Posts tagged Yahoo!

Thoughts on Marissa Mayer

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An insight, an idea: Marissa Mayer

Yahoo! got the CEO they wanted. They wanted someone who would put work before family. They wanted someone who would make the company–and employees–toe the line.

So no more working from home, although Mayer has the clout and the capital to bring her home to work.

I do recognize, as Amanda Enayati points out in her CNN opinion piece, that Meyer was hired to turn around a company that isn’t performing. It’s entirely possible that the existing work-from-home policy was being grossly abused, and that this is an effort to rid the company of dead weight.

As this Forbes piece points out, Marissa Meyer has always put a premium on face-to-face interaction–so this move was a surprise to many, but in fact is in keeping with her track record.

But I also believe that it’s not fair to refuse to let people work from home during the day, but expect them to do so at night. And saying “You can work from home when your child is sick” assumes that you’re not taking care of that sick child.

Flexibility matters, as former HP CEO Carly Fiorina points out. Surely there is a middle ground–regular work-at-home days don’t have to mean that a worker is never in the office. And they certainly don’t have to mean that there is no accountability.

And the latest evidence that Mayer is delivering what Yahoo! wants? Her 6-month bonus.

$1.2 million? Come on.

It’s like Yahoo! wants the rest of us to hate them. And her.

Photo by World Economic Forum, via Flickr. Creative Commons.

Yahoo! and Corporate Communications

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Carol Bartz, CEO of Yahoo! was fired yesterday. The first widespread notice was an e-mail she sent to employees, which according to the New York Times read:

I am very sad to tell you that I’ve just been fired over the phone by Yahoo’s Chairman of the Board. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward.

For starters, no one wants to be fired over the phone. Maybe it was the only feasible way, depending on where the parties were at the time, but it’s hardly ideal.

As The Consumerist points out, Bartz was hired to turn Yahoo! and its share price around, and that hasn’t happened. So the firing wasn’t necessarily shocking. Then, Yahoo! sent out its own message, in a press release that included the following paragraph:

Roy Bostock, Chairman of the Yahoo! Board, said, “The Board sees enormous growth opportunities on which Yahoo! can capitalize, and our primary objective is to leverage the Company’s leadership and current business assets and platforms to execute against these opportunities. We have talented teams and tremendous resources behind them and intend to return the Company to a path of robust growth and industry-leading innovation. We are committed to exploring and evaluating possibilities and opportunities that will put Yahoo! on a trajectory for growth and innovation and deliver value to shareholders.”

Does Roy Bostock really talk like that? I’m not sure anyone does–not when they’re actually trying to say something, that is. This reads more like someone trying to avoid saying anything. I think David Meerman Scott gets it right when he says, “Yahoo! missed an opportunity to communicate like humans and deliver some real information.”

A press release shouldn’t be in code. Tell people what they need to know in a way they can easily understand. We’re all busy. Show that you respect that. What have you got to lose?

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