September 24, 2013
What is Marissa Mayer Actually Doing?

Yahoo stock hit another 52-week high—actually, a five-year high—as the backlash against (or, at least, heavy skepticism toward) CEO Marissa Mayer’s ubiquity tour continues to grow.

Looking at Yahoo today, there are at least two big picture questions: (1) Why does the stock keep going up if revenue isn’t growing? and (2) Does the stock’s success suggest that Mayer is brilliant, lucky, or overrated?

The answer to the first question helps to answer the second question. The irony of the Mayer Stimulus is that much of the stock increase has been driven by investments by the CEOs that came before her. Co-founder Jerry Yang negotiated a 25 percent stake in Alibaba, the Chinese online search-and-commerce juggernaut, which has exploded in the last year and is nearing an IPO. “Most of the enthusiasm about Yahoo’s stock price is a reflection of the company’s investment in Alibaba [the Chinese search-and-shopping giant] and Yahoo Japan,” said analyst Scott Kessler. 

So, yes, Marissa Mayer has been very, very lucky. Yahoo emerged from a four-year nap just as she took the job, thanks to the appreciation of an investment made years earlier. But luck and skill aren’t mutually exclusive. Yahoo is a online-advertising business—search and display—and Mayer understands the most important thing about online advertising, which is that it’s moving to mobile and the company wasn’t ready for it. Look beyond the $1.1 billion purchase of Tumblr and the glitzy mag and conference appearances, and that’s where Mayer’s focus has been: Dragging the company into mobile age by updating its email, apps, video, and news portals for ambulatory, non-desktop readers.
But even after a year, Yahoo doesn’t have an obvious path forward.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

What is Marissa Mayer Actually Doing?

Yahoo stock hit another 52-week high—actually, a five-year high—as the backlash against (or, at least, heavy skepticism toward) CEO Marissa Mayer’s ubiquity tour continues to grow.

Looking at Yahoo today, there are at least two big picture questions: (1) Why does the stock keep going up if revenue isn’t growing? and (2) Does the stock’s success suggest that Mayer is brilliant, lucky, or overrated?

The answer to the first question helps to answer the second question. The irony of the Mayer Stimulus is that much of the stock increase has been driven by investments by the CEOs that came before her. Co-founder Jerry Yang negotiated a 25 percent stake in Alibaba, the Chinese online search-and-commerce juggernaut, which has exploded in the last year and is nearing an IPO. “Most of the enthusiasm about Yahoo’s stock price is a reflection of the company’s investment in Alibaba [the Chinese search-and-shopping giant] and Yahoo Japan,” said analyst Scott Kessler

So, yes, Marissa Mayer has been very, very lucky. Yahoo emerged from a four-year nap just as she took the job, thanks to the appreciation of an investment made years earlier. But luck and skill aren’t mutually exclusive. Yahoo is a online-advertising business—search and display—and Mayer understands the most important thing about online advertising, which is that it’s moving to mobile and the company wasn’t ready for it. Look beyond the $1.1 billion purchase of Tumblr and the glitzy mag and conference appearances, and that’s where Mayer’s focus has been: Dragging the company into mobile age by updating its email, apps, video, and news portals for ambulatory, non-desktop readers.

But even after a year, Yahoo doesn’t have an obvious path forward.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

  1. carlafranklin reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    What is Marissa Mayer Actually Doing? Yahoo stock hit another 52-week high—actually, a five-year high—as the backlash...
  2. ramseyvk reblogged this from theatlantic
  3. jacalle9 reblogged this from theatlantic
  4. jusbecoz reblogged this from jusbecoz
  5. kammartinez reblogged this from theatlantic
  6. otrobit reblogged this from theatlantic
  7. derickrudik reblogged this from theatlantic
  8. themadnessexperience reblogged this from theatlantic
  9. workexpert reblogged this from theatlantic
  10. markvanderhoek reblogged this from theatlantic
  11. leungchaaa reblogged this from theatlantic
  12. sandunicorn reblogged this from theatlantic
  13. just-omc reblogged this from theatlantic
  14. mymaterial reblogged this from theatlantic