Yes, she wasn't able to keep the ship from sinking. But I do think she put in a good-faith effort.
"Marissa Mayer's failure at Yahoo was caused by pure incompetence, negligence, and laziness of all involved. Nothing about it that deserves praise."
I just wanted to thank you for this comment, because it is important that we get the facts straight. There was not one thing she brought in the company that showed a hint to financial success.
She is overrated at an almost fraudulent level.
Fraud isn't a function of magnitude. A $2 fraud and $2 billion fraud are both fraud.
What matters is intent, the concealment of material facts and the victim's harm resulting from the foregoing.
None of which disagrees with you, it's just an interesting note for assessing what a hypothetical fraudulent CEO appointment would look like. Presumably it would factor in price in the sense of "could a reasonable person assess the CEO's worth at this value?"
Sorry to drag in politics, but I could not resist this cheap-shot.
Turns out it's not.
Part of the power of startups (and Apple) is that they get some economically-irrational commitments from people who care deeply about them, and it's pretty unfair to expect that for other organizations.
That's the only way you can have real change, instead of the moral hazard situation we have now.
- the rich are sensitive to incentives, and big option packages and low taxes are required to align them with the shareholder and make them work hard enough
- the rich are not sensitive to incentives, being so rich that they do not need any extra money, therefore are basically immune to corruption and not really in need of any legal oversight
All the famous rich ceos have tiny salaries and make their money on capital gains. It's more tax efficient to boot!
The human condition is such that we want what we don't have and we can never have enough.
Steve Jobs' personal wealth is mainly from Pixar (acquired by Disney) and less from Apple, especially after SEC shut down the goldmine of backdated options http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2007/01/snow...
Neither needed the money at all. Jobs knew that and didn't take any. Mayer for some reason took as much as possible.
We don't need a narrative of sacrifice to glorify an exec with. She has a family, 100 different wealthy suitors if she were to look, and the board approved the compensation because they thought it was worth the risk of turning the company around. The reason was because she could and had to reason not to.
Mayer was brought into a company in a death spiral, that she had no strong personal investment in, presumably knowing very well that odds of failure were great and will likely affect her future opportunities (I'm sure she'll do fine, but I'm sure she'd have done better if she'd gone to a big success)
How many people would take the Yahoo! CEO job without a significant risk premium over their market rate?
I know, crazy, like what kind of person would accept that kind of money if offered? It really boggles the mind. Hell, I was offered a raise recently, but I told them no way. I won't play that game!
The whole point of FU money (which she already had) is you get to make big decisions, like what you're going to spend the next 5 years doing, without worrying about personal financial impact.
His total grants from 1997 and until death amounted to 5.5 mln AAPL shares (one would have to multiple this number by 7 to account for 2014 stock split).
Apple was a company that Jobs founded and got fired from. Coming back to "save" it would have been a very personal battle, and a way to prove people that fired him wrong.
Why on earth would anyone want to do the same at Yahoo for free (and tie their personal reputation to the success or failure), even if they didn't need the money?
The problem with Yahoo is nobody knows what the company does. I don't see how anybody could have turned what amounts to a couple popular news websites into something like Google or Apple without engaging in some kind of very-low-odds moon shot.
What they probably should have done was liquidated the company. The web sites would have fetched top dollar, and the company has technical expertise in business units that seem to be pretty much wasted at this point.
I am not suggesting that working long hours, even as CEO, is necessary or even good for success but I, for one, would definitely not assume Mayer isn't really trying to do a show of good faith, regardless of how much money Yahoo and its board agreed to pay her.
So, bashing Marissa here would be really, really pointless and sad.
When Thompson stepped down the board were given two proposals. The first, revive Yahoo as a premium tech firm lead by someone like Mayer, or 2. admit that Yahoo is now a media co and double down on the verticals where Yahoo is winning - especially those where you can sell premium ads (Finance, Sport)
The board had delusions of grandeur and saw Yahoo's as still being on the same level as Google rather than taking the safer bet and building out the media company.
Being a media company isn't as interesting - but there are a lot of public, medium sized tech media co's out there who get along just fine (and some even have an innovative breakthrough every now and then - like IAC) - and Yahoo, with the later plan, would have been the best of this bunch.
Yahoo tried to be a media company for years. They called themselves "the premier media company". They had two different CEOs pulled from the media world, Terry Semel and Ross Levinsohn. Levinsohn didn't really have much time, but Semel did. If Yahoo was a media company, they were unsuccessful at it.
I always wanted Yahoo to rebound. I worked there for a few years and my team seemed quite good. But there was always the problem that the company didn't quite seem to know what it was trying to do. It didn't have a real plan for winning back search nor for winning in media, and it didn't have deep enough pockets to dig indefinitely. What it had were initiatives like Livestand that failed to compete with apps like Flipboard and an ad network that never competed with AdSense despite Yahoo actually buying Overture.
