Why do I get the feeling that the author is referring to newly hatched Velociraptors rather than human beings?
It's not like this "bonding" will mean they recognise Mayer as their den mother for life or something.
But she took time to get to know us, share stories from the Early Days, give advice about the valley, sing karaoke — even with a baby on the way! She seemed genuinely invested in each of us, and it's hard not to reciprocate and respect her for that. I laughed when I read the article because "den mother" is not an unfair characterization :)
But that said, most APMs from my year aren't ready to jump ship to Yahoo!, at least for now.
We will have to wait at least 6 months to really start seeing if Mayer is able to grapple with the listless behemoth that is Yahoo. Most of that time will be her getting up to speed and laying her own foundation on where the company should go. So don't expect to see much in the surface for at least that long.
Digging further into the content of the story, in many ways this can be considered a valuable resource she has been building for many years.
People will follow a good mentor if there are special opportunities on offer. There are many people at Google and other places that are not satisfied with their options. To these people, money is not as satisfying as control and advancement. If Mayer is able to offer key people better options, many will be inclined to at least explore the idea.
Don't hang on to this idea that Yahoo is the place to suicide your career and/or company via acquisition. That's the old and current Yahoo. If Mayer is able to overcome that old inertia, then Yahoo could easily become a very hot place to be again. A good analogy is to think of an old, massive forest. It's all old trees that are half dead and centuries of undergrowth. A fire finally comes along and sweeps through. All of the undergrowth and dead trees are burned away. Now many young and vibrant plants can grow again, animals come back in abundance, and the whole forest ecosystem is better than ever. And please, hold off on the fucking criticisms of my version of forest ecology. It's an analogy.
So the point here is that if Mayer can start changing things finally, then there will be all kinds of interesting new things that people close to her could benefit from over the next few years.
Are you insinuating that she'll focus more on her family than her job?
If you want to pretend, for political correctness' sake, that we're not largely slaves to our hormones, have fun with that.
I got hardly any sleep, so if that is "being a slave to my hormones" I'm all for it!
Either way, I think it is fair to say that the effects or parenthood are very unpredictable.
For all we know lower testosterone levels may lead to a heightened business acumen.
If you're someone that Google has decided is an "up", I highly doubt Google is going to let these people go so easily. These people are already being aggressively retained with bonuses and the like.
If you're an "out", well, by definition Yahoo won't be that interested.
And the "ups" that "became outs", so to speak, are people who are of such strong personal conviction that they turned down gobs of money in 2007 from Google to, say, take a riskier position at Facebook or do their own thing. In those cases, it's unlike more gobs of money from Yahoo in 2012 will convince them to jump ship, unless Marissa can offer things to recruits that she couldn't offer to recruits at Google. (This seems unlikely - there was little Google couldn't offer the APMs it lost.)
Here's a pitch for you:
You can stay at Google, be successful and make good money. But here at Yahoo we have this search engine. We want YOU to make it better and more profitable than Google is. Look - we'll pay you plenty of money to come, but I'm sure Google will offer you just as much ore more to stay. But if you succeed in this role - which everyone assumes we won't even attempt - then you will be a legend in Silicon Valley forever.
The upper levels are like grad school... you go for the reputation of the boss/professor.
APM Program : Big Companies :: YCombinator : Startups
APMers have a great deal of respect for Marissa, and she invests heavily in the program. There's no doubt Marissa knows how to recruit talent really well. That said, it's not as if current APMs will be clamoring for jobs at Yahoo. For better or worse, most seemed to be motivated by status and learning opportunities. If Marissa can offer both at Yahoo, then it could be enticing.
So why not apply to YC instead of learning how to not innovate?
The article lists some of the bigger successes from the APM program. There's also a lot of smaller ones you'll never hear about.
Strategies for innovation don't have to be mutually exclusive. Google has decided talent acquisitions are one way to continue innovation. They've also decided the APM program is another, which is why it continues to this day.
Google's blessing is that it has a naturally large audience for showing new features/products. Its curse is that innovation has to be planned more carefully, both from a technical and a product point of view. That's where APMs do really well.
I would just like to note I met some of said APMs in a gathering in Tel Aviv and they were all cordial, knowledgeable in their topics of work and helpful. After speaking in passing with one of them I was contacted in less than a week by the VP responsible for the topic in EMEA - I don't know if it's typical for a Google employee, but my casual impression was all that article said and more.
This article also has a good example of the blatant anti-intellectualism used in tech management:
"The ideal applicants must have technical talent, but not be total programming geeks — APMs had to have social finesse and business sense."
Obviously anybody 'too geeky' couldn't possibly have social finesse or business sense, but these APMs, with less than 18 months experience, were supposedly the uber-elite commandos at everything. The article goes further with the common theme of trying to confuse the source of technical talent. It claims that "Yahoo will be hiring great managers and product people" which will (of course) solve the problem that "the best techies have gone elsewhere."
