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Verizon closes $4.5B acquisition of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer resigns (techcrunch.com)
744 points by pyprism on June 13, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 442 comments



A list of Marissa Mayer's/Yahoo's accomplisments with her at the helm....

https://marissamayr.tumblr.com/post/161775943139/nostalgia-g...

Even though all of these gains, plus more as core yahoo lost value was from Alibaba this does look impressive at a first glance.....

> We oversaw the creation $43B in market capitalization and shareholder value. Our market cap has gone from $18B to $51B (increasing our valuation by $33B), while we returned nearly $10B in cash to shareholders.

Sadly the list of employee gains seems very spartan compared to the shareholder gains.

For those of you wondering what the Yahoo/Altaba shell contains now...

- approximately 15 percent equity stake in China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.,

- about 36 percent in Yahoo Japan Corp.,

- cash and marketable debt securities,

- certain minority investments and Excalibur IP, which owns some patent assets.


> Our market cap has gone from $18B to $51B

> approximately 15 percent equity stake in China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd

15 percent of Alibaba is about $52.5 billion. I'm not sure why we're even discussing anything else. It's like saying that my contribution to family finances is:

a) not selling my parents' house, which is now worth half a million.

b) having $1.32 in change in a little ashtray by the door.


Well, except that your change in the ashtray is a positive contribution.


Yeah but a negligible one.

As a long time Yahoo mail user, I was very disappointed with Yahoo under Mayer. Firstly they did a terrible job with the Yahoo mail web client; it became slow and clunky and inherited the worst parts of Gmail and none of the good parts. Secondly my account was hacked and to this day my old contacts still receive spoof emails from "me" (though not actually my email address) about weight loss supplements.

I am ashamed to tell people my email address. I started moving to Gmail.


[Yahoo Mail] became slow and clunky and inherited the worst parts of Gmail and none of the good parts.

Yahoo and LinkedIn are basically right next door to each other and employees from one routinely hop to the other, so it makes sense that they share production values.


That's stupid. Google is also walking distance from LinkedIn and had buildings by the yahoo campus as well (tech corners).


You're right, the poorly implemented copies of Gmail features could just as easily been written by Xooglers, but it's a funnier and longer-standing joke that the entirety of LinkedIn is as a hodge-podge of other peoples' ideas.


Google and LinkedIn are swapping buildings, so that will no longer be literally true when the swap is done. But I agree that it's a silly thing to say; Silicon Valley companies do swap employees all of the time.


Oh and the new logo sucks.



I think you should italicize "positive" - "Well, except that your change in the ashtray is a positive contribution." :)

Core Yahoo was actually worth a negative amount when comparing its market cap to the market cap of the Alibaba assets.


So:

c) crashed the car that was worth $50,000 but is now worthless


Not selling is hard too. People underestimate that a decision was made each day not to sell.


Yeah but not that hard c'mon


Tell that to ex-bitcoin owners when it reached $1, $10, $100, $1000, ....


Well it is when you are dealing with huge amount of money.


Really ? You think holding on to a massive amount of shares in a growing organisation is a difficult thing to do ?

And in comparison to actually growing a company that is worth a similar amount its childs play,


Well, look at Microsoft's $150M investment in Apple in 1997:

https://www.engadget.com/2014/05/20/what-ever-became-of-micr...

By 2001, MSFT had 18 million shares of Apple, sold by 2003. Later a 2:1 and then a 7:1 stock split, would give them a value of $36 billion today (if my math and the article's math are correct), but was sold for a relatively small profit instead.

It's harder than you think to hold onto a massive amount of shares in a growing company.


You have supplied one bit of anecdotal evidence, you want me to list all the people/companies who held on to apple shares ?


There are lots more, here's a more systematic study from Fidelity:

" The average investor lost money in the Fidelity Magellan fund under Peter Lynch’s tenure during a period of time when the fund returned around 29% annually."

http://www.innovativewealth.com/wall-street-wisdom/individua...

It's easy to look back and say, wow, if I had invested at that time, I'd have $x m/b, but the temptation to "lock in gains" or "diversify" is really strong. And sometimes it is right!


A systematic study, oh ok which study is that then - there is no link provided ?

The link you provided is just one persons essay.

And sometimes people sell for other valid reasons, they need the cash even though they think its still a good long term investment.

The original point was that yahoo and marissa meyer hardly set the business world alight by holding (not even buying), just holding, alibaba shares.


> A systematic study, oh ok which study is that then - there is no link provided ? The link you provided is just one persons essay.

Well, that makes two more links than you've provided.

Sorry, can't find an original source link online (it was from before the interwebs, after all), but here's another with more quotes from Lynch, and google will find lots more:

http://ivanhoff.com/2016/10/23/five-market-insights-from-pet...

Yahoo definitely was successful with the Alibaba investment, whether through luck or good decision making - though I agree, the rest of their decision-making lends weight to the "luck" evaluation.

No dispute at all that they showed no competitive advantage in managing their actual business.


Two more links than I provided ? Um, right. But I am not claiming to have evidence from a "systematic study".

There must be millions of people around the world who have bought and held growing assets, my fucking dad did and he is no warren buffet.

I have absolutely no back up evidence of this, but you don't either. One blog, now two blogs neither of which are peer reviewed or provide any form of source data. This second blogs just quotes someone else.

Its hard to hold on to a growing asset ? I really don't think it is. Unless you desperately need the money for something more important.


Even someone like Warren Buffett complains that he has sold some his investments too soon.


Yeah. He also made a gazillion dollars holding.


Yeah but even someone like Buffett sells too soon which is what happens when you are dealing with huge amount of money.


You missed the $10B returned to shareholders.


You can thank Jerry Yang for the market cap increase since he bought the alibaba stock. They could be worth twice as much if they haden't sold 1/2 their stake back to alibaba.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2014/09/30/how-jerry...


It's even worse than that.

Alibaba forced Yahoo to sell a sizable part of their position against their will, under threat of what might happen otherwise.

Then Alibaba, specifically Jack Ma, stole roughly $30 billion from Yahoo and Softbank by removing Ant Financial (and directly transferring ownership to himself [1]) from Alibaba without proper compensation to Yahoo and Softbank. You can't do anything about that sort of extraordinary theft in China, so that was that. And now about half or more of Ma's wealth is made up of what he stole from Yahoo and Softbank shareholders in that maneuver (out of his $40 billion, roughly $20-$21 is Alibaba, the rest is Ant Financial).

[1] per Bloomberg: "Ma controls Ant Financial through two China-based holding companies, Jun Han and Jun Ao, which own 42 percent and 34 percent of Ant Financial respectively, according to Alibaba's 2015 annual report."


I forgot about that. From what I just re-scanned, you aptly phrase it as "under threat of what might happen" if Bartz (former YHOO CEO) had fought it out.

From my crude timeline (below), I'm assuming that YHOO was more concerned about Alibaba (PrivateCo + Chinese jurisdiction) embezzling the rest of the assets, not that Alipay was extremely valuable and en route to becoming the most valuable private company in the world -- which it did!

2014: Alibaba goes public with IPO...

2011: Alibaba spun off Alipay and settles with Yahoo for 37.5% of Alipay (with $2-6B contingency clause should Alipay undergo a liquidity event.) This is after Jack Ma got tapped on the shoulder by the Chinese government and told he needs to comply with new regulations for third-party payment services. Or at least, that's Ma's story.

2001: Yahoo purchased 43% ownership of Alibaba in exchange for Yahoo China and $1B


I don't really understand the Ant Financial part or what the threat was. Could you elaborate further?


The CEO of Alibaba decided that Alibaba would give away half of its assets to the CEO


Can someone explain how Yahoo's valuation increased by $33B, and yet it was sold for only $4.5B? Was Yahoo terribly in debt when Marissa took over? Or does the metric for valuation have no basis in reality?


Most of Yahoo!'s value was in their assets, not their operating business. The operating business was sold to Verizon. The assets were spun off as "Altaba".


Ah, thanks! That makes a lot more sense.


By my read, the list of accomplishments for customers is notably short of anything positive that Yahoo did during Mayer's tenure, except for the fantasy sports. Non-rhetorical question: do people really think she did a good job because of how she managed the negatives?

I don't follow Yahoo! that closely, so the below is primarily based on headlines I've seen in the past few years... let me know if I have butchered any of the details. The bulleted points quote Mayers' statement.

* We became 1 of 3 internet companies in the world with more than 1B monthly users * We grew our monthly mobile users to more than 650M (one of the largest in the world) by launching and improving our products for mobile devices

Translation: We rode the wave of massive Internet trends, with negligible profit taking, and are now taking credit for the aforementioned trends, which every global Internet company experienced.

* We dramatically focused our product strategy, dispensing 150+ subscale products and features

Translation: We admitted that a large part of our holdings/investments were non-performing or ill-advised.

* We invested in search, building an offering that drew on strengths from Microsoft, Google and Yahoo, to provide dramatically improved search to our users and attract impactful partnerships, like Mozilla

Translation: We admitted total defeat in the business most consumers still think of as defining us, to the point that we now resell the services of the competitors who won.

* We fundamentally improved Yahoo Mail, completely rewriting much of the infrastructure to provide a far more flexible and reliable system, while creating a robust mobile offering. Mobile Mail recently surpassed desktop Mail in daily users, which shows the power of the product and the platform we reinvented

Translation: After taking for granted one of the few Yahoo products with a lot of users, we finally started adopting the UI patterns that allowed our competitors to outdo us in new user acquisition. But we managed to make headlines for confusing/tricking users who wanted to leave after massive security breaches.

* We invested in our homepage and key verticals – news, sports, finance, and lifestyles – with each remaining as the go-to destinations in their categories. And, they have found new followings on mobile through the Yahoo app, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Sports, and Yahoo Fantasy. It’s hard to believe, but, in 2012, we didn’t have any of these 4 now-cornerstone apps on iOS or Android, we weren’t developing native apps, and we didn’t use these sought-after brands outside of desktop. Today, our users collectively spend an equivalent of 1,400 years on these products EVERY day.

Translation: We avoided losing some key properties that people used think were worth a lot before Google came along. Plus fantasy football!! We found a way to say many millions people use or sites daily, which sounds ever more impressive to people who are bad at math.

* We bolstered our security defenses with cross-company initiatives like SSL, HTML5, Account Key, and HTTPS

Translation: We started improving security, mostly after some of the largest and most publicized security breaches in history.

* We committed to and invested in technical excellence in our architectures, reducing user-impacting incidents by more than half over the past 5 years

Translation: we fixed a lot of bugs in our products.

* We won 2 Apple Design Awards in 2013 and 2014, and put unified product design front and center with Fuji

Translation: A company who beat our pants by almost every measure in the marketplace, said we made 2 good things, which are not worth specifically naming... the important thing is that Apple liked them, even though they apparently killed off the Apple Design Awards after commoditizing "flat design".


The Apple Design Awards are a thing.

They just announced some 2017 ones recently.

https://developer.apple.com/design/awards/

Of course the point stands. Shareholders don't exactly care whether you win design awards unless it brings in cash money.


Hell with shareholders! They only care if the next guy is doing better than they are. It is because of shareholders Yahoo became a stagnant piece of Internet relic.

Mayer came in and played catch-up and succeeded.


Good to know, though... thanks.


Search isn't Mayer's fault is it? Microsoft and Yahoo made their 10 year deal before her tenure.

She mentioned a few purchases in the list. Not mentioning most did nothing and Tumblr specifically cost $1B and has had the majority of it written off by Yahoo. But the purchase of Brightroll and possibly Flurry were good ones.


Just gonna point out the first person to say something smart.


Thanks :)


> We bolstered our security defenses with cross-company initiatives like SSL, HTML5, Account Key, and HTTPS

Wat. HTML5 is a security measure now?


Sure it is. Replacing the main use cases for Flash with native HTML5 video and Canvas elements is a big win for security. That wasn't fully possible for sites like Yahoo with a lot of legacy users until just the past couple years.


And was that before or after they allowed the NSA access to their servers?

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/yahoo-government-...


Mayer deserves no credit for Alibaba's value so that should be discounted from Mayer's "successes" at Yahoo.


A CEOs main job is resource allocation. She deserves a lot of credit for not selling Alibaba shares. There were lots of voices saying sell it before it's too late over the last few years.


Employees had stock options. The stock tripled in a relatively short time. They did well.


> Sadly the list of employee gains seems very spartan compared to the shareholder gains.

Didn't shareholders get stock options as part of their package?


Those accomplishments are mostly things they attempted, not successful outcomes they achieved. Like bragging about building​ products that consumers didn't buy.


Why is the CEO credited with market capitalization? They don't have anything to do with it.


Market cap = share price x shares

How would you measure a CEO's performance of a public company if not share price?


>"How would you measure a CEO's performance of a public company if not share price?"

Stock price is most certainly not the only dimension by which to measure CEO performance. In fact relying solely on that metric is exactly what fosters our current culture of absurd CEO compensation packages.

Both "Operational Impact" and "Leadership effectiveness" are equally important considerations[1].

Quoting from the source:

"Operational impact. Operational impact refers to the CEO’s influence on the company’s effectiveness in operational areas, such as customer satisfaction, new product introduction, or productivity enhancement, and how well the firm implements its strategy. Operational impact measures often give a better indication of a company’s underlying potential to create value because they are directly related to the immediate stock price, which is subject to market-wide volatility. While still subject to external and internal forces outside of the CEO’s immediate control, this type of performance is more closely related to the CEO’s actions.

Leadership effectiveness. Leadership effectiveness addresses how well the CEO carries out his or her responsibilities, both in terms of executing specific role responsibilities—identifying a successor, meeting with key customers and investors, developing a long-term strategy—and the quality of those actions—communicating with external stakeholders, energizing the organization, and gaining the confidence of investors.Rivero and Nadler (2003)."

Source:

[1] https://saylordotorg.github.io/text_corporate-governance/s10...


Sure, but these factors, at least in theory, are reflected in the stock price.


I guess not necessarily. Maybe given a lot of data, over a long period of time, you could see some of it reflected. But factors such as overall stock market performance, growth due to the market itself, like if mobile grew 500%, you'd expect all stock related to that market to grow also. You might also have artificially inflated bubbles, though you could argue a CEO that can inflate the stock might be good, if you're looking into a quick turnaround, in the long term, it could hurt the business more so.