News was launched in 1996, roughly a year after Yahoo became Yahoo and only four months after the IPO. News is most definitely an early success.
Yahoo's problem (or one of them) is that they've failed to have any significant new successes in well over a decade (that I can recall at least). The best they've done is maintain their early wins, but those have been eroded, as they completely lost search and mail to Google, much of the news/finance/autos/sports traffic to dozens of competitors, etc.
Still however, comparing it to a company like IAC is quite insulting. Yahoo was something more, it was a chance for a media company to rule the internet once again. It was how tech did media.
If I were Yahoo CEO, and the company had chosen the media empire route, I would have explored a Yahoo Finance 2.0 as a social network. Step one, acquire or clone OpenFolio and Robinhood and maybe buy something like SumZero for its social graph slash userbase. Create a Free and Pro tier. Other companies I have mentioned before as a good fit in this idea are Forcerank and Sparkfin. Motif is another company trying to make stock picking more social. Having a unified messaging layer across the bottom of ALL its properties (like Facebook) would have benefited here too.
Yahoo should have made a push to be THE fantasy company, instead of covering its product in daily fantasy ads, trying to squeeze out the last of the value. Sports is a huge vertical other tech giants like Google and Microsoft and Apple dont play much in. Being cash rich, they could have bought one of the major Daily Fantasy empires, which basically print money. I cant think of many better easy ways to return shareholder value. Again, a messenger bar at the bottom of the screen would have really tied the place together.
Now if I want to talk with my group of friends about my fantasy picks or my stock picks (or my fantasy stock picks in the case of Forcerank) my group conversations carry over between properties. The thing about Finance and Fantasy is they both involve an element of competitive "I know more than you and can make better predictive decisions." Stock Picking and Fantasy Drafting slash Lineup Setting are more closely related mental tasks than they are given credit for. Both are pleasurable when you are right.
I think its odd to say Yahoo went the tech route, because outside her acquisitions, it does seem they doubled down on the editorial media vertical side (tv shows, news anchors, major tech journalists) without creating any sort of modern cms, without actually introducing ANY tech innovation in house.
They also scrapped Yahoo Voices, right as Medium and Kinja and Chorus and Wordpress forged a new era of blogging. Ive said before, Atavist would have been a great fit in their tech/media empire niche. After buying the tech, they should have acquired some really popular high quality independent blogs/bloggers.
So yeah, Yahoo could have given up and become a gambling site only.
click bait and content mills/farms?
- Loeb decides he can make a bunch of money if he can invest in Yahoo!, clean out the board, and get a more compelling CEO in charge.
- Loeb buys 5% of Yahoo! (presumably at a price in the mid-teens) and starts a campaign.
- Loeb ousts then-CEO Thompson and recruits Marissa Meyer from Google to take the CEO job. She is announced in July 2012 to massive fanfare and media attention.
- Yahoo!'s stock rises to $28 or so over the next year. Seeing as how they shipped no new products of note during that time, it's fair to assume this was largely due to Meyer joining the company. In July 2013, Loeb sells off most of his holdings and is removed from the board.
Given this, it seems unfair to bash Meyer for not saving Yahoo!. She was never hired to do that. She was hired to make money for Dan Loeb and did a great job. All the handwringing about "saving Yahoo!" is a fake narrative foisted on the public by the tech press and Yahoo!'s PR people.
Once a company becomes a zombie, there's generally no saving it. If you can get enough people to believe it might happen though, you can make some money.
Also: This reading helps make sense of some of the other weirdness around Meyer's tenure. Why did Henrique De Castro get such a rich contract? Why did Meyer? Perhaps in part because some of the people negotiating those deals (Loeb and Wolf, ex president of MTV hired by Loeb to help with the Yahoo! affair) knew they'd be gone in a year and didn't care about the fallout.
The stock price was largely driven by Alibaba - hence why attributing stock growth to Mayer's appointment was misplaced.
The idea was that you sell off the BABA holding, distribute that to investors and then you end up with Yahoo on it's own which is then pivoted to being a tech company (higher PE's) rather than a boring media company.
Mayer ended up becoming far from the ideal hedge fund CEO. She kept more of the BABA sales for acquisitions than the activists wanted, she spent hundreds of millions on silly recruiting like Henrique De Castro and then spent $2.5B+ on 50+ acquisitions - all of which didn't move the needle and ended up being written down to near-zero.
That's a lot to spend for a company that had a negative value - and Mayer hastened / worsened the situation (hence why Loeb got the hell out of there when offered $29 by Mayer)
She took on the job, promised results, and demanded (and got) enormous compensation. Part and parcel of that is accepting responsibility for failure.
Keep in mind that if she had turned Yahoo around, she would have gotten the credit.