Business schools espouse the same kind of inner-circle-ism: anoint the inexperienced, give them access, and tell them they are special and they will be under your control. B-Schools do it to get people to pay $100k+ for a degree program while Mayer seems to have done this for power. It's not a bad strategy political-wise, but it only works in the short term.
(If the article is true) It looks like the best way to get promoted at Google is to be "not too geeky" and join the APM program than join as an engineer with the same level of experience, where the chances are you'll get assigned to some creaking legacy code bug fixing with not much chance of creating an impact on the organization. Middle Management vs Engineering as the fast track career path in large companies. Not much of a contest.
Obviously, I'm just one data point.
I also wonder whether many APMs display any sense of clubby entitlement? Probably not many of them do, but in any group like that there are usually a few here and there.
If you want to be a PM, Google probably isn't the best place for you, just as you probably wouldn't work for a steel company to write software.
This is a different problem altogether.
The Yahoo case looks like a more difficult problem precisely because the APM was so successful. In hindsight it looks obvious. But it wasn't obvious in 2002.
To say that it is ridiculous for this to happen to Marissa is in my books the same as saying that she is not a good executive. People will follow her. The only question is who, and what their impact will be.
Exactly. Now that she is a CEO, her old direct reports can follow her over and be in higher positions than they were at Google. They can have more control than they had at Google and implement their collective ideas as they see fit.
Second, I think it's ludicrous to dismiss the value of the connections and impression that someone like Mayer would make by heading up such a program at such company. In short, she's got one of the best networks of talent, many of whom feel indebted to her. I'd expect at least a few of them will be glad to come to Yahoo, if Mayer calls.
As the article pointed out, however, It’s not surprising that a high percentage of APMs go elsewhere. APMs are chosen for their ambition and independence. Those traits are often at odds with working at a big company
A successful executive at any organization could be expected to bring along X number of of loyal reports if they move laterally. It seems likely though that the especially ambitious and independent individuals discussed would be less likely to do so.
This could be compounded by the reported personal difficulty some individuals had while working with her (Douglas Edwards' book http://www.amazon.com/Im-Feeling-Lucky-Confessions-Employee/...).
In all, the headline sensationalized the situation: she developed an employee incubator program at Google and some of the graduates will probably end up at Yahoo.
The last big move like this I'm aware of was Steve Jobs' Apple take-over, where he managed to turn Apple into a bigger NeXT, and either shunt all the classic Mac OS people to the sidelines, or force them (as much as possible) to adapt.
It wasn't a perfect transition (see: Carbon vs Cocoa and attempts to retire Carbon internally), but it was a pragmatic one, and it worked.
I'm not holding my breath, but it would be a major coup if she can do the same. Unfortunately for her, and unlike Apple's acquisition of NeXT, Yahoo didn't acquire her previous employer -- this would have greatly facilitated the wholesale replacement of entire dysfunctional teams from a new, better talent pool.
If Marissa Mayer is as good as the general consensus is and has built connections with all these other smart people, I don't see why it would be a surprise if she turns Yahoo around as a genuine competitor. I don't think that she has to achieve this via some 'coupe'. After all, Yahoo has paid her massive amounts. I am sure they believe in her and respect her decisions rather than be upset with it.
"Especially given the currently depressed state of Yahoo stock, and the potentially enormous upside of the stock options that will undoubtedly be available." -- http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4282459
"Strictly on market cap alone, there is a lot more headway in YHOO. It's much easier to image their stock (and thus stock options) tripling in the next few years than GOOG. Microsoft ran into this problem when Google was still small." -- http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4283129
Any turnaround at Yahoo is going to have to build on the backs of user sign up which mean yahoo mail will need to start killing it against gmail. I would be surprised if we didn't see a revamped and rebranded (cough ymail) email launched at a big press event in the next 5-6 months.
I wonder if the Sparrow acquisition was accelerated when she left because Google decided they needed to accelerate their gmail roadmap too.
The idea that Google's best and brightest will now jump ship to work at Yahoo seems unlikely.
I know a lot of APMs. Most of them are actually still at Google, but the ones that leave usually do so to found or be the first PM at a startup.
Also, from a self-actualization perspective it may be preferable to by VP of Worldwide Widgets at Yahoo than Director of EMEA Widgets at Google.
Regardless, all the fru-fru management speak is useless unless Yahoo can figure out what their product is, which it seems to have never been clear ever since it gave up on search and being the defacto easy to use web subject directory. They lost on search. Text based subject directories as simply not sexy to management types, who chose to ignore that is what most of their traffic was for when they were more popular. At this point its just a huge product-less enterprise running on fumes and coasting to a stop.