Even with those out of the way, it undermines the contribution of other employees, like CTO, CFO, the VPs, etc. Unless the CEO was the one who contributed to their recruitment.


Over the long term the delta between company X profit and similar company Y's profit. Granted this does not really work over less than a decade, but if BP, Shell, and Exxon move in lockstep then none of the CEOs are doing an exceptional job even if all three companies are wildly profitable.


>delta between company X profit and similar company Y's profit

If that were true then Amazon is doing terribly under Bezos.

Profits over time is an incomplete metric for measuring company success because CEOs can decide to invest it all back into capex.


That depends on how you calculate profit. Amazon has growing assets which is profit even if they don't pay taxes on their profit.

This is not limited to physical assets, if you do R&D and produce a valuable drug patent then you don't need to pay taxes on that value yet, but actual value was created.

Stock is at best a proxy for what you actually care about.


You're mixing concepts:

* Profits = Revenue - Expenses

* Assets + Liabilities = Equity

New asset purchases are expenses and not profits. Equity (total market cap) is an estimate of the value of the company, including assets and outstanding liabilities.


If you rent out a property for 30 years at same rate as your total expenses including mortgage payments then sell it after that point your profit is not actually zero for 30 years then the full value of the house on the final day. There are actually a lot of different ways you can record such a transaction each of which have different trade-offs.

This is also why asset depreciation is considered an expense. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depreciation However, it may also be recorded as income with the initial purchase being considered an expense.

PS: There are an insane number of useful ways to run your personal books, and a few legally required methods in various situations. But, IMO your goal should be match the underlying economic situation of your enterprise not simply move numbers around based on an abstract formula.


Assets - (External) Liabilities = Equity


How do you differentiate that from "all three CEOs are doing an exceptional job"?


Well it's by definition not exceptional if all comparably placed CEOs are performing the same. :) But, nitpick aside, I agree there's a flaw here, since it doesn't differentiate between the CEOs performing "to spec" or under spec. Though, when you get to have an agglomeration as big as a large multinational, there have to be serious missteps or moments of brilliance to really differentiate a bad and good CEO. Otherwise, it's hard to tease out the relationship between company performance and market share, entrenched employees, quality of invested capital, etc.


They would not be moving in lockstep.

Basically, companies are never actually identical so optimal moves for every company is going to be slightly different and this will compound over time. However, if each company is making the same moves then and getting the same results then none of them are making optimal choices.

Consider defense contractors may all be in the same market, but they have different contracts. Farms on the other hand are selling a commodity and are often mostly just at the whims of market forces.


It is much easier to compare companies that sell identical commodities.


Well let's start with that logo redesign.




For some reason, people used to think a track record of profits was relevant.


That's pretty outdated :-)


PROFIT.


> How would you measure a CEO's performance of a public company if not share price?

Wow... um, how about profit, it is a business after all. Business isn't about the share price.


Profit is a terrible metric. Because profit = revenue - expenses, and the easy way to increase profit is to cut expenses like R&D. Good companies pour nearly all their free revenue back into expansion and R&D, which is why Amazon has small profits but a constantly growing lineup of popular products and services.


In that case, why not go the extra mile and register as a nonprofit? After all, if you are not generating profit, why go to all the trouble of having shareholders and the like?


Reinvesting profit doesn't make you not profitable, it just means you've decided to grow with your profit rather than extract it. Amazon doesn't have small profits, they've just plowed their money into growth.


You're confusing profit with revenue. By definition Awazon will have small profits if they put most of their revenue into growth.


No, I'm not confusing anything. What they're putting into growth are undeclared profits, that's a simple fact. When a business subtracts the cost of doing business from revenue, the remainder is profit, regardless of whether that profit is declared as such or whether it's put back into the business to grow it and thus avoid taxation. They could not "grow" if there weren't any profit left over after costs, just because you don't declare taxable profit doesn't mean you didn't have profits.


Business is almost always all about share price for the shareholders, who are the ones who set a CEO's salary (via the board). A drop is share price can diminish or even wipe out any dividends a company might pay out of profits. Many companies don't pay dividends at all (reinvesting profit for growth), so the only possible gain a shareholder has in those cases is through capital gains from selling stock.


> Business is almost always all about share price for the shareholders

And there's what wrong with the world in one short sentence. The market was supposed to be about raising capital so companies could go out and earn profits, the company shouldn't worry or care about its share price in the secondary market, it should be taking the capital and making good business decisions that lead to making profits. Letting the share price be the metric that decisions are made on is letting the tail wag the dog and leads to short term quarterly thinking and bad decisions all around; it's not how a good company is run. Profits lead to good companies which lead to good share prices, you aim for profits and good share prices are the result, not the other way around.


well, I was trying to be specific :) - 'the shareholders'. It's not (usually) that way for 'regular' employees and customers, who typically care more about the mission of the venture (if they care at all :) ). But in the context of CEO/executive pay, the shareholders have an enormous influence - they're the ones providing the incentive and direction, in their own self-interest. That's the way the system is designed from bottom to top.

Some companies controlled by a small number of investors (typically founders) may have other more socially constructive priorities, but I think in even many of those cases, it's lip service, and the real reason those things are priorities at all are because it's 'good business' (it will be better off for the shareholders financially).


> the company shouldn't worry or care about its share price in the secondary market

But "the company" is literally owned by people who buy & sell portions of it in the second market. There are only two reasons to buy shares of a company: dividends and price gains. Owners of company first and foremost want their investment to appreciate not depreciate, ergo company cares about share price first and foremost.


And that's the problem of managing a public company, share holders care about the wrong thing; they've confused the tail with the dog which is what leads public companies to do stupid shit that hurts the business long term to pump up the share price short term. Look, I don't need you to explain how companies work, I'm fully aware, you don't seem to realize I'm critiquing how they work, I'm not lacking in understanding, I'm simply pointing out how the incentives are perverse and lead to companies doing the wrong thing.


Market cap not something attributable to the CEO, anymore than it's attributable to the Janitor. Nowhere in that equation is the CEO actions. They don't determine share price or number of shares. Share price isn't correlated with CEO actions.

Janitors at Yahoo also presided over a 33B growth in capitalization.


> Share price isn't correlated with CEO actions.

> Janitors at Yahoo also presided over a 33B growth in capitalization.

So then who's responsible for making the changes at a company that result in investors paying more for a piece of the company? Investors are willing to pay more for companies with cleaner toilets?


Ask the folks over at Alibaba, they'd be the ones. The main CEO contribution was holding onto an appreciating asset. Success through inaction -- my life dream.


Do you understand how management works?

You're expressing a very naive view on the subject.


And perhaps a deeply cynical one.


How is it naive, exactly?

If Marissa Meyer orders everyone to work from home, then that can be attributed to her. She can take credit for that. It was her action. But if the stock price goes up $5 today, there's no way to show it was a result of ordering everyone to work from home. If you want to make the argument that Meyers actions led to 33b in market cap growth then make that argument. What did Meyer personally do that caused the growth in market cap, and how?


Your original assertion was generic; that a janitor has as much impact on market cap as a CEO. So let's stick with that.

Consider: the CEO of Ford decides Ford will no longer sell petrol based cars (getting the board to go along with it too) and then executes that strategy.

If it succeeds then the market cap of Ford will increase. If it fails then it will decrease.

On the flip side, no matter how clean a janitor can make the facilities, he can't dictate corporate strategy and Wall Street doesn't care how clean Ford's bathrooms are.

This doesn't diminish the importance of a good janitor, but let's be honest about the limits of their impact.


Sold Yahoo to Verizon.

"Yahoo stock was up by 8.5% at the time of writing." http://www.businessinsider.com/yahoo-verizon-sale-approved-2...


I agree, the fact she got them to pay so much is quite impressive. I definitely cant see that much value in whats left but I guess the Verizon board was somehow able to.


But the stock price could have fallen. She should be credited with negotiating the deal and selling the company for 4.5B, and when she resigns the market cap isn't going to drop. She's not responsible for the market cap at all.


If you owned a share of the company, why would you sell to another investor for less than Verizon agreed to pay? Share prices rose 8.5% directly as a result of the price she negotiated with Verizon.


Her mega-salary, like that of other comparable executives, is decided by other mega-rich people. It's no hardship for them to hand her (one of their own) enough cash to buy a small town.

Let's ponder that $260M compared to every time an outgoing job offer was dialed down from $145K to $135K. Or when the yearly bonus for a rank and file is a healthy $25K (1/1000th her accumulated comp).

Sour grapes? Yes, and why not? We're all giving our lives to these same companies.


She was given $30M in restricted stock to get her to walk away from being owed that much at Google. Then they gave her some incentives in stock options (valued at $22M if yahoo stock increased by something like 8% a year for a decade), because otherwise why would she take the job? Instead Yahoo stock tripled and that created her $260M.

Now she may not have had a lot to do with the stock increase, but she certainly didn't screw it up. Her compensation was mostly incentive based, which is what you want for a CEO.

CEOs aren't going to be paid like an engineer. They probably are overpaid. But for shareholders, offering a tiny part of the upside from a stock increase is a small amount to pay when it the stock appreciates strongly. The bigger problem is when it doesn't.


> offering a tiny part of the upside from a stock increase is a small amount to pay when it the stock appreciates strongly.

A $2500 bonus ($250 million divided by 10k employees) is also a small amount to pay.


$250,000,000 divided by 10,000 people is $25,000 per person, not $2,500 per person.


Right you are!

Point is that I've been reluctant to take certain kinds of jobs because the company seems unserious in different ways (building a good product, providing career opportunities, etc.). Paying more, in bonuses or salary, alleviates these concerns for me.

There's a lot of talk about recruiting good CEOs through better pay. At least in some organizations, the ability to recruit engineering talent (or at least engineering leadership) is just as paramount.


> she may not have had to do with it

Yahoo was; iirc a negative asset on the balance sheet and Japan and Alibaba were only drivers of actual value. Given how much Yahoo had to pay to entice her, in hindsight paying $1.00 for a carrot at stop and shop to be CEO of Yahoo would've had the same result until they went into sales negotiations


The thing is: she actually did help create some of that value.

Before she got there, Carol Bartz was the chief. She had royally FUCKED UP the relationship with Alibaba. As a result, BABA refused to go public until it got back the shares from Yahoo; and, in fact, Jack Ma took Alipay out of the consortium in a fit of anger, without even consulting Bartz.

In short: the relationship was in dire straits.

Mayer comes in, smoothes things over, strokes Ma's ego and next thing you know, Yahoo gets to keep most of the shares, BABA goes public and Yahoo's value skyrockets. Mayer had absolutely everything to do with this.

Edit: for more reading: https://techcrunch.com/2010/09/12/bartz-in-a-china-shop-has-...


You don't know that a carrot couldn't have accomplished the same thing


Yes I do, because carrots can't talk.


That would have been a bold choice. I remember the guy who played Trapper John on MASH was talking on one of those stock pick shows back in the tech bubble days. He was mocking the idea that the CEO of GM should expect compensation to put him on par with the CEO of a company like Oracle or Microsoft. His point lacked the carrot but he essentially said anyone could be CEO of GM. The company runs itself.


> But for shareholders, offering a tiny part of the upside from a stock increase is a small amount to pay when it the stock appreciates strongly. The bigger problem is when it doesn't.

This is how most organised religions work.


> We're all giving our lives to these same companies.

No. We are not. Many of us work for ourselves. Or at the very least, choose who we work for very carefully. If you are not satisfied with your position in life, by all means, act on that. Don't give your life to a company you do not believe in.


True, but it is very hard to work for yourself these days. There is a reason why small business creation is at an all -time low [1][2].

Big corps (and their lackeys in Congress) would like us to "give our lives to some companies", not our business.

Here is how they do it:

- make it hard for companies to hire consultants/contractors on a corp/corp basis - you need to go through a third-party corp sucking away 30% of the billing rate

- increase regulatory burden keeping startups from going IPO and letting bigger corps just swallow some of the promising ones, thus growing even bigger

- bail out the selected "too big to fail" corps

- raise healthcare premiums - affecting self-employed rising 15% a year for the many years now.

[1]http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/08/news/economy/us-startups-nea...

[2] https://www.wsj.com/articles/shrinking-support-for-small-bus...


- make it hard for companies to hire consultants/contractors on a corp/corp basis - you need to go through a third-party corp sucking away 30% of the billing rate

Can you explain the mechanism by which they do this?


I would add that people who fooled themselves into taking expensive college loans for an overpriced degree they probably didn't need is trapping them financially and preventing them from having any ability to start a business.


I believe in Google, not dumb enough to work there ;) I'd be a doctor if I felt like throwing away my time.


Though obviously your comment is at some level in jest, why do you feel it's a dumb move to work at Google?


It seems alot of the critcism is focused on Marissa Meyer but I'm more interested in understanding how Yahoo got to such a bad state where they had to ask Marissa Meyer to come rescue the company, why it was in such dissarray when she got there and what led to her inability to save the company, from a logistical and business standpoint as opposed to just the constant banter about her being a horrible person and her salary being more than everyone elses (I never heard this criticism about the previous Yahoo CEO who let the company fall to pieces before she got there despite having similiar income)

Also, on a separate note, I've noticed multiple multibillion dollar companies who fall into disarray, have CEOs sit quietly in the background, hire a woman to come in and try to save it when to me the finances, business portfolio but most importantly jaded work culture and workforce of thousands of people seems hard to face, and then I see these women get relentless criticism, one particularly being related to their salary, which is comparable to the men previous to them in their position as well as men all over the world who earn a disgusting amount more than they should for their contributions as leaders of their organizations, but I only ever see woman CEOs in the spotlight for making too much money. Is there a slight bias here or is it just me?

Edit: I'd also like to add that I'm not rephrasing your comments as Marissa Meyer hate, just the thousands of non stop comments and general immediate focus on her income and failures as opposed to the failures of yahoo as a company that led to there being a new CEO (male or female) in the first place and what was faced during that time.

From what I know, Marissa Meyer worked many late nights for months going through every line item cost trying to understand what noone was hired under a man to summarize in the line item costs while she was pregnant, but the only news headlines I saw was how unfair it was to her employees that she was going to have a nursery in her office while asking her employees to not work remotely, when I'm pretty sure that decision was made purely based on her line item evaluation and the evaluation that the culture was lacking the accountability other software companies who had remote workers adhered to.