Remember when she was confirmed as a hire, the feeling around the Valley was less of "wow, a new CEO" and more of "how did someone like Yahoo get someone like Marissa". The previous CEOs include alumni from PayPal and AutoDesk, so getting someone as successful was a win for Yahoo at the time.
Not me. My comment at the time was "Fiorina 2.0", a mediocre mid level got lucky.
I don't know whether that sentence is supposed to imply innovation (PayPal) or stagnation (AutoDesk).
London may be in a class of its own, but elsewhere in the UK £35k is considered decent money.
That said, a "Web designer" role and a "Developer" role are two completely different things. £35k is about right for a decent web designer salary; but for a developer, that's more of junior to mid-level role, even outside of London.
Compare http://www.itjobswatch.co.uk/default.aspx?q=developer&l=&id=... and http://www.itjobswatch.co.uk/default.aspx?q=web+designer&l=&...
Also, being the CEO of an "old and out of touch" company with services that only grannies use nowadays leaves you open to lots of undeserved bashing. So bashing her is easy. But she should be bashed if she was a bad CEO (which she wasn't, I think) or if somebody else would've done better than her (a person that most probably doesn't exist). So there's that.
(Yes, most of my comment was facetious. Don't take it literally)
Basically, Yahoo has had exactly two successes: its investment in Google signed in 2001 when Yahoo used Google's search results and Jerry Yang's heroic investment in Alibaba. Everything Meyers did was simply spending that money.
It's easy to spend money, especially when you have a lot and you are getting paid bank.
So are CEOs responsible for the company or not?
Because HackerNews seems to want bank executives to go to prison for actions taken by the company and its employees. However, we don't want to even hold a tech CEO accountable for the financial results of the company because the culture is "stodgy"? One of the CEO's jobs is to change the culture.
Yahoo owns both Flickr and Tumblr which are both popular with younger crowd.
Whatever. Yahoo was already going down, and she just looted it for an order of magnitude more than "f-you money" on its way down, without much steepening its decline. Things end as they always would have, and Mayer retires to the island she just bought.
She tried, well but her Participation Trophy was worth $300 million including Golden Parachute. That is a grave sign!
Yahoo was dying. They were dying no matter who was at the head. And whoever was holding the reins when Yahoo went down would get to be known as the person who killed Yahoo with the appropriate reputation hit. They might never work again, almost certainly never be the CEO of any significant company.
Meanwhile the board needs a big name at the helm. Someone to goose the stock price at the end, someone to guide the company on a smooth glide back down. Someone to take the blame. If the board doesn't get someone big and credible, they lose money, they take the blame.
Marissa Mayer didn't get paid $300 million despite presiding over a sinking ship. She got $300 million to preside over a sinking ship. That was the price of her reputation as a CEO.
Yahoo was dying when I was there in 2005-6 - the internal political structure, in-fighting, and general disdain from the US for anything not made there was terrifying.
But with billions of dollars propping it up, it takes a long time for a corpse to actually fall over.
I mean, Yahoo has essentially failed so there is no way to validate your or my claims, but I disagree very much with this. If Yahoo had focused on its core strengths versus its flipping and flopping between becoming a media company or not, I think it could have become great. They also lost quite a bit of their best talent due to policy changes, work changes, etc.
Honestly I still think there are ways to turn the ship around. It may never become as big as it was before but I see no reason it can't become profitable and stick around for a long time.
What are Yahoo's core strengths? Near as I can tell, its core strength is possession of heaps of Alibaba stock. What core pieces of Yahoo, aside from its Alibaba and Yahoo Japan stock, could be focused on in a way that would make it meaningful as a multi-billion dollar company?
- Trumblr is still huge (arguably mismanaged but still huge)
- Their fantasy football is the largest in the world as far as I can tell. Huge user base.
- Yahoo mail is also huge.
Their core strength is their hugely popular front page and their web applications. Sorta similar to Google in a way. Or even Microsoft and some of its properties. Arguably they could focus on these web products and continue making cash though they'd likely need to downsize a bit.
If this was actually evident, what's the point of hiring her for the position with huge compensation? What's the point of taking the job, and why should that decision deserve praise? It sounds to me like she accepted an impossible task for tons of money. That isn't impressive.
It has nothing to do with her being a women. There just aren't many people who can put up with that endless rubbish.
With Yahoo, you have to give her credit. She has been there for a while and has attempted quite a bit. Saving Yahoo was going to be a totally chance attempt, as its competitors are crushing it in ... everything. From the surface it looked like she was in a better environment overall as well (compared to my Aussie politics stretching example anyway).
I think a company like Yahoo could have, and may still turn itself around. AOL did, mostly by investing itself in news and editorial sites. Maybe Verizon will be able to do something with their data, customers and brand -- and maybe like AOL we won't even realize they're the company owning the articles we're reading or the services we're using.
