Why are we so excited about Marissa Mayer?
Am I the only woman on the planet who just doesn’t get the fanfare surrounding Marissa Mayer taking on the role of Yahoo! Inc.’s CEO? Okay – she is a good looking, classy female. She’s well-educated and has had a great run at Google. But from my perspective, she is the wrong person to take the helm at a beaten-down, struggling company – namely Yahoo! Inc. Here’s why:
1) Yahoo needs a rebirth. It needs to transcend from out of the shadows of a Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon world. To achieve this feat, it is going to take extreme creativity and a whole lot of new ideas – ideas that literally change the nature of how we use and interact with not only the product – but media (and possibly the Internet) itself. Yahoo! needs an Idea Man or Woman. It needs someone who has birthed an idea so fantastical, it morphed into a Pinterest or social graph. Where on Mayer’s resume does it demonstrate she has this level of creativity? Engineering and creativity are not inclusive. Usually, the idea is born elsewhere and engineering makes it come to life. It’s the IDEAS that matter. Deciding on which shade Google’s search links should be after a series of A/B testing falls short of creativity.
2) I absolutely love Google and many of its products, but Google has not exactly learned from its countless mistakes and Mayer had a hand in how many of these failed products played out. If she applies this mentality to her role at Yahoo!, a company not in a position to withstand a series of BIG mistakes, she and it will fail. Miserably.
3) Google runs on data, on fancy algorithms. Yahoo! is largely a media entity. Some believe applying an analytical mind to the inner fabrics of Yahoo! will work. I strongly disagree. Several former CEOs tried this approach. Where are they today? While technology and data are essential to any Web-based product, Yahoo! should build on its strengths – the primary one being media. No need to reinvent the wheel. It’s there to roll. People like and want to consume and create media on Yahoo! and that is something that should be preserved and built upon. Where is Mayer’s media business experience? It doesn’t exist.
4) Mayer is going to be a mother very soon. And we all know, motherhood changes things. I have the utmost respect for working moms – I am one – but the very nature of having a child of your own changes your perspective. How will becoming a mom affect Mayer and her decisions? Will it? Someone in this position needs to forget there is a life outside of the job in my opinion. A CEO of a company of this size and in this critical of a situation must sacrifice normalcy in order to get shit done. There is no more 8 to 5. There is no more taking time off on the weekends. You have to donate your kidneys to the greater good of the company – when you are CEO of a Yahoo! and have shareholders depending on you. Is this the right time for Mayer?
5) In addition to creativity, Yahoo! needs a strategic thinker and genius marketer. Yahoo! is all over the place trying to be this and that. It needs a more cohesive brand built around a solid, central foundation, a clear marketing message and a strategy that propels the company into a new profitable future. Again, where on Mayer’s resume is all this related experience?
Marissa Mayer is a brave woman. She has a lot of balls to take on this formidable role. I just don’t think she is the right fit for where Yahoo! is today and where it needs to be tomorrow. I wish her the best in her endeavors and hope she proves me wrong. I just don’t see it playing out that way.