Nonetheless, everything she does or attempts to do seems to be immediately commented/overshadowed by how much money she makes or how its unfair she can afford childcare when noone else can. This is really quite bizarre to me being a woman because I never see overwhelming responses about a man making too much money or their negligence to employees about their ability to take care of their children (or criticism for having or not having nurserys in their offices because obviously why would I man need that when there is a presumed woman at home taking care of them?). Is there a relevance to this and why does it seem to overshadow and be constantly associated with everything she does despite not being the case for every other CEO who has been at the helm of a failed company?


There are countless articles on male CEOs being overpaid.

Recently there was even an article on how Apple's new headquarters doesn't have childcare facilities despite having a gym, orchid, cafes galore etc; a reflection of the male 'visionary' who created a company to reflect a vision of a world where childnren don't exist (too messy!).

I suggest that rather than the world being unduely harsh on Yahoo!'s former CEO, it is an unfortunate instance of selection and (un-)survivorship bias. There are simply less female CEOs. The fact that Yahoo blew itself up and the CEO is leaving with a quarter of a billion in incentives is noteworthy, and it doesn't really matter who was at the helm. It would be hard to imagine many people relishing the idea of converting a declining Yahoo back into a google competitor back when they were hiring


> a reflection of the male 'visionary' who created a company to reflect a vision of a world where childnren don't exist (too messy!).

I'd love for a quote somewhere from this visionary to reflect this statement. If it doesn't exist then this is misandrous propaganda.


because it's binary, and you're either male and hate children, or female and love them?


I definitely agree with you there. I think what I was commenting more on, and I think I responded more adequately in some other responses below, is I feel like (and maybe I do just tend to notice it more) that this criticism has been there far before Yahoo officially failed, and since she has come to Yahoo .

I definitely agree with you about the survivorship bias, and echo somewhat below, then that with the independent fact that women are already a minority in tech, along with the independent trend that in tech or any industry, the community is going to always tend to notice extreme failures and successes in the tech industry, with the middle array of companies being a blur of comings and goings with some lasting over time and gaining a reputation over time, but not necessarily getting the headlines unicorns do, or the consistent focus that "one of the big ones" do, like Yahoo as we all know.

Therefore, with the few successes and failures we are idealizing or keeping up with (last year and the year before it was snapchat and it seemed impossible without even trying not to know what the most recent headlines were, and I dont even live near the valley, and there is always a unicorn and their weekly mishaps are huge focuses of steps forwards or backwards for the company, their leaders as individuals, and the direction of that niche in tech as a whole) so obviously in this situation its a big deal regardless of whether Mayer was at the helm, but yes being a minority regardless of whether theres any kind of bias just makes it stick out that she is a woman more.

I agree with you there. If I had to describe what I (and openly admit is not technically accumulated statistics) have (and maybe due to my own subconscious confirmation bias) noticed, by reading a ton on here for years and not just articles about females in tech, but also others, I get the vibe from the comments that there seems to be, not a desire, but almost a subconscious curiosity, almost eager expectation even if its not hoping, but a waiting for females to fail. The headlines and the comments always seem to be a tad preempetive in comparison to male CEOs who do receive alot of criticism but it seems only after a series of undeniable mistakes begin to pile up.

Again, I can't really prove it, and I'm not hating on anyone or accusing anyone of anything, it just seems like there are alot of people intensely keeping track of females, and I guess their minority status, along with the glass cliff https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass_cliff

concept another reader pointed out, just the likelihood female CEOs end up in the spotlight taking ownership when failure happens seems to be the majority of all female CEOs in tech I See (Im leaving out many female CEOs of startups doing well and killing it, and focusing on, as I described, kind of the big set of companies that consistently pop up in tech news).

Its very plausible that all this happens just based on the circumstances and no bias is needed for it to appear to be more pointed and intense.

That being said, I don't want anyone to take away that I'm accusing anyone or any community of being sexist or deliberately anything. I've read Sheryl Sandbergs book Lean In about being a female leader in tech, and I really appreciate her non victimizing philosophy of focusing how women can grow, and change in male dominated environments, and challenge their own perspectives, as opposed to writing a book about how awful everything is for women in tech and how its all a man's fault.

In general, I find despite the many comments I've received on this entire thread today, the community and our conversations on female related things to be very positive, and productive.

Unfortunately, the bad situations on the news do really suck, and the entire topic of sexism is approached with a "I dont want to be associated with anything related to that" reaction on both sides, so it makes it hard to enter any kind of commentary, even if its objective and feedback seeking, without it being polarizing or putting everyone on the defensive. Thats understandable since many examples are being made out of men in public, but I personally think it would be more productive if more males and females felt safe casually sharing their opinions, feeling and observations with an open mind to the other side. I feel like alot of it is subconscious and alot of it can be fixed if people just open up, but usually that is not how things can or need to go in a professional work environment, so this is actually a good place to have those conversations. I find a majority of the culture that reinforces sexism is unintentional and conditioned behavior and does not reach the threshold of being character defining and just an area of growth in perspective for both genders just like any other kind of growth, change and development in life where (in this case females in tech) there are diverse and new experiences you have to navigate and differences of backgrounds and opinions need to be considered.

I know from talking to my male friends in tech, alot of them are good guys, and kind of scared to approach these conversations because they have had experiences where women get really upset for them not understanding their perspective, and I relate to those women and understand how perpetual emotional isolation intentional or not can be frustrating to no end, but I also see alot of frustration boiled up and taken out on say the person who genuinely does not understand the womens perspective even if that females perspective is really based on non ideal previous experiences and the trauma from that makes it hard for these females to calibrate how to protect themselves from further hurt and devalidation going forward. From these experiences, and given my industry and college, the fact that 99% of my friends are male, I understand and value the male hesitation to enter these types of conversations when they have previous experiences of their own feelings of being devalued and their perspectives being invalidated and undermined.

I think everyone needs to try to be more understanding in most cases but I can't ever tell anyone the intensity of their feelings are unjustified. You really never know what someones been through, so its best to try to draw out common ground in a way thats non polarizing and nonjudgmental, but also safe for people to feel they can have validated emotions. I don't see that happening much in American society as a whole unfortunately.

In general, in politics, gender and otherwise, we kind of suck at that in America but I hope the polarizing judgment outside of a few crossing the line individuals can be separated from a broader and safer evolution of conversation about potentially sexist outlooks as constructive feedback just like any other type of debate or feedback.


>I only ever see woman CEOs in the spotlight for making too much money.

That is complete crock and you know it. You know it. Overpaid CEOs has been a meme for years and almost exclusively focused on male CEO because most CEOs are male. Why propagate this kind of maliciousness?


no, I'm not sure I'm aware its complete crock, and that's why I was asking for feedback on my observations instead of making absolutist statements.

My observations are that I typically see a female CEOs income be the first thing that is ever brought up when they are in the spotlight but I don't ever see that as the first go to with male CEOs. In this case, I'm referring to reading HN for 7 years everyday and watching comments in response to all articles as well as the ones about female CEO, and noticing without(atleast consciously, but maybe I am subconsciously looking for it, or maybe as a female I'm just noticing it more) seeking it out, that over time, pay and negative things seem to jump to in comments first without delay.

Luckily for me I'm not overlapping my perceptions of reddit with HN on how reddit treated both Ellen Pao and Sheryl Sanders (she devil, satanist among other things are names they endured upon their first week in office).

Now CEO pay is clearly an issue across the board, but I would still argue that it seems to be brought up more quickly with female CEOs. Perhaps I've just noted it in the past few years, and perhaps I am wrong and it comes up just as quickly with male CEOs.

I am glad to see other companies now care about child care and it's relevancy in the economic feasibility of raising families and enabling smart parents of both genders to contribute to society in more ways than child bearing. Unfortunately, I did not see Apple jumping into back the notion of childcare needs years ago When Marissa was chastized for having a nursery in her office. I don't even know or have an opinion on what the best potential solution is for the childcare thing in general, but I know it was never a big public issue in the news until a woman went out of her way to take care of her children who was a CEO

I've always wondered why it wasn't an issue for all the men who did not have nurserys in the office for all the decades proceeding this. There has never been a concern about male CEOs not spending enough time with their kids, but if a woman wants to have a nursery next to her office, its conflated as unfair in the face of not letting employees work remotely from home, without any data about how many of those employees are doing it for childcare, when there was data that remote work did not seem to be meeting standards of remote work for competing companies who let their software engineers work remotely. Nevertheless, news articles had no problem joining these two ideas together, and commenters had no problem agreeing how elitist it was.

It's really a just an observation about the things that certain populations seem to choose to critisize and how much those criticisms seem to consistently differ when looking at say 4 female CEOs and 10-15 male CEOS consistently in HN news over the past 5-7 years.

I also find your statement hard to agree with that there is no bias with females in tech, in the face of a billionaire resigning today from the most highly funded started up in Silicon Valley this morning where as of three months ago I believe 1/4 of every VC dollar was tied up in Uber, after claiming that women being on a board will increase the amount of talking. In the face of this as well as Trumps attitude towards women, its a wonder any of them have the patience to deal with these billionaire men who seem terribly inconvenienced by the mere idea that a woman is on the board, and then the fact that now they have to listen to her talk.

To lightly sway aside the idea that this pervasive attitude at the helm of the Country Silicon Valley resides in, along with some of the most well funding prominent board members in the most highly funded startup in silicon valley, in business, as complete crock, without having any data points to back it up (I presume the population here is educated enough on Uber and Trump I don't need to provide data points here about their issues with female bias) is willfully ignorant.

I'm not going to go further into this, because I respect the HN community enough to know your statement is an outlier statement, and I don't need to convince people here bias against women in tech is ongoing pervasive issue, more consciously with men like I've mentioned, but sometimes I think subconsciously as a male dominated communitiy, we are prone to being more interested when a woman does reach CEO status, and maybe thats not HNs imposed bias as much as there is more likely to be more news about a female CEO (including but not limited to additional articles about how great it is there are females CEOs etc) and therefore we tend to subconsciously have more developed opinions about them because we know more about them, and things like their income and flaws never seem to go unannounced.

Myself a woman in tech, I find most forms of sexism Ive experienced are that maybe 1/50 guys are actual jerks and I can downright call them out on needing to fix their behavior. However, for alot of men I interact and have worked with, most actions are somewhat subtle, and typically not conscious or even intentional by men, and usually a genuine approach to them or bringing it up in intelligent conversation while giving them the benefit of the doubt and the time and respect of their ability to reflect on their own actions and analyze their own motivations, as we all should in all areas of our lives, that most men can concede and agree with me if I bring something up. Because I don't bring up every little thing, and I don't accuse all men of being sexist pigs the second I sense a bias I can perceive and therefore claim as sexist, I tend to make more one on one progress changing mens outlooks on how they may intentionally or unintentionally approach situations.

Both male and female CEOS should be subject to scrutiny on income situations, but I find it to be highlighted more frequently with women, which is unfortunate considering so few of them at this point get into the position where they have the opportunity to be scrutinized at such a high level, and furthemore, as described by a commentor validating an aspect of my observations with the "glass cliff" that when they do seem to come into leadership, the cards are highly stacked against them. Therefore, they have an increase in the spotlight for being a minority in their position, and the increased spotlight is more likely to end in failure given the situations in which they come into leadership where the company is literally on the brink of failure.


>My observations are that I typically see a female CEOs income be the first thing that is ever brought up when they are in the spotlight but I don't ever see that as the first go to with male CEOs.

I don't know where you're getting that from. Like I said, CEO compensation has been a big issue for years. It comes up all the time when a high-profile CEO is fired - especially if they are fired for doing a mediocre or a terrible job.

So I cannot believe you actually went there on this issue and in light of countless articles and podcasts discussing this matter from all angles, from the right-wing, mainstream, and left-wing media, and all you could see is that women (one woman specifically - because you haven't given any other examples) are unfairly singled out.

Jesus, just google it - you don't have to dig too deep. Change the search criteria to this year, and then last year, and then the year before, etc. And you'll have countless examples.

>In this case, I'm referring to reading HN for 7 years everyday and watching comments in response to all articles as well as the ones about female CEO

You are aware of what confirmation bias is, right? Turning this around, if Marissa was man, all things being equal (as in the compensation and level of criticism), would you have even bothered commenting? Would you have disagreed with any criticism in this thread?

>I'm not overlapping my perceptions of reddit with HN on how reddit treated both Ellen Pao and Sheryl Sanders (she devil, satanist among other things are names they endured upon their first week in office).

And you just did so don't pat yourself on the back too much. And you're right, it has nothing to do with this case.

> Unfortunately, I did not see Apple jumping into back the notion of childcare needs years ago When Marissa was chastized for having a nursery in her office.

I'm not sure what the point of that dig at Apple is but I remember the Marissa/nursery controversy well. And this a good example of your dishonesty or maybe your blind-spot. Marissa was chastised for her hypocrisy. She banned working for home - a policy that was very popular with new parents, but then built herself a nursery - just for herself - so she could bring her kids to work because unlike everyone else, she worked hard. Of course people will criticize her.


In this case, Marissa Mayer, Cheryl Sandberg, Ellen Pao, Elizabeth Smith, Sophia Amoruso, the last two being founders and not coming into rescue companies in crisis, who also both have experienced troubles, lawsuits, and failure.

>You are aware of what confirmation bias is, right?

I am aware of the confirmation bias, which is why I explicitly provided a disclaimer for that in the statements I made, and again, stated my observations to elicit feedback, and continue to welcome your constructive feedback. That being said, I've mostly observed over 5-7 years, and I never set out with the intention to observe this, because it was moreso a shock over time that this bias seemed to be occurring.

For sure, most of the sexism I seem to realize as bias is due to a shock or feeling that something is not right, and never that I'm seeking it out. When I set out to be an Engineer, noone told me I would experience sexism. I thought it was going to be a lovely experience all in all, and was relatively naive going into about the ratio in general, and how much it would effect my life. So from my perspective, I don't feel confirmation bias is relevant, but I'm willing to believe over time it can cascade upon itself, just as much as men can cascade their negative opinions of females upon itself.

I am a firm advocate that females can be sexist and abuse their positions too, and I've witnessed it first hand a number of time, and have plenty of criticisms of my own gender for sure. They have not been all in all, in aggregate the role models I needed when I started out in a male dominated environment, to the point where I don't expect women to be role models for me just because they are women anymore.

