Today, Yahoo sent purple exclamation points through Silicon Valley when it announced that longtime Google executive Marissa Mayer will be the company's new CEO. What would possess a woman to go from arguably the coolest internet company to arguably the saddest? Did Mayer bump up against it the world's highest glass ceiling?
The Times reports that Mayer, who was Holy Crap born in 1975, has been with Google since nearly the beginning. She was Google's first female engineer, and worked her way up to number 20 in the company. She's mentored all sorts of famous rich nerds. But, even after being one of Google's most visible executives and helping develop some of the company's most successful products, what Google could offer her could no longer match her ambition.
After years of heading-up its search business, Google's most profitable unit, Ms. Mayer became vice president of the company's local efforts in late 2010. The following year, Google then promoted another executive, Jeff Huber, to be the senior vice president of local and commerce, putting him one level above Ms. Mayer's post.
In what may have been a response to that professional burn, Mayer resigned her post at Google by phone today, and will begin work as Yahoo's new CEO tomorrow.
So, how can she take Yahoo from the "rudderless" company it is now to a new, hip Company of the Future? By focusing on products that work, she says. Products like email, sports, and, uh, commercials with that cool "Yaho-ooo" sound effect at the end.
If she's looking for an example of the sort of person who uses her new company's products, she should check out my dad. He still has a Yahoo email address, because when he signed up for email, gmail didn't yet exist and he was worried that the "hotmail" domain was too suggestive sounding. So maybe Mayer should focus her CEO-ship on that overlooked demographic: outdoorsy luddite fathers who hate things with sexy names.