What are you talking about? She managed to make enough backroom deals to oust a standing Prime Minister. That's pretty strong evidence that she is Machiavellian enough to play the game of politics.
She became PM by playing that game. Her public persona was ruined because she played it too publicly and she should be held responsible for starting a decade long period of political instability.
The Turnbull government has no chance of doing anything other than warm the seats for the next bunch.
So I sort of wish this was only Yahoo we were speaking about, but it's not: it's Australia's Federal Government and every Australian is currently looking into the abyss as the likes of Brandis, Dutton, Morrison, Barnaby Joyce, George Christianson and Eric Abetz destroy our society and economy for their own personal agendas.
You need to watch this three-part documentary to better understand how she came to power: http://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/killing-season/
Are you really suggesting that we shouldn't analyze and criticize Marissa for failing? Why is it important to you to create a safe space for this CEO? This CEO had a very self-confident attitude but in the end got nothing right. There were no signs progress and development with her and the company. She showed no intrinsic focus and absolutely no creativity.
And what are this big risks you are talking about? "we usually celebrate taking on big projects and big risks ..."
All I know is that she got a compensation plan in 2012 for about 120 mio. dollars. If you play in this league you dont get points for "good-faith". Why gets someone who failed such a high compensation and why should it be wrong to criticize and even bash such a person?
I fully expect to be repudiated as a misogynist by a tidal wave of people drunk off this cognitive dissonance, but I simply speak the truth. Marissa was an abysmal CEO, and for years people will try to whitewash that to avoid its ugly stain on female professionals.
Trying to tie this to her gender would require a lot of evidence to be remotly meaningful. Yahoo has been failing for a decade and a half, largely punctuated by a couple of lucky investments (Google and Alibaba).
I also see little evidence of rabid defenses of her. I see some that don't believe she deserves to be crucified for failing to save a company that's been failing for a long time before she joined, and a lot of rabid attacks on her with little substantive.
Instead Marissa squandered hundreds of millions of dollars on random acquisitions and Katie Couric. In my mind there is nothing noble or defensible about coming into a dire situation, throwing a Hail Mary and then shrugging when it doesn't work.
This is arguably true, but the board decided otherwise, and the board represents the shareholders.
And lo and behold: When she joined the share price was below $16. It's now above $42. A lot of that (maybe all?) is the Alibaba holding, but the point is that whether not Mayer did a good job or not, Yahoo! as a whole is still worth a lot more today.
But presumably this is part of the reason they took the risk: Yahoo!'s core businesses were valued extremely low - the total value of the business is tied up in the Alibaba holding. As such spending hundreds of millions to try to turn things around meant betting with a miniscule proportion of the value of the company with a potential for huge payoff if it succeeded, and very little downside.
In retrospect its easy to say she didn't achieve what they hoped. But it's not so easy to say the alternatives would've been better.
I'm sure she did stupid acquisitions. I'm also sure most of Yahoo's CEO's have done plenty of stupid acquisitions. I'm equally sure Yahoo's board signed of on all of them.
The point isn't that she has no blame. The point is that she is par for the course for Yahoo, and there's little indication someone else would have achieved better results.
But I'd hardly call my comment a "rabid defense" of Marissa. I was attempting to set a balanced tone for this discussion. I readily agree that she failed to prevent Yahoo from failing.
The reality that you yourself need to confront is that there are way more people who will shrilly call her "an abysmal CEO" without really weighing the facts.
I wonder: how many appointed CEOs, as opposed to founders, succeed? And how many of them them are appointed to floundering companies, versus say the transition that happened at Microsoft and/or Google? Heck, even Ballmer was a disaster.
How much of the history of failed female CEOs is likely because they get much, much less of the Bezos/Brin/Page/Gates initial growth, I am unsure, but I'd be interested to know.
Reduction in unsubstantiated nasty comments. A better conversation.
> Are you really suggesting that we shouldn't analyze and criticize Marissa for failing?
No, I'm not suggesting that.
> Why is it important to you to create a safe space for this CEO?
> And what are this big risks you are talking about?
Attempting to save a company that appeared at the time to be completely unsaveable.
> If you play in this league you dont get points for "good-faith".
Why not? What's different about that league compared to the one you and I play in?
At the time you wrote this, there where zero nasty comments. Not even substantiated ones.
> Attempting to save a company that appeared at the time to be completely unsaveable.
Why do make that claim? This and similar is repeated here often: "A sinking ship", "Could not be saved even by Jesus", ...
This is completely wrong! Either a company is beyond repair, then no respectable CEO would play the hero here. Or it shows potential for some kind of transformation process, where the company can find a new and successful purpose. In both cases the company is in a fragile state, because it is very hard to measure its true value. It's in a situation that is opposite to a very promising company: there is a chance that this company is underhyped. Yahoo was underhyped and underestimated, probably also by Marissa Meyer.