>I'm not overlapping my perceptions of reddit with HN on how reddit treated both Ellen Pao and Sheryl Sanders (she devil, satanist among other things are names they endured upon their first week in office).

>And you just did so don't pat yourself on the back too much. And you're right, it has nothing to do with this case.

I brought this up because you used the word malicious that I would even bring up the idea that women CEOs face a bias. I wanted to clarify that there absolutely is one, and maliciousness is hardly an adequate term to describe the words used against female CEOS in explicitly wording that encompasses their gender, though I barely see it shine through maliciously on HN as I have seen on reddit and other communities.

I don't think pointing out the fact that many people have acted malicously towards these individuals and wondering if its due to a bias conscious or unconscious, is malicious, or propogating maliciousness.

> Unfortunately, I did not see Apple jumping into back the notion of childcare needs years ago When Marissa was chastized for having a nursery in her office.

>I remember that, and this a good example of your dishonesty or maybe your blind-spot. Marissa was chastised for her hypocrisy. She banned working for home - a policy that was very popular with new parents, but then built herself a nursery - just for herself - so she could bring her kids to work because unlike everyone else, she worked long hours. Of course people will criticize her.

Please reread my statements about her remote work decision, and how the data was related to not meeting remote work standards, and no data whatsoever was provided about remote work in relation to parenting, but news had no problem conflating the issues, and readers had no problem assuming there was hypocrisy in the decision, despite there being no data to prove hypocrisy existed in the decision.

If anything, allowing the known lack of accountability and performance quality of remote work to continue due to parenting, would proprogate sexism further by sending a signal that quality of work/the bar can be lowered if you are parent.

In regards to that while having a nursey, I'm going to have to push back here. I worked on wallstreet, and it is commonplace for years that they have one secretary for their work life, whose job it is to help manage their personal life, and this has ALWAYS been acceptable without question for decades in multple industries.

For example, a secretary to a male boss is allowed and explicitly told to spend a large portion of their time arranging personal events around public events and I've sat next to a secretary interning on wallstreet who spend the majority of her day buying chanel and juicy couture gifts for her bosses daughters to apologize for him not being able to make it home, and doing these kinds of thing on a daily basis.

There are entire sub markets within industries dedicated to secretaries being paid on company salary to help manage and perform private life upkeep to help with busy men.

Its just that, the actions here tend to be buying gifts for women or paying their secretary to appease the women they never have time to be home for, because there is of course a woman at home to raise the children his secretary is buying gifts for, and arranging limos to pick their kids up in private schools to the after school events these men don't have time to make it to.

Sitting next to one of these secretaries on wallstreet for a summer internship informed me greatly how commonplace this is.

Of course though, this is not criticized ever, but for Mayer, investing office space to accomodate her personal life is. Why is that? The employees at the bank I worked for who also worked 80+ hour weeks did not get secretaries on pay to send limos to pick up their 12 yr old daughters from ballets they could not attend with a sorry note attached to a juicy couture bag, but I don't see articles about unfair and slighted the males and females feel about their inability to accomodate their children.

The actions are exactly the same, but accomodations are in action explicitly different in representation because Mayer is a woman. The difference ends there. The criticism does not.

Just because two things occur at the same time does not mean they are related. i.e. Marissa having a nursery, and also deciding remote work was not allowed at the company anymore.


>In this case, Marissa Mayer, Cheryl Sandberg, Ellen Pao, Elizabeth Smith, Sophia Amoruso, the last two being founders and not coming into rescue companies in crisis, who also both have experienced troubles, lawsuits, and failure.

I fail to see the connection between these individuals. Cheryl Sandberg is a successful executive ... so is Marissa Mayer for that matter - having had a senior position at Google and then led Yahoo. Sophia Amoruso ran a company that went bankrupt (it happens). I don't know anything about Elizabeth Smith and Ellen Pao implemented some needed but highly controversial and unpopular polices at the reddit cesspool but also fired a popular moderator, Victoria.

What is the connection here besides these are all women?

>I brought this up because you used the word malicious that I would even bring up the idea that women CEOs face a bias.

Yes. It is malicious. You can't just assert racism or misogyny. Those are very powerful words and they are completely misused, frequently to push some ideological agenda. If I'm being charitable, it reminds me of the way UFO conspiracy theory nuts reason. They'll look at some phenomenon and argue "I can't think of anything that could explain X, therefore X must be aliens".. No. That's not how it works. If you don't know the cause of X, don't assert a conclusion. Aliens are not the default position for unknown stellar phenomena. Misogyny and sexism is not the default position every-time a woman gets fired or criticized.

>Please reread my statements about her remote work decision, and how the data was related to not meeting remote work standards, and no data whatsoever was provided about remote work in relation to parenting

But that doesn't change the optics of this policy contrasted with her private nursery.

>but news had no problem conflating the issues, and readers had no problem assuming there was hypocrisy in the decision, despite there being no data to prove hypocrisy existed in the decision.

Sure. You're trying to argue her criticism is unfair - nothing wrong with that. It may be unfair, but nuances and subtleties are lost all the time and certain narratives take hold. For example, I don't think Uber is a sexist organization, but now there's a narrative that they have a sexist culture top to bottom. All subtly is lost when Uber is discussed on HN. It happens. Argue against it and move on.


> What is the connection here besides these are all women?

My first statement in my first comment

> Yes. It is malicious. You can't just assert racism or misogyny.

We both agree overt name calling is malicious. We both agree you can't assert racism or misogyny. If terms like "she devil" is used, I'm going to assume misogyny. If name callers want to be recognized as name callers, but are particularly sensitive about also being labeled as misogynists, I will leave it up to them to find another word to use. Enough on this topic, I think, as in my first statement where I asked if there was a slight bias and did not state or assert there was one, is enough to reiterate my agreement on all of these things with you.

>But that doesn't change the optics of this policy contrasted with her private nursery.

Again, commonplace for a long time that personal secretaries are hired to manage private lives of CEOs, in this case it seems the money was oriented towards childcare. But its commonplace CEOs have long since hired or invested in personal management secretaries or other arrangements in their offices. I've never seen it criticised before, but I'm open to proof that it has been.

you are correct, the optics do not seem to be an issue when secretaries are hired to manage the private lives of male CEOs, but the optics of investing in personal life management of the CEO do appear to be an issue of optics here. We agree.

>Sure. You're trying to argue her criticism is unfair - nothing wrong with that. It may be unfair, but nuances and subtleties are lost all the time and certain narratives take hold. For example, I don't think Uber is a sexist organization, but now there's a narrative that they have a sexist culture top to bottom. All subtly is lost when Uber is discussed on HN. It happens. Argue against it and move on.

https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/13/uber-board-member-gets-sex...

There is no sexism on this point. We all agree that if a person is added to a board meeting, there will be more talking, assuming the board member talks.

Again, I'm not disagreeing that humans who are paid to discuss and vote on issues increase the amount of talking, I'm just asking why its pointed out specifically in the context of a women, and where the proof is that if a woman is added to a board meeting, the net amount of talking is more than if she isn't there.

I would love to not only see the data for this, but have the opportunity to hear the things women say in board meetings with men like this.

We also agree. The subtlety is definitely lost on me here, and a new narrative took hold so quickly on Uber over this sentence that the billionaire resigned. There is no subtlety retained here. We agree.

Speaking of Uber, how much does the CEO make and when was the last time someone thought the CEO of Uber paid himself too highly or maybe...noones thought to bring that up yet? I guess it just has not popped into anyones mind yet. Perhaps noone knows how much the CEO of Uber makes because there are not enough women on his board asking those questions. As we agree with the now previous employee of Uber David Bonderman, women just result in so much more "talking" in board meetings, maybe they can talk about this next time.


>you are correct, the optics do not seem to be an issue when secretaries are hired to manage the private lives of male CEOs, but the optics of investing in personal life management of the CEO do appear to be an issue of optics here. We agree.

No. We don't. We aren't close. I think you're so tuned to view the world through a particular ideological bent that you are blind to anything else.

This just reminds of dealing with conspiracy theory nuts like the UFO guys, like the 9/11 truthers. With them (and you) it's a constant barrage of red herring and non sequiturs arguments. You yourself are bringing out every single example of what you think is misogyny. All we're talking about is whether or not Marissa deserves to be criticized for her job as CEO. You live in ugly world governed by sexism and I wish you find yourself out one day.


Oh well come on now. Don't be too dramatic.

I don't entirely live in an ugly world governed by patriarchy and sexism. I work with and under plenty of great men and a few awesome women, as I've stated previously in this thread that you have chosen to ignore (a blind spot on your part maybe?) but I do somewhat agree that there are facets of society that seem to have some overarching elements of patriarchy and sexism.

and I appreciate your best wishes, I have every intention of finding my way out of these situations.

It seems that the more women "talk" according to David Bonderman, the more people like David Bonderman "resign" or get fired, so I do think there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel for overcoming sexism and the patriarchy.


>Oh well come on now. Don't be too dramatic.

Maybe a little but we have reached an impasse. I just don't see the world like you do, and I know you can't provide evidence for the kind of generalizations you made.

>I work with and under plenty of great men and a few awesome women, as I've stated previously in this thread that you have chosen to ignore

I didn't ignore it. There was simply nothing I could add to that. Of course you work with good men and good women. You work in tech, one of the most progressive industries around.


You sir (or madam) have just been trolled. And pleaaaase, don't be too melodramatic! The hypocrisy of that comment made me lol


>You sir (or madam) have just been trolled.

I don't mind that kind of trolling. I'll just answer it straight.

I think we both realized we're just not on the same page and we simply view things differently - so there's probably frustration on both sides that neither of us can convince the other with reason and argument. And to be fair usmeteora did put in significant effort to answer my points and argue their cases prior to the last 1 or 2 messages.


(he doesn't get it lol)


Oh I got you. I can read and it wasn't very subtle. I chose to acknowledge what I wanted to acknowledge and ignore your facetious, condescending and sarcastic points. Why do you think I made the point that we've clearly hit an impasse in the debate?

Generally speaking, I found that playing it straight (even if the other person is not serious) tends to keep the conversation civil and more often it is more interesting for me to debate the issue - even if you are just a sounding board.


Well..thank you for this very informative conversation :)

Lordy.


> So I cannot believe you actually went there on this issue and in light of countless articles and podcasts discussing this matter from all angles, from the right-wing, mainstream, and left-wing media, and all you could see is that women (one woman specifically - because you haven't given any other examples) are unfairly singled out.

I was responding to the top rated comment on HN, and not all of these other podcasts and articles you were referring to which were not mentioned anywhere in the conversation until you brought them up. I'm talking about the HN community, and the comments on HN in general tend to be related to the posting, and other comments (by hitting reply) and not all of these other podcasts from multiple sides you never named.

Given a comment at the time I replied was top ranked after multiple days to be a criticism of her golden parachute (which is actually not an outlier situation at all given most CEOs exiting companies like this do leave with a financial situation) financial exit situation without any other context, and that was the number one pervading comment after a multibillion dollar precedent setting silicon valley company calls it quits, I did bring up that we seemed to focusing on her income more than yahoo as a failure in it's entire context. Furthermore, I did not state anywhere (go read again) that the criticism was overall a bad thing or sexist, at all anywhere (go read again), but that I was "more interested" (go read it) in bigger questions about yahoos decline and eventual sale, and of course Marissa can and will be apart of that discussion.

That's exactly where I went, and that is exactly how it is described (go read it).

"Also, on a separate note, I've noticed" as a I say, I went on to say how I noticed this being a phenomenom I've seen with many other female CEOs and provided a disclaimer as a tangential observation because I read HN throughout the day and see conversations evolve when big companies fail or sell.

Again, yes that's exactly where I went, and that is exactly how I described it.

I am sorry madam or sir, but there are no words in my comment in which you described my behavior as a malicious propaganda of sexism that purport to be so in any way, and anything related to Marissa none of which the critical comments are labeled as sexist by me, are just observed and noted, and then I asked more questions to elicit more conversation about yahoos failure as whole, and got a response from you accusing me of malicously propogating sexism.

Anyone who feels my comment above besides this person is a "malicious" propogation of unfounded accusations of sexism can feel free to call me out on it. Please educate me about how I could edit my wording to make it seem less so. Unlike some people in this thread, I am more than open to constructive feedback and considering this from a different view point other than "malicious" which is literally defined as intentional nefarious intent. I strongly reject that definition of myself and the comment as it stands in context and all by itself in the conversation.


> I only ever see woman CEOs in the spotlight for making too much money.

When male executives are seen as being both overpaid and underperforming, they also get a lot of stick, some examples being Fred Goodwin and Steve Ballmer.

If you only ever see it when it is female CEOs, maybe that's because you only ever notice it then.


I read the comment not as saying "only female ceos are criticized for too much money" but "female executives are only criticized for making too much money".


> I've noticed multiple multibillion dollar companies who fall into disarray, have CEOs sit quietly in the background, hire a woman to come in and try to save it

This is known as the glass cliff https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass_cliff


Thank you for this. I never knew about this, and it's always nice to have a sense that you are noticing a bias despite conscious efforts to make sure youre attempting to be objective about noticing the bias, and then find out its long since been defined and accepted as an issue.

Does not happen all the time, and sometimes I am wrong, but feels validating when it does.


When she was looking at those line item expenses like employee salaries, did she look at her own?

She was paid an obscene amount of money to turn around Yahoo. She did not. She made the most incredible set of blunders and seems to have fallen afoul some pretty awful nepotism, and yet there are folks here who say it wasn't her fault. Well, ok, she came into a company in chaos but not only did she not resolve the chaos - she made it worse!


260M is ridiculous. But other employees shouldn't be bothered. Her money doesn't come from some pool of employee money. It's straight from the bottom line of the shareholders.


I have disliked her ever since being influenced by this gawker screed some years back:

http://gawker.com/5162532/marissa-mayer-googles-biggest-fail....

Subsequent reporting has hardend my opinion: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/21/magazine/what-happened-wh...

I have tried to examine what role gender plays in my visceral dislike for Marissa Mayer. I hope it is a small one. I give myself some consolation that I recoil almost equally when reading any news coverage of Travis Kalanick.


Small consolation, then. The activities which took place under Kalanick's watch -- sexual harassment, greyballing, the Waymo trade secret case -- are much more reprehensible than what Mayer has done. I think gender plays a big factor for many people's opinions of her.

