Marissa Mayer's vision for Yahoo
Marissa Mayer’s vision for Yahoo upon becoming its CEO in July 2012 can be divided into two sections. The first involves revamping Yahoo as a whole and giving it a new lease of life; the second involves “making Yahoo the best place to work in”, which involves restructuring workplace culture. So far, Mayer has succeeded in taking her “making Yahoo more consumer-friendly” plan forward to an extent, while her decisions pertaining to restructuring the company’s working policies have been met with much criticism. Since her arrival at Yahoo, the company has posted positive revenue growth which has exceeded Wall Street expectations, and its stock has risen by 19%, indicators that she is making the right moves. With her vision clearly stated, Mayer went on to make one of the most talked-about decisions pertaining to workforce restructuring, by banning telecommuting - or working from home/elsewhere. This move caused controversy although a memo circulated by Yahoo had the following to say, "To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices." However, the move has also been viewed as a sincere attempt to encourage "ideation" and team-building among Yahoo’s 14,000+ employees, and in Mayer’s own opinion, will serve to fulfill her vision of making Yahoo the best, most welcoming company to work with; the only catch being that employees will have to work within an office environment and not in the comfort of their own homes. As added incentives, Mayer has gifted free smart phones to all employees, and has offered free meals to them, along with various benefits and perks for expectant mothers and bonuses for those who work with the company for a 5 year period. In terms of redesigning the general look of Yahoo’s website, she has given it a cleaner, more organized look as she did with Google’s website during her stint with them, where one of her significant contributions involved organizing a clutter-free, user-friendly layout. The Yahoo user now has the option to de-select previously staple links pertaining to stock information, sports scores and horoscopes, and can now customize the homepage based on their own preferences. Mayer has ensured that the homepage will now be more entertaining, thanks to Yahoo’s tie-ups with CBS Television, NBC Sports and ABC News each of which will create personalized content for the site. The email section has also been given a new look, and Flikr, the photo-sharing application has undergone a makeover of sorts. More recently, rumors have abounded pertaining to a possible link up with Tumblr, a popular blogging platform which boasts of over 170 million users, and follows the same clean design aesthetic which Mayer is endeavoring to impart to Yahoo. Another aspect pertaining to profits is revenue generated via advertisements on the website; Yahoo was once the biggest display ad sellers in the United States with a 15.5% share of all digital ad revenues, but reduced its profits drastically to just 8.4% last year. Notably Mayer’s previous employer, Google, has shown an increased share of 41% of digital ad revenue. It is Mayer’s belief that the fresh new layout she has developed for the site will encourage more users, and will therefore create a chain reaction by which companies will be encouraged to pay for advertisement space, thereby increasing Yahoo’s digital ad revenue. All these plans certainly look good on paper, and while many feel that Mayer’s plans are ambitious considering the stiff competition she faces in the form of market giants such as Google and Facebook. Mayer herself is determined to make things work, and is not listening to critics. She intentionally shuts herself off from disparaging remarks and criticism regarding her decision to stop the work-from-home culture, and states, “the bottom line is my top priority”. Her disinterest in engaging in endless debates pertaining to her decisions, and apparent nonchalance regarding the 24-7 scrutiny of her personal life, shows a woman who means business and will not allow herself to be distracted from her goals under any circumstance. Motherhood too, has been managed in order to allow her to successfully juggle her duties, and as she follows her credo of “ruthlessly prioritizing “in order to get things moving, one can assume that her contribution to Yahoo will be as much, if not more significant than her contribution to Google.