> Why not? What's different about that league compared to the one you and I play in?
Let me use an analogy here: When you and I are football players, then Marissa would have been our trainer. The problem is that the compensation plan made her also some kind of a Ronaldo.
I'm wondering why people focus on financial compensation so much? Why does how much someone was paid justify more or less bashing, as the case might be?
And what's unhealthy about tone policing? I'll leave aside the way you've negatively framed my attempt to steer the conversation in a more positive direction, and just say that I don't see what the purpose of publicly bashing a well-compensated CEO who didn't have much success is.
Who is this unhealthy for? For her? For us? For future boards of directors who may be trying to attract a CEO to turn their company around?
To me it's because she wasn't taking a risk, she was getting paid massive amounts regardless of what she did. Why celebrate someone who enriched herself as the company imploded and had to lay off thousands of people? There are so many other people worth accolades.
She had all risk removed when they hired her.
It silences discussion by subtly and indirectly labeling any critics as bad guys.
Not all tone policing is bad, HN is the king of good tone policing, I don't think this makes it.
For example, I like your non-tone related points, and I'm glad they were able to come out!
It's simply the issue of gratuitous executive pay. If her pay hadn't been >>100x what a typical SV worker makes I think she'd get significantly less flak. The idea of someone being granted enough money so their great-grandchildren never have to work a day when that person did a poor job after only 4 years on the job just makes people sick. Don't forget some bad stuff happened on Mayer's watch; like 1B user accounts being compromised.
The payment and bashing might be slightly related, but I tend to think it's a minor factor. People focus on financials so much because that's what the western culture is built upon. The American Dream, if you will. However bashing, complimenting, or mentioning someone at all comes with fame. I'm fairly certain people would talk a lot about Marissa Mayer regardless of whether she got paid anything. The ratio of criticism-to-compliments tends to go hand-in-hand with the person's perceived success-to-failure ratio. Marissa Mayer wasn't that successful, and thus she'll mostly get criticism.
Intuitively this seems accurate. Wondering if you know of actual research regarding this though?
To add to that, I think people have a hard time assessing relative success. Imagine being dropped in as the captain of the Titanic after it's hit the iceberg. If you manage to delay the sinking for an extra hour, which allows more people to escape, you are successful even if most people do drown. You're successful relative to some expected value. But drive-by armchair analysts will just see that the ship sunk and a bunch of people died and blame you.
Obviously this situation is much more complicated, since opinions will differ about whether Yahoo was in fact inevitably sinking, or whether a different captain could have helped it survive.
I believe the financial compensation angle is that because she was particularly well compensated, she is perceived to not have much skin in the game. As an aside, I don't think this is especially productive because it is incredibly rare to find someone running a company who isn't deeply emotionally invested in that enterprise, but the perception remains.
Obviously, though the crowd wants to excoriate Mayer I think if folks have a problem with her compensation they should look to the board.
Because it reveals the tenuous relationship between executive pay and company results, and people prefer to take it out on the obvious cases rather than accept that there's little evidence they correlate very well.
I think that it's unjust when people are paid crazy money for doing poor job. As well as when people are paid little money for good job.
No, he directly called her a cunt.
> and I'm hesitant to use it myself for fear of being banned).
Literally no-one on HN has ever been banned for using the word cunt. It's only a problem if you call other people cunts. Here's the relevant mod post: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10016665#10019003
While name calling is completely childish it is most certainly tolerated by other users on HN (Do a search for "is a [insert derogatory word]" site:news.ycombinator.com. Steve Jobs is called an asshole in every HN thread.
For sure ochurch stepped on toes here but one thing he was passionate about is improving the profession of software development and in general the tech industry and he saw MMs actions really harming the profession and the industry. I obviously think HN is worse off without his commentary.
That may well have been the case, but if those odds are 1% and 2% I wouldn't want my compensation to depend on me saving the probably-doomed company.
What if you were the best qualified candidate?
Would it be unethical then?
I don't know if you share my vision, but for me in that moment it felt like the house was on fire, the firetruck was on fire and the fire was on fire.
I don't know if a better job could be made, but at least some public face was saved, and the shareholders bought it until the last day.
Are we giving out an A for effort now? CEOs are hired to achieve results. If they fail, it doesn't matter how hard they tried.
Maybe nobody could have prevented the failure of Yahoo. But that doesn't get Mayer off the hook for being a bad CEO -- she made bad decisions, managed to piss off the shareholders, executive team, and rank-and-file employees, hid major security breaches, and did not succeed at any of the things she tried to do. She had no major positive achievements during her entire tenure as CEO.