The comparison with Steve Jobs is particularly telling. Steve was notoriously cruel and difficult to please, yet he is much-loved as a visionary. Women are given a very hard time for being unlikable, no matter how talented they are. Granted, she was no Steve Jobs. Despite being in a glass cliff [0] situation, she was far more successful than any of the Apple CEOs prior to Jobs' return.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass_cliff


The difference is that Jobs succeeded.

Meyer didn't do anything bad, she just didn't turn around Yahoo. She landed the plane though.


Jobs succeeded, but plenty of male rescue CEOs failed without drawing the sort of ire that Mayer has.


She was also a celebrity CEO, basking in the exposure of being touted as Yahoo!'s great new hope. She didn't push back on any of the publicity or press then, so it's only right she maintains exposure regardless.


Interesting. I had not heard the term "glass cliff" before and I think I quite like it.


I'm not a fan of her, but Gawker is not to be taken as a serious news outlet at all. So you may want to re-read that with a big grain of salt.


Gawker isn't some tabloid. Sure it wasn't the best but without looking at the article you're just assuming it has to be taken with a "big grain of salt".

You should be weary of everything you read to some extent and try to make sure what you're reading is valid. NYTimes and The Economist (I enjoy both of them just making a point) both did horrible reporting for the Iraq War. I assume you would consider them serious news outlets.


> Gawker isn't some tabloid.

Almost spit out my coffee.


> Gawker isn't some tabloid.

Yes, they basically are. Just in case you are confused why your comment is getting downvoted, it's because they absolutely should not be considered a valid news source.

They [1].

Should [2].

Not [3].

Now I'm sure you're getting ready to bring up other outlets again, which may I remind you was not the point of my original comment or this one. We're talking about Gawker and only Gawker's reputation. Other outlets have other issues I'm sure, but it has been proven time and time again that Gawker cannot be trusted.

[1] https://www.cnet.com/news/ceas-take-on-ces-gizmodo-prank-ban...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bollea_v._Gawker

[3] http://www.businessinsider.com/past-controversy-at-gawker-me...


Right but what does have to do with this particular article that wasn't linked to?

But yes Gawker is pretty bad. Maybe I should've said "Gawker isn't as bad as pure tabloids, at least some of the time".

Side note: I don't seem to be downvoted. I'm guessing my comment has been going up and down in votes then? When can you see other people's karma? I see you're karma is a couple hundred above mine.


The difference is the NYT and other actual journalism outfits strive to report fairly and have standards they hope to achieve. Gawker did not. In fact the standards they held themselves to were deemed illegal by the courts, and when the courts told them that their journalistic standards were illegal, they attacked the court and doubled down. It's no wonder they were sued out of business.

100% tabloid. They had no journalistic integrity beyond "lets get more clicks" and were not afraid to break the law or ignore the truth to do it.


I find it interesting that the comments section of the WSJ (a pretty capitalist-friendly corner of the internet) is filled with complaints about Mayer's "overpay" as CEO and outrage over her "golden parachute," while HN (a much less capitalist-friendly corner of the internet) has gone through 40 comments and I've only seen a couple questioning her pay as CEO, and several comments praising her job in the role.

Take away Marissa Mayer from this story, and replace her with a generic CEO, and I'm not sure we'd see the same mood in either comment section.

Why is this? Is this because she's from Google? Because she's a former engineer? Because she's a female CEO? Is she just a politically polarizing topic ala Elon Musk?

Genuinely curious. Anyone have any ideas?


IMO it's because she's a female CEO who, when viewed through the lens of consumer products, failed miserably but was still paid a sum of money that sounds absolutely ludicrous to most Americans. She's an easy target for people who want to claim that she only got the job for being an attractive female.

I think HN readers remember a bit more about the state that Yahoo was in when she took over (hint: not good.) I personally viewed her job as managing the divestiture of the valuable part of the company (Alibaba) in such a way that it delivered maximum value to the shareholders of Yahoo. I think she succeeded on that front: the market was probably undervaluing Yahoo's other assets, and she was able to sell those to Verizon for a fair price after divesting the Alibaba stake.

tl;dr: Yahoo was long dead before she arrived. WSJ readers forget that. HN readers don't. Plus she's an attractive woman, which will always paint a target on your back as an executive.


> I personally viewed her job as managing the divestiture of the valuable part of the company (Alibaba) in such a way that it delivered maximum value to the shareholders of Yahoo.

If that was the case she never would have been given the job. That's something any old bean counter could do and they wouldn't require hundreds of millions of dollars for the babysitting job.

She spent Yahoo's money like a drunken sailor, an odd thing to do if her job was managing Alibaba (how exactly do you manage a passive stake in anything?).

Some examples:

* Tumblr - $1.1b with the majority of that later written off because they have only figured out how to keep losing money

* Polyvore - $230m A fashion search engine run by people she used to mentor at Google

* Summly - $30m to a teenager for a news app that was shut down and never heard of again


> She spent Yahoo's money like a drunken sailor, an odd thing to do if her job was managing Alibaba (how exactly do you manage a passive stake in anything?).

Well, it's no small thing to divest a big chunk of equity like that without crushing the value. There are a few ways you can do it, but you need someone empowered to actually execute on it for the board. That's the CEO's job. She did a good job in that.

And yeah, she made some bad acquisitions. But most of these types of acquisitions fail (it's not like great companies put themselves up for sale -- just look at Microsoft's or HP's acquisition history) and the losses on those acquisitions were more than made up for by the additional amount she was able to get for the combined Alibaba + Yahoo. She basically ended up spinning off the entire value of the Alibaba stake plus $4.5 billion -- which is about $5 billion ahead of where the company was at when she started (remember the articles basically saying Yahoo's operations were worth negative money?)


>it's not like great companies put themselves up for sale -- just look at Microsoft's or HP's acquisition history

I wouldn't think of HP or post-Gates Microsoft as very good examples of how to run a publicly-traded tech firm.


I think OP's point was that Microsoft and HP have purchased a bunch of not-so-great companies.


i think the point was that is an EASY hurdle to get over


>... She basically ended up spinning off the entire value of the Alibaba stake plus $4.5 billion -- which is about $5 billion ahead of where the company was at when she started

The market value of the company almost always is not equal to what the company could sell itself for to another company. In this case, the board would have likely gotten much more for the shareholders by spinning off Alibaba and selling the rest rather than hire Mayer.

For example:

- She did some very bad hires such as Henrique de Castro who in 15 months got over 100 million in salary, stock and severance.

- She wasted billions on acquisitions that did not add value.

- Most of the comments from Yahoo employees since she was hired were never very good, and her behavior with employees was said to sometimes be somewhat bizarre (such as reading a children's book at a comm meeting) or essentially throwing a company party where she is the guest of honor.

I don't know the numbers for sure, but with the security breaches, web site redesigns and inability to get ahead of technology trends, I think user engagement with the site is likely less than when she started.


To be fair Summly became Yahoo news digest so it wasn't a complete write off.


So here is what Yahoo did: It "aqui-hired" a team of people, led by a 17-year-old living in London, that cannot claim to have invented a cool technology OR to have built a cool app. Yahoo does own the technology SRI invented for Summly, but it doesn't own SRI, so it hasn't acquired the team that can scale the technology for Yahoo.


>* Polyvore - $230m A fashion search engine run by people she used to mentor at Google

Your anti-female bias is showing here. Polyvore has been profitable for years. I have a friend who works there and loves it.


This comment only shows that those who talk most online about how people are mistreated based on gender are the ones who are the most sexist.

Step back for a minute and think about how this relates to sexism at all. It is you who associated these two concepts together. You are the one who's being sexist. Once you take off your sexist glasses and see things clearly, you'll realize you are making as huge logical fallacy as the one you're criticizing.

Sexism needs to stop but comments like this are what makes it hard.


I don't know what gender made the most money on Polyvore, it doesn't matter. The point was she enriched her friends. The price made waves at the time:

https://techcrunch.com/2015/07/31/why-polyvores-jess-lee-sol...

> "Yahoo bought Polyvore in what we’ve heard could be anywhere from a $25 million* to $60 million"

Quickly followed up by an update revealing it was actually ~10x more!


I think the OP is just skeptical. Where is the anti-female bias?


>Where is the anti-female bias?

In specifically marginalizing a profitable business acquisition just because he'd assumed it was frivolous by its' nature.


How is that in any way related to gender? I also "marginalized" Tumblr and Summly, was that me throwing shade towards men?


They didn't make money.


Yahoo doesn't break out the numbers so we don't know how much revenue any of the companies they acquired are bringing in (profit would be even more difficult because of shared resources). Regardless, none of this has anything to do with gender. I chose a large, medium and small example from a list of Yahoo's acquisitions.


He asked how is that related to gender?


So, if someone posits that a business venture is frivolous, actual profitability aside, that is anti-female (or anti-male) statement/view?

I still don't understand. Can you please elaborate?


If someone posits that a profitable business venture is frivolous, it's not about whether it's good business or not. Also, you do understand.


Back to the point: what does any of that have to do with sex or gender? Maybe you will elaborate, if OP won't.


You may think it was MM's primary job to sell Yahoo for parts, but I don't think she did. Look at the initiatives into media, big-bet acquisitions, reinvestment in search. I think it's clear she was trying to reinvent Yahoo, and that's the story she told the board. She even did a rebrand right away, a rather dubious logo designed by her and some associates over a weekend.

I was optimistic when she came on board, because Yahoo really needed a strong product vision and someone who had a touch of ruthlessness. But maybe it was unsalvageable.


Yahoo did need a visionary but if you look at her bio on wikipedia it tells a different story. It mentions she is known for her attention to detail and she is a usability leader. She joined google as employee #20 after school. She was involved in many important google projects over the span of her career at google overseeing core key project in many cases. Very well rounded person.

To me that sounds like the wrong person to bet my money on. The employee who plays it safe is not right person to transform a dying company that needed radical change. You need a bolder person. Someone with a burning passion or an act to grind.

If you are google employee 20 and you haven't cashed out to build something you always wanted to but didn't have the resources yet I don't think I want you leading the transformation process. I would rather have employee 21 who quit and tried something else and failed.


"An act to grind" sounds so playful! But normally it's "an axe to grind"...a little more sinister twist to it.


This may be the purest distillation of Hacker News brogrammerism I've ever read.

By her own words, she thought Google had a 2% chance of success. Is that not enough risk for one life?

http://fortune.com/2011/10/03/marissa-mayer-i-thought-google...

Also, her experience running hundreds of projects and experiments at another billion dollar tech company is exactly what they wanted. Not whether she does all-nighters and knows Rails. I'm not going to argue that the Yahoo board made the right choice, but you would definitely have made the wrong choice.


>Is that not enough risk for one life?

Who said it wasn't?


I am of the opinion that Ms. Mayer was hired partly as a way for Yahoo's investors to hedge their bets [1]. Its a bit of a dark view on silicon valley culture, perhaps, but I think a valid one.

Anyways, I agree with your point that Yahoo had already suffered most of its damage. In many ways, its latest CEO did the best that could be expected of anyone in that position.

[1]:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass_cliff


>IMO it's because she's a female CEO who, when viewed through the lens of consumer products, failed miserably but was still paid a sum of money that sounds absolutely ludicrous to most Americans. She's an easy target for people who want to claim that she only got the job for being an attractive female.

Who said that? The non-existent, hypothetical people?


The funny part about your pushback is that Mayer is pretty much identical in behavior to any number of other male CEOs who have received golden parachutes without comment. There's literally nothing she's receiving that others haven't before.

https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2016-golden-parachutes/


Even more interesting:

http://fortune.com/2017/03/13/yahoo-new-ceo-marissa-mayer-ne...

"Marissa Mayer's replacement as CEO of Yahoo, Thomas McInerney, will get paid twice as much as she did—for a job basically doing nothing."

"After all, the company that McInerney will run will not be an operating business like the one Yahoo is today, but rather an investment company not all that different from a mutual fund."

"In short, McInerney is getting paid a huge amount to sit atop a fund that basically runs itself. The way Yahoo describes McInerney's responsibilities in a filing Monday makes it sound like he will be little more than a glorified trustee, the way a retiree might occasionally check in on the status of the family nest egg."


The comment above is false, it if ignores the value of equity. Fortune was pushing a bullshit sexism narrative. Mayer made 10x in equity what McInerney made in salary


These are potential golden parachutes. As in they have not received this compensation... because the majority of them are still running their companies.

Your comment reads a little disingenuously, or maybe you didn't understand the article.

The pushback is due to the perception that the incentives are misaligned. Right or wrong, people feel she ran the company into the ground. In that light, they feel the compensation is undue.

To be clear, this has nothing to do with her gender and everything to do with the perception that she is a charlatan.

When she was hired, I thought, "she's qualified." And then I watched and listened during her press tour on the morning news shows and conference interviews... she spoke like a visionary -- someone with all the ideas to turn Yahoo around. And I thought, "that's awesome, let's see how she does." And now, here we are.

I've seen the same pushback against Shai Agassi -- a male -- for being a visionary charlatan... for somehow falling into great fortunes with little to show.


Exactly. Trot out the old argument "If we didn't pay that, we couldn't find qualified candidates!" Yahoo had to hire her away from a senior leadership position at Google. She was young, sure, but she was definitely qualified.


Yahoo hired her after she got demoted from senior leadership at Google. They got her on her way down, and vice versa.


The difference between her and others is that she runs a silicon valley tech company - so of course you're going to see her name on HN and not the CEO of McKesson. Yahoo is a recurring, popular topic on this forum. So what is your point exactly?


> she only got the job for being an attractive female.

I've followed her role as CEO closely, and I don't think I've read that in a single article, out of the 40+ that I've read over the last few years.


Personally, I assumed that all CEO's are massively overpaid and that they all negotiate substantial "golden parachutes". I think I'm a bit numb to the dollar amounts as they all seem inconceivably large to me. It all strikes me as buisiness-as-usual.


I don't know. I think for instance that Steve Jobs was really underpaid. His work (even surrounded by smart minds) and his leadership with his vision were a real launch pad for Apple. I can see a few CEOs like that who seem to be overpaid but I think are underpaid compared to their value they bring for their company.

Look at Satya Nadella. His new vision for Microsoft and all the key decisions he made are really what you see in its stocks. From +12 years of nothing to twice its valuation.


