Can Marissa Mayer defib Yahoo!

Lesser known, potentially interesting things about Marissa Mayer – her interview with Lady Gaga got 2 million viewers on Musicians@Google – she once had trouble mastering a Weigh-and-Pay machine in Switzerland, performed in the Nutcracker, and she’s on the Board of San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art.

That said, today we’re all talking about her becasue she’s signed up for one the toughest challenges in technology: CEO of Yahoo!. Mayer is a techy – she was employee number 20 at Google – and VP of Search Products- ran Google’s Location services and had key roles in Maps and GMail. That’s a pretty good run for a 37 year old scientist.

At the heart of her decision to move, I suspect, is that she sees this new role as a monumental challenge. Despite her success and standing at Google she wasn’t pronoted’ to the senior-management team last year at Google when co-founder Larry Page took up the role of CEO from Eric Schmidt. In an interview she implied that it wasn’t quite her time for that role – she may be right, but at that point perhaps she decided that she’d achieved as much as she could at Google – and the first seed of doubt may have been sown.

Born: Marissa Ann Mayer May 30, 1975 (age 37) : Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
Schools: Wausau West High School & Stanford University
Occupation: President & CEO, Yahoo! : Board member at Walmart
Interests: Board member of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Ballet, New York City Ballet, National Design Museum.

Kevin Fox, legendary designer and former Googler made his opinion known yesterday:

And it is her effectiveness that Yahoo! dearly need. I mentioned in a radio interview this evening that I’ve always had a soft spot for Yahoo!; I went to a Yahoo! product launch party 10 or 11 years ago (I went to everything then)and I encountered a culture, ideals and people that attracted me to them as a brand. However, it’s been a steady roll down-hill ever since and Yahoo! now sits firmly below it’s competitors in earnigs and potential. Their market share outside the USA is dismal and their product offering too disparate and diverse to be taken seriously by partners and more importantly advertisers. What can change with the arrival of Mayer? Well for s start, nothing for a while. Or at least nothing visible for a while. I get teh impression that Mayer will be measured in her plan. Google succeeded brilliantly by doing a few things brilliantly – and they succeeded by knowing and predicting what peoplr were doing on the web. Yahoo! need an advertising proposition like AdWords, Mayer was a member of teh team that created it at Google. Google purchased DoubleClick and it transformed the way they do business with advertisiers and publishers. 

“Marissa Mayer is one of a few people who has enough gravitas to ignore public markets for a while and do what’s long-term best for Yahoo.”
– Chris Dixon, Tech Investor, via Twitter@cdixon

Google’s ad serving technology is superb – currently unrivalled by any competitor. The ads you see on this site are served by Google and I in turn advertise on other sites via Google – I am both a publisher and advertiser. I have tried FaceBook advertising and LinkedIn advertising and although the targeting of FaceBook and the ease of use and professional nature of LinkedIn appeals to me – neither compare to Google’s integrated offering. Google also acquired Urchin, the definitive analytics engine from a decade ago and turned it into the superb Google Analytics. Three elements of a strategy – three product offerings that were developed, honed and most importantly, integrated into into an offering that I find invaluable.

Yahoo need to overhaul what they offer, and to who. Page 2>>

  1. Yahoo! corporate info
  2. Coverage at The Guardian : technology
  3. Fortune Blog reports: New Yahoo! CEO is pregnant
  4. Marissa Mayer entry @ Wikipedia

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