The best that can realistically be said about her is that she was a bad CEO stuck in an impossible situation.
At the end of the day, she'll receive multiple millions of dollars for doing and achieving nothing.
Not a bad job of you can get it, but the phenomenon itself seems eminentl, judiciously and justifiably open to criticism to me.
She's just another caricature in the social pattern...
Criticism of her in this context are entirely criticisms of the events surrounding her time at Yahoo, for which there are multiple other examples. The habit corporate boards have of rewarding failure is a problem, but it's not clear how to solve it.
Marissa Mayer didn't do a good job, her first acts at Yahoo alienated the loyal employees that she needed to embrace. I don't know if anyone could have saved Yahoo from sinking but she sure as shit didn't do anything to stave it off.
There's a lot of randomness in business and in life.
CEO compensation increased dramatically at around the same time that the finance sector started capturing a bigger chunk of the GDP, which is around the same time that many large companies created mini hedge funds internally. Maybe it's more to do with that, but the country club networking opportunities can't hurt.
If the YHOO stock was anywhere near 2012 levels (or lower, or zero), her total compensation would look very different.
I can see no analog here for anything a normal human being would recognize as a challenge despite tough odds.
Hell, give me $20 million and I'll take that risk.
Competitive, successful people like winning more than they like money, otherwise people like Larry Ellison wouldn't spend hundreds of millions of dollars on the Americas cup.
Yo'ure no doubt right, but when a majority of society is told to accept that money is "food, shelter, and a decent existence" to most people, and "points in a senseless ego game" to a few, things have gone badly off the rails. Those differences in perspective tend to be resolved violently and badly.
I blame her for allowing the NSA to (illegally) get root access to Yahoo's servers so they can spy on everyone whenever they feel like it with no oversight, for doing it behind the security team's backs (not that it matters much in the grand scheme of things, but also shows what kind of person she is), and (perhaps related) allowing 1 billion of Yahoo accounts to be hacked so easily.
So what does this show us? Beyond her failing to "make great new products at Yahoo", which I guess you could argue no one other than Steve Jobs may have been able to do at Yahoo anymore, it shows that she likes to betray not just her colleagues but also the users at the companies she leads. And in the end she ended up getting paid more than handsomely for all of those failures or malicious actions in which she engaged.
So I'll make sure to never ever use a service run by Marissa Mayer and that everyone I know stays away from a company run by her.
I do think there's something wrong with someone earning massive amounts of money to fail and then everyone saying, "Oh well, anyone would have failed in that role."
Why pay someone huge sums of money if failure is the expected outcome?
Because the people making executive compensation decisions are from a narrow elite class and are the people benefiting from executive
Example with some specifics and nice illustrations:
EDIT: The answers all around yours are screenshot-worthy. Perfect example of what the elites bought with all those donations/visits to universities, textbooks, biased media, and so on. Many still believe they have to earn it in a way that's about merit as an employee of the company. Thousands of years of human history showed nepotism, classism, and other rigging were main ways people got ahead. Then it suddenly is out of the equation for many analyzing success of modern elites. ;)
As bulk of her compensation is locked in stock (negotiated at 2012 prices), it's increasingly hard for her to get compensated less while the stock has tripled in value.
I was just pointing out that there are very few YHOO investors unhappy with the stock moves 2012-2017 (when benchmarked against S&P 500 or whatever else is commonly accepted metric) compared with, for example, Eric Jackson's war against Terry Semel's (and some directors') compensation package while the stock was in consistent decline https://www.law360.com/articles/26456/advisors-oust-yahoo-di...
Because all big C-level positions work this way? Doesn't make it a good idea, or even rational. But humans are of the rationalizing type, not actual rational beings.
We can only see in retrospect that it was doomed to failure.
I'm not 100% sure but I am guessing based on few thing I see in the current code browser side. Finance probably copied a lot of what sports was doing. Sports was ahead of the game a little because it was not as old as Finance.
I know that Angular 1 was not allowed back when it first started to catch on. I am not sure if it was because of the CLA or the license, but I do think there was something legal around patents. Yahoo still has a ton of patents.
Sports was already working on a new framework that I believe predates Angular. Some of that crazy JS was there to support precog, a preloading interface and some other things. Some of it was based on the horrid work of an architect that did not last long after MM started. Still I can't say he did that or she did this. There was a period of trying to get modern that failed before MM showed up. I do know of several folks that did what they could do and made that framework the best they could.
Now to get back to finance. When I was leaving, finance was still in many languages. In 2015 some parts of finance pages where still rendered in C. Yes think sprintf and friends. When you have something like 5 languages rendering a page doing the whole, "we are going to rending in Angular" isn't really an option.