In the case of Apple the CEO is the public face of a fantastic team Steve built. I assume Microsoft is similar, Satya just knows how to get out of the way better than Ballmer did.


I think Satya comes from a dramatically different cultural and professional background than Ballmer and has a correspondingly different set of priorities and ideas.

The difference is like night and day. Ballmer was all about monopolization, vendor lock-in, ruling the developer community with an iron fist, and funneling all business into the proven profit centers. Nadella understands the value of interoperability, evangelizing your own tech while trying to advance community efforts, embracing open source, and developing new lines of business independent of legacy products.


Also, Satya doesn't act like a clown in public (Developers, developers) or drops unqualified statements about products from the competition (Ballmer about the iPhone).

He behaves like a proper CEO.


I think you and some other people posting on HN are high on crack, eating out of any big company CEO's hand. Honestly.

> Also, Satya doesn't act like a clown in public

Are we talking about the same Satya who said that women shouldn't ask for better salaries but instead trust karma? Are you fucking kidding me?

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/oct/10/microsoft...


I think after a while, Steve Jobs himself felt he was underpaid that's why he backdated some stocks.


CEOs normally hold a healthy chunk of company stock, which appreciates with their success. So good CEOs are maybe not as underpaid.


> I think for instance that Steve Jobs was really underpaid.

Care to guess what job (or, equally likely, what prison) Steve Jobs would've found himself in had he not stumbled into Steve Wozniak? Because without Wozniak, Jobs' best chance at success would have been a cart full of hot dogs after some ball game. Or, knowing his cult-like charisma, maybe a few old ladies he could've conned for money.

I'm not trying to be gratuitously mean, I genuinely would like you to think about this. If the "visionary" would not have had this head start, i.e. Wozniak creating something amazing; suppose Wozniak would've never existed, do you still think Jobs would have actually been in any way successful?


Wow I didn't think I would be down voted so much.. Is it because I spoke of Steve Jobs?

You can look all the problems a bad CEO can do : Kenneth Lay with Enron, Theranos, Twitter, Caterpillar 2 years ago even thought he said he didn't know. But it was his job to know... And now Travis Kalanick with the culture he created at Uber and now the damages it makes.

And you can look at all the value a great CEO can do too.


I think you are absolutely right about Jobs. He took a company on the brink of bankruptcy with less than 5% market share and made it the most valuable company of the planet. If by happy accident or by masterplan design I don't think any other person could have done that.

Though that is not normal. You wouldn't expect a new CEO of a small bank to overtake JPMorgan Chase.


> If by happy accident or by masterplan design I don't think any other person could have done that.

Let me give you some insight that you might be unaware of. When the iPhone was announced, there were a few offices in Nokia where people were crying more than they would at their relatives' funerals. You know why? Because they had that exact technology and prototypes similar to the iPhone, except that the Nokia execs didn't believe something like that would succeed, for multiple (and seemingly valid) reasons. Since Apple didn't really have much to lose they launched the iPhone, a phone that despite being initially inferior to other phones (multiple reasons which I'm not going to get into) managed to get a huge market share eventually (never underestimate people's desire to show off fancy new trinkets; I think it's called fashion).

Anyway, arguably one of the biggest reasons for iPhone's success were the apps. Now, this isn't mentioned often because it risks spoiling a nice fantasy, but did you know that Jobs was actually against the concept of developer-written apps, as the ones that you find in the App Store? Yeah, there were some people who came up with the idea and had to work very hard to convince the "visionary" that this would be indeed a game-changer. He reluctantly had to concede, because in the end money is better than ego.

So yeah, judging by everything that I read, and by the fact that I don't go building shrines to any person associated to with a successful project, leads me to believe that the Jobs success story was a simple accident. Simple example - look at the huge market share that Mac's have. Oh wait, that's right; they don't. And not for lack of trying, also. Jobs lucked out with the iPhone, just as he lucked out when he bumped into Wozniak and managed to somehow be in charge without actually putting in too much work. Actually, dodging work without being caught was probably one of his most developed features (I know, fanboys will say it's a good thing; sure it's good, if you're a parasite feeding off other people's work).

I know a lot of Americans believe in the American dream and that if they work as hard and are brilliant as Steve Jobs, they too could be successful like him. Heh. Funny.


As for MS, Ballmer laid that foundation. Nadella is capitalizing, but MS is mostly capitalizing on it's position and not so much offering a ground breaking direction.


This is a trope that is just not true. Ballmer's vision was a reinvigoration of Windows. The Hololens. The Phone 2.0.

Satya's is about openness and meeting developers and customers where they are. This is what has value and what Wall Street is excited about.


True that, he created shareholder also, but that is forgotten here. Not that I'm a fan of ballmer fyi


I think any CEO that takes $1M/week out of a failing company and claims credit for a predecessors' good bets is going to get some negative attention. Add a little dash of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do workplace policy making, some obviously stupid acquisitions, throwing huge parties where you're the guest of honor, hiring retirement-age network news anchors to spruce up a new media play, and you're infamous.


>Take away Marissa Mayer from this story, and replace her with a generic CEO, and I'm not sure we'd see the same mood in either comment section.

Uhh.. What are you talking about? Everyone complains about the pay scale of CEOs. Especially CEOs of failing or under performing companies. That's been a thing for years. She's a failed CEO. She was brought in to turn Yahoo around and didn't.


She is a rising star before joining Yahoo, and she basically turns Yahoo from a 20B company into a 5B one, and rewarded with a huge chunk of money for leaving the company.

And among all those astounding achievements, you only think people are judging her because she is a female, you must being living in a bubble.


All the talk prior to MM taking over Yahoo was that it was worth less than its stake in Alibaba. ie. Yahoo had a negative value.

I think it is probably more correct that she grew the value of Yahoo significantly, ~0 -> 4.5B

Accusing anyone who disagree's with you as being a sexist/anti-sexist or whatever isn't helpful.


I disagree that her criticism is gender motivated.

I doubt that Yahoo worth negative value with all the engineers they hire and assets they control, without Alibaba's stock. From another perspective, she doesn't really bring Yahoo back on track, that market thinks it is worthless without Alibaba's stock. As a CEO and a high profile one, that is a definitely a failure.


> I doubt that Yahoo worth negative value with all the engineers they hire and assets they control, without Alibaba's stock.

That's not a matter of opinion. The worth of the company and the worth of the Alibaba stock it held were common knowledge, and subtracting one from the other resulted in a negative number.


>..I think it is probably more correct that she grew the value of Yahoo significantly, ~0 -> 4.5B

The market value of the company almost always is not equal to what the company could sell itself for to another company - sometimes more, sometimes less. If you think the value of Yahoo’s assets were actually negative back then, do a thought experiment - let’s say 4 years ago Yahoo decides to sell the Yahoo assets to another company - do you think they would have to pay another company to take the Yahoo front page, mail etc? In this case, the board would have likely gotten much more for the shareholders by keeping Alibaba and selling the rest rather than hire Mayer. I don't know the numbers for sure, but with the security breaches, web site redesigns and inability to get ahead of technology trends, I think user engagement with the Yahoo web sites is likely less than when she started.


It's because for some reason these days people have this bizarre obsession to shoehorn gender into everything, regardless the relevance.


From a cynical point of view, that is indeed an astounding achievement. No amount of negative judgment will take away her fortune.


She was a falling start before joinging Yahoo, having been demoted from.her previous senior VP role


>"I find it interesting that the comments section of the WSJ (a pretty capitalist-friendly corner of the internet) is filled with complaints about Mayer's "overpay" as CEO and outrage over her "golden parachute," while HN (a much less capitalist-friendly corner of the internet) has gone through 40 comments and I've only seen a couple questioning her pay as CEO, and several comments praising her job in the role."

A CEO's compensation is used to retain and motivate that talent to create value for the company. If investors feel dissatisfied with how much they paid for the level of value creation they received on a particular asset that is very much a capitalist sentiment. There is nothing even remotely anti-capitalist about that.

Those hundreds of millions of dollars in CEO pay have to come from somewhere and that somewhere is increasingly company stock. Company stock is an asset that belongs to the company and that company is owned by shareholders. Money spent on "rock star CEOs" is money that could have otherwise been used to deliver more value to shareholders, an example would be returning money to shareholders in the form of dividends.


> Company stock is an asset that belongs to the company and that company is owned by shareholders.

I think this is the key to the confusion: seeing the shareholders as the true "owners" (and therefore controllers) of a corporation is, more and more, associated with socialist undertones: people recognize in phrases like "the shareholders are more important than the CEO" the sentiments of people who call for labor unions and co-ops, which want to assert not only employee shareholdership, but also shareholder primacy.

The current form of "capitalism" that exists in most Western countries, has a corporate structure that's a bit like the Bureaucracy of ancient China: we have self-perpetuating Boards of Directors that—while being nominated by the voting shareholders—also control the opinions of the same shareholders. Where the ideal corporation would be a "representative democracy of the shareholders", the current structure is more akin to a "plutocracy of the directors."

This is the hidden war that is being fought using the proxy of "CEO pay": Board-of-Directors-plutocracy corporate-model-ists like cronyist CEOs that are in their own pocket, doing things that serve the board in particular at the expense of the shareholders generally. They're willing to pay high premiums for this—and, also, when the CEO "comes from" their stock, to throw money at them "just because" (hoping they'll get their own turn to be thrown money at later on.)

Meanwhile, the representative-democracy corporate-model-ists resent CEOs that have any sort of elevated position; they see a CEO as a necessary evil—a general and strategist to serve with skilled experience their civilian representative who does not have those skills. To them, the CEO isn't a buddy, but rather a risk to be managed—a sort of genie, who the board (as the trusted elect) must do its best to keep in its bottle, even as they demand wishes from them.

Each side of this confrontation calls the other "anti-capitalist." But, as I hope should be obvious, neither of these sides really represents "capitalism" per se. Instead, one values the sort of concentration of wealth and power that anarchocapitalism enables; while the other side values the power of the corporate charter in an almost patriotic way.


>"I think this is the key to the confusion: seeing the shareholders as the true "owners" (and therefore controllers) of a corporation is, more and more, associated with socialist undertones: people recognize in phrases like "the shareholders are more important than the CEO" the sentiments of people who call for labor unions and co-ops, which want to assert not only employee shareholdership, but also shareholder primacy."

No, there is no "confusion", share holders are in fact the owners of a publicly-traded company[1]. There is no need for quoting the word owners either.

The phrase "the shareholders are more important than the CEO" was not used by either myself or the OP. The discussion was also not about organized labor. Why you have chosen to invent a quote and introduce the topic of organized labor is just bizarre.

There is nothing at all socialist about equities as an asset class.

[1] http://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/shareholder.asp


It's more complicated than that. There are situations where there's a class "A" share and class "B" share where class "A" has no voting rights. So the ownership by class A means close to nothing. Then there are institutional owners, like pension funds, who vote on behalf of the people who actually put the money in the fund.

The rights of minority shareholders in public companies, like you and me, needs to be protected/regulated by law. If someone wants to pay their CEO $1B an hour they can take their company private. Otherwise what happens is that the average shareholders gets screwed (like I was for example when I held GM shares as it went bankrupt).


I understand about "dual class" share structures but that doesn't mean a shareholder has any less ownership. They may have less influence or power but not not less ownership.

Influence and ownership are somewhat orthogonal concepts in the context of a corporation.

People like you and me are protected. Both CEOs and the Board of Directors have a fiduciary duty to their shareholders - all shareholders. And breach of fiduciary duties can incur both criminal and civil penalties:

https://www.nyccriminallawyer.com/fraud-charge/investment-fr...


The value of a piece of a corporation stems from a claim to said corporation's future profits. If you have no influence then you may not be able to stake that claim. For example, if you don't have equal vote on whether the corporation should pay dividend out of its profit then you may never get paid.

When is the last time a CEO was on trial for share buybacks where clearly he has conflict of interest with the shareholders due to the $$$'s he makes in compensation?

Or I scratch your back you'll scratch my back kind of arrangements in boards?

And what got us here, the outrageous CEO compensation and other benefits. When a CEO is paid x100 the President of the USA you know something isn't right. Since any given company may claim they have to pay more to be competitive the only way to stop that looting is to force them by law to control those salaries.

I agree that in theory we're in a good place but in practice I think we can still make progress... Fiduciary duty apparently is insufficient.


>"The value of a piece of a corporation stems from a claim to said corporation's future profits. If you have no influence then you may not be able to stake that claim."

No, If buy the stock I have a contractual right to future profits. This is true whether I am a small individual investor or whether I personally know every member of the Board of Directors. The stock represents that claim. Influence is completely orthogonal to the legal contract that the stock represents.


Doesn't this entire discussion demonstrate it ain't so? If the company has a revenue of $1B and pays the CEO $1B then it has zero profit. So how does the contractual obligation work out here? If you don't get a say on whether the CEO gets $1B in salary then what exactly is going on here?

There are other situations like the company taking on debt, issuing more shares, bankruptcy, acquiring other companies, share buybacks, dividends. If you don't have control there are ways for the company to "steal" your share of the profits.


> The rights of minority shareholders in public companies, like you and me, needs to be protected/regulated by law.

They are - the law requires the board to act in the fiduciary interests of shareholders of public companies. If the board didn't act as such, then you would have legal standing and be within your rights to sue.

It's not so much that the law needs to do a better job protecting shareholders, and more that the legal system needs to make it easier/cheaper/more accessible for common people to assert their rights.


See my reply to bogomipz above. I think the law could do more. Fiduciary duty is hard to prove but we do have fairly common practices that fairly clearly have negative influence on shareholders. I think the law should regulate those explicitly. Back to my GM example, there was some sort of class action lawsuit I signed on to, I believe all the money went to the lawyers. The bankruptcy laws are biased against the "small" shareholders. The large shareholders typically negotiate some terms that aren't available to the "little guys". Usually because they are also bond holders or hold some convertible instruments or preferred shares. A corporation like GM can effectively erase the small shareholders, start over, while pouring millions (of government money) into the pockets of the large shareholders. That shouldn't be legal.

(Edit: GM today, which is basically the same company that went under and then got Government $$'s is now worth $50B dollars. I didn't lose that much money but what pisses me off is that the dice was clearly loaded here. 80% of GM shares are held by institutions and funds and they're laughing all the way to the bank ... well, they are the bank!).


