Say what you will about how or the why, but it is kind of sad to see Yahoo go. The impact of Yahoo on the early internet can’t be argued with. As someone who worked there of course I think this didn’t have to happen but it did none the less.
Dan over at the Term Sheet has some good points on it:
5. Speaking of Mayer: I vividly remember the day she was named Yahoo CEO, because it was the opening afternoon of Fortune Brainstorm Tech and she had been expected to speak (on behalf of Google). At the time, I recalled Brainstorm attendees having lots of optimism about her tenure, given their belief that she’d supercharge Yahoo’s new product portfolio, as opposed to expanding its media efforts (in the end, she mainly focused on mobilizing existing product and continuing the media focus via things like digital magazine launches).
Most importantly, however, I felt that she was in a no-lose situation: She was taking over a ship that everyone believed was sinking. If she turned things around, then she’d be hailed as a business genius. If she didn’t… well, of course it sunk. Kind of like what I argued when Cerberus bought Chrysler.
This is not, however, the way things played out in the court of public opinion. A lot of that is on Mayer for a management style that rubbed certain people the wrong way (she was a first-time CEO), and a lot of that is on Yahoo PR for letting her appear on the cover of any magazine that would have her (the higher the profile, the steeper the fall). And, to be sure, her ridiculously large compensation package annoyed shareholders. But, in the end, I stand by my original sentiments. This was a 3-alarm fire that Mayer failed to put out, rather than one she started.
It is tough to argue with his premise on Mayer. Yahoo was going down the drain before she got there. But, I still think she had a swing for the fences strategy on one hand with all the acquisitions but then on the other hand never shipped anything. She also did nothing to cut costs. Any of us who worked there can tell you that Yahoo could have easily cut 5k heads and things would look the same but profit would be up. I was always down for trying this. It would be the advice to any company or startup – cut your costs and you have more time to sort things.
I also wanted to see a big layoff, close some shit and then double-down on what works. Not saying it would save Yahoo but would have given her more time and maybe allowed Yahoo not to sell.
As far as selling to Aol/Verizon – seemed to me to be the logic winner in this from the beginning but I wonder if they can do anything with it. Even for me – Aol is not really a part of my life anymore at all except for a few content sites they own.
Obviously I think Mayer made a killing for doing nothing really but managing the sale but maybe that was all she was ever intended to do but damn – what a payday.
Will wait to see what Verizon does next and I hope they don’t fuck up Flickr. Pretty much the only Yahoo thing I use.