Shock. Stunned. Amazed. Surprised. This is how users on the Web have been reacting to the news of Marissa Mayer being appointed as the new CEO of Yahoo. And the reason to be surprised is due to the fact that Marissa Mayer was previously working for Google for nearly 13 years, since she first joined the search engine giant (as employee number 20) in 1999.
Kudos to Yahoo, and indeed this is a great move for the company, which has been desperately hunting for the right leader in the last few years with having switched over to three not-so-good CEOs in less than a year and a total of five in the last four years. Yahoo has terrifically failed to shine in the industry, as its competitors grew stronger with innovative services, while Yahoo was left behind with barely anything to offer.
During the era of Carol Bartz, Yahoo’s worst nightmare, the company lost some of the popular services like Yahoo Buzz, Delicious, and Yahoo Geocities, which were either shut down, or were sold away. Yahoo not only lost most of its services during that time, but also it was this point of time where it lost many users to its competitors.
Yahoo has had a rough history. Today, Mayer takes over the CEO’s post, and I’m sure she has that potential to do great things for Yahoo, using her experience from her previous company and having the quality of a perfectionist executive. Sure Marissa is a challenging person who has always strived to take up challenging tasks, however, with Yahoo’s huge drawbacks and poor history, will she be successful enough to rightfully make Yahoo reputable again? Well, I see a very thin chance of that happening.
Marissa at Google
Speaking of Marissa Mayer, let’s look at some of her contributions she has supervised and managed at Google. Mayer has been an engineer, designer, product manager, and executive in her last 13 years at Google, and has also launched over 100 well-known features and products. She was in charge of services like Local Maps and Location Services, and has also supervised products which included Google Maps, Google Earth, Street View and Zagat for desktop and mobile.
Back in 2001, Mayer was a part of the 15 member team who created — recognized to be the most famous motto — “Don’t Be Evil.” She masterminded the layout of Google’s famous, blank, simple search homepage.
In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives, a book authored by Steven Levy states that, Mayer was one among the three member team who actually brought out the idea and invented Google AdWords. Today, Google AdWords is one of the main reasons why Google is a billion dollar company. For the record, Google’s total advertising revenues were USD$10.6 billion in the first quarter last year, which is over 90 percent of its revenue.
Mayer was also in charge for the following Google products that are currently used by almost hundreds of millions of users on the Internet: The Gmail Inbox, Google News, and Google Images.
According to Wikipedia, Mayer graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in a symbolic systems and an M.S. in Computer Science. She specifically liked artificial intelligence, which she specialized in both the degrees. She also has a honoris causa doctorate degree in recognition of her work in the field of search from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Fortunately, Yahoo doesn’t have to worry about Marissa’s résumé or education background, since they are all for real, unlike the previous CEO Scott Thompson who faked his résumé.
She was promoted as the Vice President of Search Products and User Experience, after which she was appointed as the Vice President of Local, Maps, and Location Services in 2010.
Google’s Loss is Yahoo’s Gain
The only way Yahoo can make a comeback is by hiring talented and skilled teams, and the first move by appointing Mayer as the CEO seems to be great. However, Yahoo also needs to offer some innovative services and improvise its existing tools. Flickr could have been Instagram today, only if Yahoo had taken it up seriously.
Mayer has the potential and understands the weakness of the troubled company, and if she plays her skills and strengths in a right way — getting Yahoo to sell advertisements — Yahoo could see a positive change in its growth.
According to The New York Times, “As she hashes out Yahoo’s strategy, Ms. Mayer said she is intent on leveraging the Internet company’s strong franchises including email, finance and sports. She also hopes to do more with its video broadband and its mobile businesses.”
Win or Fail? We Don’t Know Yet
Mobile is THE future, and Marissa seems to be going in a right direction on this. However, she could equally fail big time amidst the competition between Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Yahoo has a lot of drawbacks and there is very less scope for improvement; a highly staked job that Marissa has taken up. Will Mayer be successful and bring about a change? I hope so. Yahoo’s co-founder has a lot of appreciation for new CEO, who in a statement said, “She is a visionary leader in user experience and product design.”
Once again, kudos to Yahoo for having appointed Marissa Myer as its CEO. Hopefully, we should see improvements and some great contributions made by the new CEO for Yahoo and help regain its lost reputation.