A CEO's compensation is used to retain and motivate that talent to create value for the company.

How is this different than that of any other employee?


It's not. And that's why the current ratio of CEO to regular employee pay is completely absurd.


I am not sure that a 'generic' CEO would have had a different result.

Broadly there are commentators who seem nostalgic for the 'old' Yahoo (and by that I mean the turn of the century Yahoo) and they often express angst in 'over paying' the CEO more along the lines of "we could have used that money to may Yahoo! great again" rather than pay it to some CEO.

Then there are people who have some idea of the level of change Yahoo! has gone through and the number of founding assumptions that didn't work later in its life. Those people understand what Mayer was up against at least.

And there are a number of entrepreneurial folks who made lifestyle businesses out of one or more of the many Yahoo! APIs that powered a lot of web sites over the years.

My point is that the opinion of the commentator will often have more to do with their relationship to Yahoo! and less to do with how well or poorly Marissa did her job.


Yesterday there was a post about Marissa resigning, and it was nothing but "I can't believe she has been payed this much for sinking Yahoo".

My pet theory is that the first comment or so sets the mood, and the opposing camp can't be bothered to participate where their opinion will be met with critique.


One other thing I noticed is that every time there is a post about her here, everyone calls her Marissa, or Marissa Mayer, or Ms. Mayer (seriously!)... never Mayer. I might be "attributing to malice" but dudes never get called "first name", only "last name".

It might just be the way it is in the US, but I can't help read it as a way to depower someone. I dunno if "depower" is the right term, but it feels something like that.

Again, that might just be a cultural thing that I'm not aware of.


Elon Musk is frequently called "Elon" Steve Jobs is never called "Jobs" Bill Gates is rarely if ever called "Gates"

You're trying to make a point out of nothing. Some names are simply more prone to be called using the first name, the last name only, or both, because it might just "sound" better or be sufficiently recognizable. Of course no one would call Steve Jobs "teve" since it's such a common name. "Marissa" and "Elon" are more rare and directly identify the people they refer to


You only gotta ctrl-f to see that's not true. You can also see that male CEOs are referred to in multiple ways throughout the thread.

Your post is an interesting lesson in confirmation bias.


I think it's something we inherited from the Brits. I don't believe it would be 'proper' to call a woman by her (unadorned) family name. But generally yes, it's a way to disempower women built into our language.


How is being called by your first name, your last name, or your full name more disempowering than being called by your last name only? Care to explain?


I'm really not the person to talk about styles of address, current or historical. Referring to someone solely by their surname is typically a male-only thing as far as I am aware. I believe that it's especially prevalent in english schools. Women might technically not have an independent right to their names as they would take up their husband's name upon marriage. Being called by one's first name is familiar and in the context of a public figure demeaning. Consider the effect when someone refers to Obama or Trump -- no one needs to disambiguate who these names refer to. We refer to Marissa Mayer because she's not notable enough to simply call her Mayer. That would be my uninformed take on things, at any rate.


> but dudes never get called "first name", only "last name".

Mayer is a really common name. The only way to distinguish her from the 15 Mayers I know is by full name. But in a conversation about her, I'll use whatever's shorter.

But let's also address the partial vs full name argument that commonly comes up. I hear that argument a lot. Warren Buffett is a good example. Nearly every time he's mentioned, it's by full name unless you're already talking about investment. Using his full name adds a bit of gravitas.

Partial name usage over full name is usually indicative of a few things:

1. Familiarity: The speaker feels familiar with the person - either through personal contact, proximity or extensive exposure.

2. Uniqueness within context: There's only one person with that last name that people would think of when you mention the name. If you're talking about operating systems, saying Gates or Torvalds is often enough to understand. And if you're on stage sweating and awkwardly chanting at a tech conference, people will understand that you're "pulling a Ballmer".

3. Brevity: If you talk about a person long enough in a monologue or discourse, or over a long period of time you'll get tired of mentioning their full name. Last name is usually preferred culturally unless there's a chance of confusion with another person.

4. Personal preference: Sometimes some names roll off the tongue better than others. If a speaker finds a name hard to pronounce or spell, they might pick another.

5. Cultural unfamiliarity: Nadella was easier for me to remember by his last name than his first name "Satya".

6. Rhetoric: You might be trying to appeal to a well-known authority by their most common reference to add panache (e.g. "Gandhi" vs "Warren Buffet"). And this reference can depend on whether you're trying to put a positive spin vs. a negative one. "Barack Obama" vs "Obama" is a good example, with the first/last combo being used more frequently by supporters and just the last name (or the first/middle/last combo) used by detractors.

On the other hand, long names might be preferred due to alliteration or rhyming ("Marissa Mayer" and "Rami Rahim" just flow really well), possible confusion with regular nouns ("Elon Musk", "Steve Jobs"), or that's how they were introduced ("Tim Cook").

Finally, insiders (employees and/or industry partners) will refer to a person differently than outsiders.

So, no, it's not about sex. Sex might be a contributing factor to familiarity or rhetoric depending on the person. But there are plenty of famous men that are referred to by their full name with respect (Buffet) or scorn (Ballmer).


Sex might be a contributing factor to familiarity or rhetoric depending on the person.

This. As I noted in a sibling, at the time I first responded to the comment, the use of just "Marissa" far outweighs the use of any form that includes her surname.

What are the chances the HN user-base is actually more familiar with Meyer? Sure, she came out of the SV world, but I don't see Musk referred to as "Elon" much on HN.


> but I don't see Musk referred to as "Elon" much on HN.

Nearly every time the people I interface with introduce him into a discussion, he's referred to by full name. His first name sounds a bit weird to me out of context - all strong vowels. But I hear his employees refer to him by first name. It'll differ from place to place.

> What are the chances the HN user-base is actually more familiar with Meyer?

There's also the fact that these huge comment trees are linked to articles and have titles that usually include the person's full name or company at the top. In every case we're talking about someone on Hacker News, we're immediately susceptible to the brevity exception as everyone reading and commenting already contextually knows who you're talking about.

Using a full name in contextual discussion sounds weird to me, honestly. I knew a person who would call me by my full name as I was leaving parties and other social engagements and it was weird and awkward because it was overly formal and I used to date that person. And I didn't appreciate the loud, immediate attention.

Which name you use when referring to strangers is kind of random. I have some people who call me by last name, others by first. A lot of it depended on how they were introduced to me, or whether I lived in a place where that name was uncommon. People like to categorize, and often the more unique a name, the better.

It's important to always assume good faith when someone does something that's weird to you. I've been recently working a lot with social services, which has a lot of good examples of deescalating situations. Like with abused children - when the come into care they will quite commonly interact in an uncomfortably familiar or even sexual fashion because they've lived in situations where those lines weren't very clear. It's not bad behavior - it's just the survival skills they've learned. In those cases, it's most important to just not freak out and calmly talk your way through things. Adults who attempt to read motive out of their behavior tend to start a lot of unnecessary conflict.

I'm a bit weird because I actually bought etiquette and flower arrangement books. This stuff is interesting to me, although the changing landscape of social etiquette frustrates nearly everyone. Just keep in mind that a lot of the words we speak, as well as the way we speak them and the way that we refer to each other is based on unspoken rules that subtly alter between generations and across cultures. There's no one rule for interactions anymore. Even though we like to pretend that there is when someone crosses our own boundaries.


this is demonstrably false just by looking at the comments submitted prior to your own.

why did you even write this?


At this time, there are 28 instances of Marissa, 1 instance of Marissa Meyer, and 3 instances of Meyer.


How many if you spell it right?


Someone could say you have sexist intentions for misspelling her last name. And that would be silly.


I noticed the same thing with the US presidential election. He's Trump, but for some reason she's just Hillary.



That was the choice of their respective campaigns, not something that happened organically.


Hillary was seen as a puppet for Bill. Makes sense to downplay the last name.


people frequently refer to Trump as "The Donald".

Hillary is a different case because her husband Bill was president, so most people associate Clinton with Bill.


I think I've seen Microsoft and Google CEOs just called by Satya and Sundar before. Makes sense. Their names are super rare in the West. Marissa is not common too. As the other comment said same with Elon. It feels natural to just say Elon.


Nonsense....Several men are called by first names. You must be a feminist


You're correct - it's a sexist thing. I'm not sure malice is intended, but that doesn't make it fair or right.


Why is it worse to be called [title] [lastname] than just [lastname]? Isn't it just different?


I'm not sure - I was agreeing with the use of "Marissa" over the forms that include her surname (Meyer, Ms. Meyer, Marissa Meyer).


Elon Musk is frequently called Elon. I guess it's disempowering to, according to your logic.

Or maybe it's just because saying "Elon" or "Marissa" is enough to know whom we're talking about


IMO it's because she was intentionally not a generic CEO. The high profile approach to publicity was part of her plan, and brand, to turn around Yahoo. It just failed.


And not just a part of her plan, part of the Yahoo Board's plan. They wanted someone with a big name that would make Yahoo exciting again.

They got that. The news of her hiring spiked the share price, and the media announced that Yahoo was suddenly relevant again.

Then the time came to actually save a business that was in dire straights. Not sure anyone could have done that.


Because she made big PR how she will make yahoo new again and then did super tiny things thay changed the logo, made random acquisitions and removed remote workers, which will absolutely change a failing company.

I was expecting a new revolutionary product, a complete refocus of the company, such as Apple. She sure must have had this in her plan or she probably actually didn't.

Sounds to me like someone didn't know what they were doing instead of someone who really has a plan.


I think she approached it as trying to do what Ruth Porat is doing at Google. But maybe Yahoo needed more than putting finances in order.


CEOs are often also capitalists, and often specifically major capital holders in the firms of which they are CEO, but, as CEOs, they are elite, highly-compensated employees.

HN may be less pro-capitalist than the WSJ (though it's still pretty pro-capitalist, overall), but if anything it's more pro-elite-employee than the WSJ.


I'm a capitalist and think that some CEOs are overpaid and that golden parachutes for failed CEOs are obscene. That doesn't mean that I want the government to do something about it. Shareholders are getting ripped off and that's their problem ultimately. Caveat emptor.


Definitely. When the government steps in, it's always the boards and executives who hire the lobbyists who write the laws and regulations. They don't do so with common stock investors' interests in mind. The system will not solve the problems with the system.


Negative externalities can reach beyond the CEO-shareholder relationship. Determining what these would be is of course a difficult task.


I don't know if being a female CEO has much to do with it. She was making a lot of money because she was supposed to turn things around and save the company. Instead Yahoo made a ton of huge blunders, sold off Alibaba and then finally sold the company to Verizon for a fraction of what it used to be worth.


Some stake in Alibaba was required to be sold off during be IPO. The person she hired to be the liaison with Alibaba was able to keep over 100 million extra shares. And the deal to sell a huge stake was before she came on board. So that's not her fault at all.


I don't know what gave you the impression that HN isn't capitalist-friendly. We have long had a whole lotta kool-aid going around here about markets, entrepreneurs, etc. In many ways startup culture is the embodiment of capitalism.


How is HN less capitalist-friendly? Articles about high valuations, venture capitalists, raising rounds, praising mega corporations like amzn, fb, Google, etc. often get to the top without many criticizing remarks. Many HNrs benefit greatly from capitalism and its mechanisms like raising capital or stock market while working for very large corporations.


>How is HN less capitalist-friendly?

It isn't a business focused newspaper owned by News Corp, most anticapitalists aren't going to go anywhere near their comments section.


We've had entire threads here discussing MM's overpay. Consider the subject exhausted.


Because she's a female CEO and any news-provider's comment sections are absolute cesspools.


I'm not so sure it completely boils down to her gender. I mean, I'm sure that's an issue for some folks... but I can't say that explains 100% of the vitriol. She came onto my radar after killing the work from home policy that Yahoo had. Then she promptly built a nursery in her office. That was a douche move. Any CEO that plays the "us and them" policy with their workers vs execs rubs me the wrong way. I'm not at all bothered that she got 23 million as a "thank you". She had an extremely hard job. The pressures she dealt with are nothing I could understand. So by all means, reward her for it! But I'm still kinda chapped about the work from home thing.


> She came onto my radar after killing the work from home policy that Yahoo had.

Google does not have a WFH policy. She killed the policy because internal audit showed that many people were just not working when they claimed to be; VPN and sign-in logs turned up many slackers. There were some who were allowed to WFH. So it wasn't a blanket "no one's allowed to WFH", but more a "justify your need to WFH and show that you're doing a good job".

> Then she promptly built a nursery in her office.

She did not take much of a maternity leave at all. She came back within 2 weeks of giving birth via a cesaerean(sp). She just converted a cube nearby to where she kept her kid.


Both fair points.

Also remember that by the time she killed the WFH policy, Yahoo had been circling the drain for a long time. When your best folks can easily find new/better jobs, they do; and you're left with a company full of people who are having a hard time finding anything else. It's one thing to kill a successful WFH policy at a thriving company; it's another entirely to do it with a company that is having problems.


>Google does not have a WFH policy.

Google is also among the companies I wouldn't want to work for. It's just a deal breaker for me. Having a policy and then rescinding it would be another deal breaker. I get that there were slackers, but when it comes to developers, were team leads really not seeing this? They had to have an audit? How does this type of slacking even work? "Oh, I'm working on this thing that should have taken a few hours for the third day in a row".

My point was that I don't think she afforded the "bring your infant to work" policy for developers. One main reason I might choose to work from home, is that I would be able to look after an infant while my significant other ran errands. All kudos to heading right back to work especially after that tough of a procedure. (although I'd argue SHE should have worked from home at that point)...


Because she’s A female CEO? Any evidence? Lockheed, Duke Energy, IBM – all female CEOs and they don’t get near the scrutiny of Mayer – probably because they are competent and don’t engage in bombastic grandstanding.

Mayer was a bad CEO – take Alibaba out of the equation and Yahoo became materially worse off expressly because of the decisions she made. Look at the ridiculous acquisitions, look at the brain drain. What the hell is Yahoo’s product? Email? They can’t even keep that secure – compromising a BILLION accounts. They were warned about MD5 in 2008. Yahoo’s Security team was treated like second class citizens – requests being denied because of cost too much or they were considered a low priority. Who set those priorities? Mayer. A a billion accounts got compromised as a result. There is a direct cause-effect.

