknowledging little else by way of specifics.
Let’s look at an amazing difference between these two companies:
Yahoo makes everyone work from the office and WordPress is all virtual.
One of the most unique aspects of working for WordPress/Automattic is the company’s distributed model: employees work from wherever in the world they happen to be (or wanted to move to). The transition into this new type of environment, and its effects on how work is done, is something on which many Automatticians reflect.
“I live in the future. My work environment is contained within a computer screen, and I can put that screen anywhere I want.”

WordPress.com is the biggest blogging platform around, and one of the most visited websites in the world. Yet the team that keeps it running is an intimate group of 224 Automatticians (thinking of joining our ranks? We’re always hiring). Among them are the Code Wranglers at work on our great features, the designers who make sure every pixel in your theme is in its right place, and the Happiness Engineers who work around the clock to solve any issue our users encounter.

Among the people working on WordPress.com, you’ll find marathon runners, home brewers, slam poets, and global nomads (to name a few) — as well as many, many bloggers.
Now for YAHOO
Before Marissa arrived on the scene (with her tall black hat and broomstick?), YAHOO was like most modern companies: a lot of employees worked remote from their homes, at least some of the time. Marissa brought YAHOO back to the mentality of the 1960’s and decreed everyone will work in the office. She gave some weak explanation why, but it was probably so she can berate their performance easier and kick them out the door easier.
So what is the answer? Hard to change mail systems because everybody has your “old” email ingrained. But where I would go is not to one of the “big” ones, but to PerfectInter.Net

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