This is the very definition of technical debt. Does it suck? Yes. Is this something a CEO can fix? No. Can we blame one little framework on the demise? That would just be stupid. Technology does not work in a bubble. It works on the shoulders of it's creators and has to overcome the faults of those creators. This is much as is life, we evolve when need be, but until then we live on.
When MM started she had no idea of the technical debt she was going to inherit. Something to keep in mind is that Yahoo invented web at scale. It started on FreeBSD and had kernel contributors even when I started. I think they all work for Apple these days. To help handle scale Yahoo would create Yahoo versions of software via things like kernel extensions or software patches. Nobody was doing these things back in the late 90s, but it was needed. Back then nobody knew what we know now and they literally where making it up as they went along.
The thing is when you are the first to the table it sometimes creates technical issues. Sometime before I started there was a decision to shift from BSD to Linux. That was probably a good decision, not because of the merits of FreeBSD, but because Linux was getting a lot more headway with extra contributors. When you have code that was dependent on kernel extensions and you change kernels you get some pain points. Some are manageable others are not. I don't think anybody knew how painful that transition would be, well maybe Filo did because he was crazy aware of everything. As a side note when I started Filo was maybe a L3 but I think a L4 because tech was just that that devalued. So if he did know he probably didn't have much say in the matter. Even as a major stock holder he is not the kind of guy that throws that around, I really think he cares more about the tech then his bank account. If I had his bank account I probably would be in the same place.
Yahoo also made a somewhat fatal accounting issue prior to me getting there and probably early on. This was probably the right thing at that time, but it morphed into a bigger issue later down the road. They wanted to isolate "properties" or business units financially. To do that each property, such as news, sports or mail had their own hardware and justification for the hardware. This unfortunately creates a hoarding of assets since you never know when you can get more compute or storage. Keep in mind we are are talking pre-VM tech for you young folks and buying a server cost some big bucks. This created a culture or inertia that made to switch to VM very difficult. That wasn't the only thing. If the sports "product" is separate from the news "product" and assets, both physical and talent wise are isolated, then where is the incentive to share? This doesn't mean there was no sharing, there was, but it created a culture of do it your own way to get things done.
When MM started she focused internally at first. If you where in the building you got that. If you where in IT then well you knew there was a laser on you. It was all about getting the simple things first, upgrade outdated laptops etc. Then it moved to getting infrastructure in place. She was trying to shift the culture from mediocrity for developers to a developer and product first standpoint. It then became about reducing technical debt and lifting the barriers between groups. That ship does not correct overnight. There was some point in this that she did have to embrace the media focus and did a few big deals to get media talent, just is just a guess, but the timing is right.
Probably the final nail in the coffin was delivered unknowingly by co-founder Jerry Yang. With all best intentions Yang helped his friend Jack Ma with the Alibaba venture. Instead of a personal investment Yang opted for a joint venture where Alibaba got Yahoo China and some cash and Yahoo got some shares in Alibaba. Well as we all know Alibaba took off and the deal is just epic in terms of ROI. That created a big issue though. When MM took the reigns she would grow the stock price marginally which should have bought time, but Alibaba took over. The stock price became a proxy to Alibaba and the hedge funds took notice. Enter Jeffery Smith and his hedge fund. He did his job, as unpleasant as some of us might think, and went to work on maximizing return. Most of that return is in tax savings so he started working that angle which is ultimately why this sale is going to happen. When a company goes from $15 per share to $40 per share because of a holding, you are and investment company. There is nothing that can be done you are tied to the holding.
When Yahoo hired MM they had fired 2 CEOs in the past year, had two interim CEOs, and was probably looking to just get somebody that had a chance of righting the ship.
This is true, and what Yahoo did in its early days was definitely impressive, but the talent that did it moved on, and was never replaced.
When I joined in 2013, I encountered a lot of systems/processes/whatever that would have been impressive in 2003, but hadn't been updated or replaced in 10 years, and the culture inside Yahoo was still stuck in a weird not-invented-here bubble where a lot of people thought their 2003 tech was still impressive.
Turns out, if you gut the engineering organization over a decade, you end up with a B team, and you're completely unable to attract the A players necessary to keep innovating.
There's a lot of criticism in this thread that Marissa didn't do anything worthwhile, but she sure as hell tried. All those acquisitions? Almost all of them were acquihires, in a desperate attempt to get A players. Most of those didn't stick around very long though, because there's only so much shit and technical debt you can stand, and then the company is out the money, and has very little to show for it. It could have worked, but it didn't.
It's worth note that Facebook also had some similar challenges. They had so much in PHP and if you are an idiot and think just rewrite well then you would be doomed to failure. The advantage that Facebook had a few years back was that the didn't go through a period of removing tech talent in the same fashion that Yahoo did. They also had cash, a lot of cash. They could afford to pay for things like HipHop. By the time Yahoo needed a tech refresh they had already burned the cash and caused the talent to leave.
