Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is in the process of transforming one of the most famous and beloved online companies in the world. After less than a year on the job she has already made a number of significant and at times controversial moves to try to turn the company around.
Although she still has some serious work cut out for her and needs to find a way to transform the massive company into one that can more adequately compete against today’s Web giants, if anyone is up to the task, it’s her. As a former Google Search chief and one of the best employees the search giant ever had, Mayer is the ideal choice to run Yahoo. She might even have what it takes to pull off this daunting task.
That Yahoo could succeed was thought to be impossible just years ago. The company was watching its search market share fall at a rapid rate, and its advertising business lagged far behind Google’s. Although it was still the most popular Web site in the world, its actual value to those using it was waning. It was clear something needed to be done, and Marissa Mayer seemed like just the person for the job.
Now well into her first year as Yahoo’s chief executive, Mayer is showing that her understanding of the marketplace and her ability to find the right deals for the right prices might just be the formula that keep’s Yahoo’s recovery on track.
Here are the reasons why Mayer’s work at Yahoo will help her and Yahoo succeed in the long run.
1. Don’t discount that Google background
Marissa Mayer came to Yahoo from Google. While she was there, Mayer was arguably the most prominent person outside of the big three—Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt. The fact that she left Google, with all of that knowledge and went to Yahoo says everything a person needs to know about her ability to take a somewhat similar company and turn things around.
2. She brought other ex-Googlers to Yahoo
Soon after joining Yahoo it appeared that Mayer was sitting in Mountain View and hiring all of her old friends from Google. A large portion of Mayer’s executive staff right now comes from Google. That so-called “brain drain” could come back to haunt Google and help Yahoo in a big way.
3. She’s not afraid to partner with Google
Although she might be stealing some of Google’s talent, Marissa Mayer has made it clear to investors that she won’t shy away from partnering with her former company. In fact, rumors have been swirling for quite some time that Google and Yahoo are in talks on a wide array of possible partnerships. Will such deals happen? It’s certainly possible.
4. Spending cash is usually a good idea
One of the best things Mayer has done so far is spend her company’s cash wisely. She has made several acquisitions in the online and media world, and has even invested in some so-called “acqu-hires,” where she bought a firm’s employees for her own development efforts. Yahoo needs more talent, and Mayer is bringing it in.
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5. Yahoo is still an extremely popular site
Let’s not forget that Yahoo is consistently one of the most-visited Web sites in the world, its email platform is still quite popular and it has enough people who are still using Yahoo as their browser home page that it still generates boatloads of cash. If Yahoo loses its enduring popularity, one of the first signs will be if people drop it as their favorite home page. Then it will be in for trouble. But so far, so good.
6. Don’t discount the many, many verticals
Yahoo is a multifaceted company nowadays. The company is obviously still a search powerhouse and with help from its many media properties, it is one of the world’s most popular destinations for news and opinions. Yahoo also has a host of Web tools, image-management tools and other products designed to be a destination for all users. In some ways, it’s succeeding.
7. She already has a solid company
One of the most important things to understand about Mayer is that she didn’t come into the company with nothing to stand on. Quite the contrary, Yahoo has been generating billions of dollars in profits for a long time. And the company’s cash coffers grow each year. Yahoo was a relatively healthy company when Mayer took over. The main problem was Yahoo growth had stagnated, overshadowed as it is by Google, and that is what shareholders and critics said. But now Yahoo is in better shape and should continue to recover with Mayer at the helm.
8. It really is about integration
The current way for technology companies to succeed in the industry is to fully integrate their products across a wide array of platforms. Yahoo is doing that with its search, home page, mail and messaging. The company has also found a way to leverage mobile without focusing too heavily on it. All in all, Yahoo’s integration is quite good, thanks to Mayer.
9. She’s not trying to do too much
The last thing Mayer should have done walking into Yahoo was to try and blow up the company and change it in dramatic ways. Mayer actually did the right thing by slowing down, figuring out where the problem areas were and making simple, smart moves. So far, that has worked. And Yahoo is on a better track because of it.
10. Shareholders are giving her time
When Marissa Mayer took over at Yahoo, she reportedly asked that the board give her enough time to try and make things right at the company. Luckily for Mayer, the shareholders obliged. Succeeding in the technology market is all about time—managing it, being ready for its changes and adapting to its speed. Mayer understands that. And Yahoo will succeed because of her knowledge.