Complaining about her salary is completely valid – not because it was “high” but because she got such an incomprehensible salary for running the company into the ground. Nobody complains about Tim Cook’s salary because nobody cares – Apple is extremely profitable, which is the entire point of a CEO. Tim Cook is a liberal gay man – so if the idea that people are harder on Mayer is because of her sex – imagine how hard they should ostensibly be on Cook. Yet Cook is actually doing a good job. Nobody cares what someone has between their legs if the share price is good.

Mayer is criticized because she was horrible, ineffective and engaged in substance-poor grandstanding and she got paid enormously for essentially crashing the ship into an iceberg before Verizon came along like the Carpathia. Sure, Yahoo was the Titanic before Mayer arrived, but she knew that and yet still went full-ahead sailing Yahoo into the ice field or irrelevancy.


Thank you for laying it out so well. I am a female executive and I am so sick of everyone saying that she's only getting criticized because she's female. So what, we can't get criticized if we do a horrible job? If we treat our employees unfairly? If we don't do what's best for our companies? She was a bad CEO and she deserved to be fired long ago.


> She was a bad CEO and she deserved to be fired log ago.

On what basis are you claiming that? Do you have any idea about how the other CEOs before her did?

Disclaimer: I worked at Yahoo for several CEOs, including Mayer. I think she was the best CEO at Yahoo in a long time. So please, enlighten me why my impression of her is incorrect.



These are all outsiders second-guessing and, in many cases, just making shit up.

I was there. I saw the sea change she brought into the company. Morale skyrocketed, after the company was just drifting around for years. Compared to Carol Bartz, she was a CEO extraordinaire.


Outsiders are often able to see much more clearly what's really going on with a dying organization.


Well, we should just listen to outsiders then, right? Who cares about what's happening internally when the outsiders see it all?

I remember reading Eric Jackson's screeds and he was clueless as hell.


I'm thinking I'm going to listen to the many, many outside experts, plus what I see myself reported by other insiders, vs. one anonymous insider I run across on a site who worked for her and appears to have bias.


That is your prerogative, and I wish you all the luck. I didn't work for her, I was 3 levels below her and experienced the sea-change when she came. After suffering through the likes of Semel, she was a huge, positive change.


> Because she’s A female CEO? Any evidence? Lockheed, Duke Energy, IBM – all female CEOs and they don’t get near the scrutiny of Mayer – probably because they are competent and don’t engage in bombastic grandstanding.

All B2B industrials; not consumer tech companies that get reported on ad nauseam in the media. Lockheed's product lifecycles are measured in decades; Yahoo's in months. I don't think it's a fair comparison.

Agree that Yahoo had really shitty product focus, but that was true 10 years before she joined. Like you said, Yahoo had been warned about MD5 nearly a decade ago -- security had obviously been deprioritized for years before she arrived.

What did she do? She stopped the bleeding long enough to get a sale done. She basically acted like a private equity CEO. If you view her job as extracting the most value out of Yahoo, she did a pretty good job of that.


you can also include Lisa Su, CEO of AMD and Mary Barra, CEO of GM (also the highest paid CEO in the car industry)


Without a doubt, there are a ton of extremely capable female executives who are rightfully recognized for their contributions.

The criticism against Mayer was due to a combination of her age, gender and "celebrity" status (celebrities tend to be attractive, successful and wealthy). A man would not have had a media circus around him due to the fact that he chose to start a family while being a CEO (a choice that she informed the Yahoo board of before taking the job). Mayer also looks about 10 years younger than she is in most photos; which IMO leads to a lot of armchair executives criticizing her as inexperienced (lol, she was a key member of the team that built the product that destroyed Yahoo, so I'm pretty sure she's experienced).

IMO Mayer is a great example that having kids doesn't have to derail your career as a female executive. While she may set an unrealistic standard for other women (damn Stanford overachievers!) I can't fault her for figuring out a way to make the various elements of her life work for her.


What I am really looking forward to is to hear how Marissa Mayer will frame her time at Yahoo in hindsight.

Will she show humility for failing at turning the company around? Will she claim success for a coincidental share price increase she had nothing to do with? Will she claim nobody could have done better? This will allow for a better judgment of character.


Tim Cook isn't even the highest paid exec at Apple. It's Angela Ahrendts, she formerly lead a successful turnaround at Burberry as CEO.


How many other female CEOs can you name? And how many of those are portrayed negatively even infrequently or regularly bashed in comments?

Mary Barra made $22.6 million, more than all the male auto CEOs. I haven't really ever seen much bashing of her personally.

Elizabeth Holmes was a media love story until it all came crashing down, although she was a founder/CEO.

Agree about the cesspools though.


Lisa Su of AMD is another female CEO I can think of. I don't think I've seen anyone bash her. I mean she is extraordinarily competent and has 3 degrees in EE to boot.


Jessica Alba to add another. It's so easy to not be taken seriously but her Honest company is now valued at $1 billion.


the "has agreed to pay out $1.55 million in a class action lawsuit settlement for lying to customers about a chemical they claimed was absent from their products" Honest company?


Here's a list of about 30 female CEOs of S&P 500 companies. Most are not generally familiar names.

http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/women-ceos-sp-500


Meg Whitman of Hewlett Packard is another female CEO (and before her, Carly Fiorina). Both have certainly come in for their share of criticism. So would I, if I had to be responsible for HP.


>> How many other female CEOs can you name? And how many of those are portrayed negatively even infrequently or regularly bashed in comments?

Carly Fiorina, ex-HP CEO


Ginny Rometty takes heat pretty regularly, but is basically successful.


Or it's the opposite and HN desperately wants female CEOs to succeed.


Wasn't here tenure at Yahoo almost a mirror image of Stephen Elop's at Nokia? He was put in place to save their mobile division but couldn't turn the company around and it was eventually bought by Microsoft. It seem self-evident that failing companies are hard for CEO:s to save.

And if any CEO should be burned at a stake, shouldn't it be that guy that refused to sell Yahoo for 47 billion to Microsoft?


Elop trashed a company that dominated the world featurephone market, but was clearly going to start falling behind as smartphones took over. Elop accidentally announced that they were going to abandon the featurephone market, killing the business. He then scrapped their well-regarded smartphone experiment, and announced that they were going to switch to the marginal smartphone platform of a company with a history of failing at smartphones.

Mayer joined a horribly failing company with no core purpose for existing, experimented wildly in an attempt to shake things up and turn it around, then after failing, unwound the thing and sold it for far more than it was worth.


> And if any CEO should be burned at a stake, shouldn't it be that guy that refused to sell Yahoo for 47 billion to Microsoft?

That was Jerry Yang, a co-founder of Yahoo. And yes, he was "burned at the stake". He was fired from the CEO job within months of tanking that deal.


Jerry also bought the Alibaba shares in 2001 which is the reason why Yahoo is even alive.

After he left, Yahoo made the mistake of selling half of the Alibaba which are worth $36 Billion.


Because when she was brought in to lead Yahoo, it gave a huge hope the same way people hoped when Jack came back to Twitter. But there's also a conspiracy theory I like that she was primarily brought in to be made the scapegoat and being criticised while Jack still being admired as a visionary (While I'd argue DC is a better one to do lead Twitter, but he faced the same fate as MM)


In the days when Mayer was at Google, Silicon Valley was one of the few places in America with a relatively meritocratic labor market and its firms (including Google at the time) had risen to prominence by upsetting incumbent industries and not through corporate welfare and cronyism.

A lot has changed. Schmidt weaponized Google's offering and helped sell to DC, turning Google into the Halliburton of information.

I think the typical notion of capitalism is too broad (and encompasses the gamut of disruptive businesses, traditional "crony" capitalism, rent-seeking, and borderline fraud). The WSJ caters mainly to establishment ("crony" and rent-seeking) capitalist readers. HN includes more classically liberal views.

Also, I think few people realize that Mayer's comp package was an exercise in leverage and risk reduction for both parties. Taking the helm of a project that has failed under a handful of seasoned practitioners is certainly not something most people would feel comfortable doing in their own line of work.


I just don't get it personally, I would think HN being about startups would be more capitalist. I mean, she did her job, she didn't to my knowledge do anything unethical. She negotiated her salary based on her credentials and the board gave her that salary. My capitalist opinion is, fucking good for you, I hope to be in that position some day.


It's the result of cognitive dissonance. Many closeted capitalists don't want to admit, even to themselves, that the pursuit of money far outstrips other incentives and especially the vague Gavin Belson-esque promises to "make the world a better place". Seeing someone actually make a fortune will thus evoke strong and conflicting feelings almost immediately.


The WSJ has gone way downhill after the Newscorp acquisition. The WSJ is now a tabloid. The misinformed comments on the Yahoo deal are just a symptom of readers who are not really involved in finance or public company governance, and do not understand what MM was hired to do. She served the shareholders very well. Yes it is extremely disappointing to see all the delightful little tech properties that are now part of the Evil Empire. But, they already sold out, and furthermore, that has nothing to do with MM's performance. Seems like most people here agree she did a great job or at least did not screw up a good deal for Yahoo's shareholders. It may look easy but I suspect there were very difficult corporate politics to navigate. Maybe someone will write a nice book about this deal in a couple years and we can get the juicy gossip then.


I agree about the polarizing part. I think she is paid pretty similar to most CEOs, but she seems to get much more hate because she stands out.

This page does have more complementary comments than normal, I think startup world likes a clean exit, but maybe its just people have given up moaning about her and are over it.


She did bad as CEO. Every one who dies that badly will be criticized. Female CEO wont get exception.


I'm not sure that I've ever seen a CEO get extensively criticized on HN for their pay. I feel like this needs at least a single anecdotal comparison from both the WSJ and HN for the question to get any sort of real answers.


I think you're comparing general population with technical population at HN, many of which are in leadership roles and would naturally be more sympathetic because they understand the struggles of growing a company. People who don't get it simply don't understand the situation and wonder why Yahoo isn't dead already or why they have insane payouts for a CEO which essentially finished the downward spiral.


The external diagnosis of a situation must always be minted in racism, misogyny or struggle. You are not allowed to criticize without starting there


I can't claim to have any insight into group psychology here so I'll only speak for myself. I'm much more interested in the aspect of the story that has Marisa Mayer failing to save a sinking ship than I am interested in the ludicrous golden parachute. There is something interesting to discuss about the former but nothing interesting to discuss about the latter.


Yes for sure. I'm much more interested in the former as well. I have read and commented on a number of Yahoo and Mayer comments but yeah seems like I'm always only interested in the failing ship part


Take 50 million out of that and find really skilled engineers and product guys and maybe the company could turn around?


How many "rockstars" would that cover in SV?


Enough to build a Dropbox inside Yahoo.


> a much less capitalist-friendly corner of the internet

Since when? It's a pro-capitalism, free-market, libertarian, Ayn Rand, love-fest in here most days.

Talking against those points is a great way to be voted down unless you happen to be commenting in a thread that has attracted the smaller left-wing side of HN.


WSJ has a more economically sophisticated audience and this place is full of crypto-libertarians.


The CEO's salary, even if absurdly high, will generally pale in comparison to the revenue of the company. So long as salaries and other expenses aren't absurdly high across the board, a high CEO salary will only have a marginal effect on the company as a whole. Since her compensation only really affects her, those saying it should be lower aren't concerned for yahoo, but rather jealous of her. They think they could have done what she's done, and don't know why she's getting paid so well for it while they aren't. Capitalism (at it extreme) takes as an assumption that things are distributed fairly, and that merit is what achieves a reward. Deviations from this are therefore a source of ire to capitalists.


I remember in previous posts Marissa Mayer's salary was already discussed to death. I think this discussion just focuses on the new information in this post.


Most stories or comments I see on the web are about Mayer's "male purge" but also her salary/severance after gutting Yahoo.


maybe it's because over her watch a legendary company died? and at the same time she got paid a lot. not that it's completely her fault. i think reactions would be the same regardless of gender. if anything, people are more scared to question her for fear of being labeled sexist


Typical muckraking...

I have ideas about muckraking. Give it a rest?


[flagged]


Tangent: pleas me can we stop with "social justice warrior" nonsense? Us Europeans are getting mighty tired of the polarisation of American domestic politics leaking out online ;)


Europe is more divided that you seem to realize. Ire toward dogmatic progressivism isn't consigned to US domestic politics - it pervades the West. Just look at the UK, Hungary and Australia right now.


Oh trust me, we Americans are getting tired of it too.


Can't offer any proof but going to say it's because she's a woman.


She is planning to run for President. Probably why.


its because she's pretty. nothing gets a lesser man more jelly than a pretty woman that is powerful.

does not compute. has nothing to do with the money.


Maybe because HN readers are slightly more tuned to the relationship between numbers (in terms of magnitude)? In other words they feel instinctively her pay is a numerical irrelevance given the context?


She's a woman. Incompetence in other CEOs is generally ignored and tolerated.


I don't think that's necessary fair; she has far more celebrity attached to her name than just about anyone else who could have taken the spot.


> Take away Marissa Mayer from this story, and replace her with a generic CEO, and I'm not sure we'd see the same mood in either comment section.

That may be true, but it doesn't make the comments about her being overpaid any less valid; or analysis of what happened with Yahoo any less interesting.

I think the special outrage over Mayer has an element of misogyny (how can it not?), but I honestly think it's mostly fueled by the fact that most of her public decisions (ending remote work, etc.) seem like changing uniforms on the staff of the Titanic as it sinks.

When someone does a terrible job I don't think they should get paid more money than most people will ever see in their lifetime. I think a lot of people feel that way. Mayer is not unique in this, there's plenty of terrible executives who are wealthy, she was just a really visible one.


I don't know. If you replace Marissa Mayer with a generic CEO, and Yahoo did just as badly under that CEO, there might be just as much anger and/or contempt. See Steve Ballmer for an example - and Microsoft didn't do badly under him, just less great than it did under Bill Gates.

(Yes, I know that lots of the vitriol aimed at Ballmer was for various weird public antics. But he was also regarded as a dud of a CEO, and roundly criticized for not actually knowing how to run Microsoft.)


> If you replace Marissa Mayer with a generic CEO, and Yahoo did just as badly under that CEO, there might be just as much anger and/or contempt.

But Yahoo was doing a much worse job before she got there! How many articles have you seen on HN about Scott Thompson? About Carol Bartz? About Terry Semel?


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