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New Yahoo CEO Mayer’s First Moves Emulate Google
According to AllThingsD freshly minted Yahoo CEO is making some initial changes at the Sunnyvale company intended to boost morale and inject new energy into the place. Among the changes being implemented are a Friday afternoon “all-hands” meeting, free food and forthcoming reworking of the workspaces.
In these moves Mayer is apparently using Google as the model. However, product changes and upgrades are coming too. AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher says that her indefatigable sources at Yahoo suggest there will be an acquisition or product-related announcement coming soon, to signal Yahoo’s return to a product-oriented focus.
There will also be a range of new hires, with at least some key people coming from Google.
People in tech journalism continue to offer their unsolicited advice while simultaneously asking the tired question “What is Yahoo?” However, getting Yahoo moving again is more important than publicly trying to define Yahoo in a single sentence.
Nonetheless, there are critical questions behind and beneath the What is Yahoo? query. Those include questions of emphasis and resource allocation. Yahoo has far less cash in the bank than Mayer’s old employer so choices and acquisitions will need to be carefully made. Mayer’s predecessor CEO Carol Bartz decided to bet on a few leading Yahoo products (e.g., mail, sports, news) and outsource everything else to cut costs.
It’s not clear yet what Mayer will emphasize. I believe, among other things, she’s got to reinvigorate Yahoo’s local and mobile efforts, which are directly connected and key areas for growth. Along those lines she may also want to “clean up” some of the SMB services, which go hand in hand with local. There’s a solid opportunity there as well.
She’s also got to keep working on Yahoo Mail, a critical source of ad impressions and traffic for the company. You’ll know she’s succeeded if she can make it “cool” to have a Yahoo email address again.
At this point I won’t speculate further. As a final note, however, investor Dave McClure thinks that Yahoo should focus on women. It’s not a bad idea to place additional emphasis there but not to the exclusion of the broader audience.