8 things Marissa Mayer needs to do at Yahoo NOW
Pundits can't seem to glow enough about Yahoo's new CEO, who has been on the job for less than a week. Marissa Mayer is a Google darling flown the coop and swooped in just as Yahoo shocked shareholders with another quarter of disappointing performance.
It's get to work time, and we've got a to-do list for Mayer -- eight things she should do as soon as humanly possible.
1. Update social network pages. Her Facebook and Google+ profiles show her still employed by Google. Overlooking little details just looks slack. Her Twitter account is up to date at least. You would think that of all places, Google+ would be current.
2. Take control of Yahoo from the off. In a leaked memo to Yahoo staff Mayer says, "I need to develop a more informed perspective before making strategy or direction changes". While that’s only right and proper -- the last thing Yahoo needs is its new CEO engaging in any knee jerk reactions -- she needs to take strong control of the company, and not allow it to simply carry on as it has been.
It’s quite likely there’s a bit of a hidden subtext in her statement -- at seven months pregnant it does make sense for her to spend the first six months at Yahoo familiarizing herself with the situation there, and wait until she’s given birth and got used to having a baby in her life, before properly throwing herself into the job. Even with the best will in the world, becoming a CEO of a troubled Fortune 500 company and a new mom at the same time is a tough ask of anyone.
That said, the sooner the work begins in earnest at Yahoo, the more chance there will be something actually will happen. Leave it too long to make the desperately required direction changes and there’s a very real chance she will get sucked into working the Yahoo way, and be absolutely no different from the succession of ineffectual CEOs who preceded her.
3. Hire and fire. Like any big company, Yahoo will have its fair share of good and bad staff. Mayer needs to identify the best assets and get rid of the worst people pronto, regardless of how long they might have been there, and what greatness they may have achieved previously. Yahoo is a company trading on past glories, and that needs to stop.
She should hire some good people, too, and quickly. It doesn’t matter if they come from Google, or elsewhere. Her hiring has led to a buzz about Yahoo that hasn’t been there for years and that might just be enough to persuade some top talent to join her in the quest to make the company great again.
4. Launch, or better yet buy, a great new product. This is easier said than done, of course, but nothing will signal a new era at Yahoo better than a new launch. It will show that the company embraces the future, not simply clings to the past. A rival to Facebook would have been great, if her previous employer hadn’t already done that. She could consider buying Pinterest. After all, interest in the site has plateaued lately so it should be more affordable than a few months ago, and it could be made to play very nicely with Flickr.
5. Embrace mobile. Yahoo just doesn’t seem to have understood the importance of the mobile market in the same way as every other major tech company, and they are so far behind the game it’s embarrassing. Yahoo needs to find a way to make an impact, and quickly. Rolling out an improved app for Flickr and apps for its other properties is an essential move.
6. Make Flickr awesome again. Flickr was once the photo sharing site. Then Yahoo bought it and let it fester, and new startups like Instagram came along and took over. Mayer should put someone decent in control of Flickr and charge that person with making it great again. Whoever takes control needs to strip out unnecessary and unused features and get back to basics, but with a strong mobile component (an app with a lot less bugs, more features and proper iPad support for starters) and forge stronger links with other social networks.
7. Redesign the homepage. Because it’s seriously dated and fugly as hell. Besides she made her mark at Google designing the home page.
8. Get someone to fix all the broken links. Sheesh.