meyer – Stay N Alive

The Marissa Mayer Era is All About Product

People keep saying Yahoo engineers and employees are going to feel less-likely to want to leave Yahoo now that +Marissa Mayer is the CEO. While I’m sure it will be a more comfortable environment, I would be worried right now if I worked there. Here’s why:

Yahoo needs a complete reboot.

If Marissa’s smart, she’ll kill just about everything except a few core projects the company is good at, and start over. Yahoo’s now the underdog, which means they need to move fast. They need to go back to startup mode. The mode Google was in when Marissa joined Google. They’ve got to be able to move faster, move better, and out-pace the likes of Google and Facebook as they move forward. They need a core focus as they do this.

For that reason I anticipate many employees being let go and Yahoo going back to core principles and values. Yahoo, more than anything needs to focus.

My Yahoo? Goodbye. Yahoo mail? Goodbye. Flickr? Goodbye. You can probably say most programs outside search, social, and perhaps mobile will go. Or, Yahoo will decide a different focus and get rid of everything that is not that. If they don’t, Yahoo won’t survive. They simply can’t, nor can they move fast enough right now to beat the competition. In many ways, this is what Google did with Google+ (but Google could afford not to need to lay anyone off in the process). I bet Marissa does the same at Yahoo, at even greater scale.

Marissa’s an expert at Product Management – that’s what she did at Google. This means she’ll pick a few products, iterate quickly, and move fast. Then, they’ll expand from there and adapt as they grow. At the moment Yahoo’s stuck in waterfall mode and Marissa’s the perfect person to get them out of that mess.

Posted originally on Google+.