I know that sounds bleak, but at the same time while I was there after MM I did find really great talent. Some of that existed before she was there. I can think of several folks on tech47 project and they know who they are. They don't really need to be told they are talent. At the same time I can think of many new guys that brought it on. I still think one of the better talks I had was a with the new guy that wrote some of the Android network stack. Without telling names, he was describing the issues between dropping WiFi and dropping cell. One is easier then the other, if I drop WiFi and still have cell I can continue. If I drop cell I can only hope for WiFi. Either case is hard because the stack needs to understand an IP address shift and adjust accordingly. When you have that talent that understands and can code it, then you get things done. Unfortunately with everything else in the valley getting a quick hit and retaining are two different things.
If they had had the engineering talent and budgets to build the kind of shared infrastructure and fundamentals that for example Google did, they would have been in a very different spot.
The alibaba investment was probably Jerry Yang's best ROI decision aside from being a part of starting the company in the first place...
Unfortunately for Yahoo itself that decision was SOOO good that it would eventually consume the company.
Because there was basically no way for the company to overcome how valuable it was as an Alibaba proxy and wall street started to look at all of its other endeavors as just high risk low chance of return gambling with the Alibaba money.
Case in point. A clean, tidy, rational reason why Yahoo failed: it was impossible to save. Blame the company itself.
Of course it's easy to say that. I have much more faith in Google's ability to execute on that front than Yahoo, and look what happened to G+. So who knows if they could have done it right.
When the challenge is... "Try to increase/stabilize Yahoo profits and keep relevant/hip, and, no matter what, we'll give you X millions of dollars." I don't think that's a challenge, let alone an immense challenge.
Start with nothing. No code, no customers, no brand, no employees, no customers, no investors, and very little cash in the bank for runway, and try to build that up to Yahoo's level -- that's a challenge. That's a big challenge.
Being able to parachute into a high status, high privledge, highly paid (no matter what) role, where you can just kind of twiddle the bits and get to spin every more you make as the obviously smart thing to do -- that's easy. Even if you "fail" you still win. Very different from situations where when you fail you... starve, get evicted, etc.
yahoo was a sinking ship already but she illegally fired men because they were men and got rid of remote workers, is that really considered "good-faith effort"?
I remember a few years ago when some of the stuff that Marissa was doing to reshape Yahoo's internal structure were being looked with good eyes and were being replicated in other companies (Bringing in remote people, focusing on some products, etc.) I guess we can all agree that in the end she didn't do the best job but maybe no one else could've done it differently. No way to know now.
My recollection of those events were that Marissa Mayer exercised her privilege to have a daycare next to her office while ignoring the needs of all the parents that worked for her. Those were the events that made me dislike her, it showed antipathy for the people that had stuck at Yahoo.
Can we say something about the Tumblr acquisition?
Some people are referred to frequently by their first names (Sergey, Larry, Joel), some by their last name (Woz, Jobs), some by both or either.
Are you trying to imply something?
> Each of David Filo, Eddy Hartenstein, Richard Hill, Marissa Mayer, Jane Shaw and Maynard Webb has indicated that he or she intends to resign from the Board effective upon the Closing, and that his or her intention to resign is not due to any disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices.
Which indicates that she'll resign from the board, but doesn't say anything about her resigning as CEO. Is that just left off here because it doesn't require SEC disclosure, or is it a possibility that she'll stay?
Altaba will still be holding all of the other assets not sold to verizon so this is likely the best way to move forward for whoever is left working for this not quite dead entity once the sale is complete.
$ host Altaba.com
Altaba.com mail is handled by 10 alt4.aspmx.l.google.com.
Altaba.com mail is handled by 1 aspmx.l.google.com.
Altaba.com mail is handled by 5 alt1.aspmx.l.google.com.
Altaba.com mail is handled by 5 alt2.aspmx.l.google.com.
Altaba.com mail is handled by 10 alt3.aspmx.l.google.com.
$ host yahoo.com
yahoo.com has address 188.8.131.52
yahoo.com has address 184.108.40.206
yahoo.com has address 220.127.116.11
yahoo.com has IPv6 address 2001:4998:58:c02::a9
yahoo.com has IPv6 address 2001:4998:c:a06::2:4008
yahoo.com has IPv6 address 2001:4998:44:204::a7
yahoo.com mail is handled by 1 mta7.am0.yahoodns.net.
yahoo.com mail is handled by 1 mta5.am0.yahoodns.net.
yahoo.com mail is handled by 1 mta6.am0.yahoodns.net.
altaba.com. 1800 IN TXT "google-site-verification=vO3De5z6qb-AeM1GmHkcC5dlWA_cw-7WKN5xhcyFFPM"
(The article link was changed from https://twitter.com/BuzzFeedNews/status/818589759320637440 at around 50 points)