by Gray Graham
This past week Yahoo was the talk of the tech world for a couple of days (that is until Microsoft released the Xbox One but that is another post) with their purchase of Tumblr the hip, cool microblogging site loved by Millennials who are trying move past Facebook and Twitter. At the time I said that in one move Yahoo was making itself social again but they would have been better off just making Flickr better.
Well someone at Yahoo must have heard me because later that evening Yahoo throws a giant party to tell everyone how great the new and improved Flickr is going to be. When Marissa Mayer took over Yahoo the first thing people asked her to do is make Flickr great again. Apparently she was listening.
I guess the shopping spree was not over because Yahoo on Thursday announced that they had just purchased PlayerScale a new startup that provides backend support to game developers. Before all of this started Yahoo purchased Summly a news reading app created by a 17-year old British high school student for reportedly 30 million dollars.
So do you see a pattern here. Well if you have been following Yahoo for a number of years and not just since Mayer took over you will see the same pattern that Yahoo has always done. Buy companies, change them up, and then shut them down. It is something that Yahoo has done over and over again. So what is different this time you might ask, Mayer is in charge of the company.
Marrisa Mayer is a rockstar in the tech universe. She helped make Google what it is today. She very wealthy. She strikes that balance between being smart and cute to appeal to the male-dominated tech industry. She is not a feminist that calls for the rising up of oppressed women everywhere. She is a young, successful woman that seems tailored made for techies, nerds, geeks, and most importantly tech journalists and pundits.
If anyone else had done the same things as Mayer has done since taking over Yahoo, except focus on Flickr, then the people saying how great these moves are would be screaming how the Yahoo board made a mistake yet again in choosing a CEO. Since it is Mayer though she has gotten a pass.
In fact she has gotten a pass on plenty of things that would have roasted any other CEO such as ending workplace flexibility, saying she is not a feminist, oh and let's not forget this week's gem of there being no need for professional photographers anymore (more on this too in another blog post).
I don't know if Mayer has a plan or not. I keep being told that she is too smart not to have a plan. Last time I checked most people that run companies are pretty smart. They all have college degrees and years of experience. It has not stopped plenty of them from failing over the years, including the previous CEOs of Yahoo most of which had proven success operating a large company. It has yet to be shown if Mayer will be a success.
The stock price is higher so I guess that counts for something. Time will definitely tell what that something is.