Just over a week ago we declared that Yahoo had “picked a winner” by bringing in Marissa Mayer as CEO. She’s still at the top of tech boards like Techmeme, an early sign of acceptance by the tech community that she’ll be able to do something with the beleaguered online juggernaut.
The short answer is Yes. The executive who was in charge of Google’s primary profit center for so long has a history of being able to make money for her company. By focusing on products and not just features, the goal will be to turn Yahoo into something beyond its former self. Search advertising alone will never pay off as it once did. That’s not to say that they will abandon pay-per-click advertising, but her experience will likely lead them down a road that will be more focused on local and mobile advertising, an area that has held her attention for the last two years at Google.
The longer answer is a little more murky. Relevance comes and goes on the internet much faster than anywhere else. A hero today is a zero tomorrow and the risk that Mayer took cannot be overlooked. Sure, she would have had to knock off half a dozen people at Google before being considered for the top post there, but she was amongst the top executives of arguably the most purely powerful company on the internet. Not bad for a 37-year-old. Not bad for a 57-year-old for that matter.
Still, the hope is there. Every move the company makes over the coming months will be put under a microscope, but the fact that she has had so much positive buzz gives her an advantage over other candidates who would not have been able to bring the hype to Yahoo that she did. Young people want her to succeed. Women want her to succeed. Tech bloggers (mostly) want her to succeed. It’s not that anyone is cheering for Yahoo. They’re cheering for Marissa Mayer.
Hope can be a powerful thing. Will it be powerful enough to pull Yahoo from the precipice that it’s on right now? Lest we forget, Yahoo is on a sustained slump that would have killed most companies. Their stocks are low and their company value is a fraction of what it was just a few years ago.
Is she the fearless warrior they need at the top spot? We think so. For once, I’ll put the journalistic integrity aside and say that I hope she and Yahoo can succeed long-term. I’m rooting for them.
At least we know she can dance…
Here she speaks of her endorsement of Ed Lee for mayor of San Francisco. It’s significant because, as we all know, it’s good to have friends in high places when you’re the CEO of a company like Yahoo.