Yahoo

Let me tell you a story...About a year-and-a-half after taking over the ‘Hoo, noted chaise longue enthusiast Marisa Mayer agreed to submit to anonymous questions from her employees. They wanted to know about the employee-review system that looked a lot like stack ranking, but which Marisa insisted was not stack ranking, but which was sapping their morale and pitting them against each other and costing them bonuses and raises all the same. So Marisa read them a nice little bedtime story. Literally. Read more »

Don't get too comfortable, Mel.The embattled Yahoo! chief, in the wake of the first good news she’s gotten in the past two years, told activist hedge funds where to stick it this week. Well, one such hedge fund manager is returning the favor. Read more »

  • 25 Jun 2014 at 8:45 AM

Marissa Mayer Is Sorry About The Ill-Timed Zzzz’s

She might’ve dozed off and missed a meeting with top execs, but it wasn’t, like, a hate-nap or anything. Read more »

It was only $58 million, and even that was because she’s such a good, shareholder-value-creating CEO. So get off her chaise longue-lying back. Read more »

But a glittering surface often deflects attention from a messier reality, and that’s true with Mayer and Yahoo. No one wants to sound as if they aren’t rooting for Yahoo or for her, and because Mayer didn’t cooperate for this article, even her friends were often unwilling to speak on the record about her. She’s anything but easy to categorize, in ways that are both interesting and possibly troubling for Yahoo’s future. “She is a confusing person,” says someone who has worked with her closely. “It is a mistake to paint her as an angel or as a devil.” Another executive who worked with her agrees that she is a hard person to understand. “There are some parts of Marissa World that are just inexplicably weird,” he says. “It doesn’t add up.” [Vanity Fair, related]

According to a multitude of top-ranking posts on an anonymous internal message board used by Yahoo to vent their frustrations to top staff, employees there are becoming increasingly upset by an evaluation system instituted by CEO Marissa Mayer that has apparently resulted in the firings of more than 600 people in recent weeks. A key point: The fact that some staffers are being let go is not the core issue — many inside agree that the Silicon Valley Internet giant has long needed to prune its employees and upgrade its talent base. Mayer has been aggressively doing that, even adding to overall employee numbers at Yahoo, largely via an incessant series of acquisitions. Instead, some inside the company are incensed that the “Quarterly Performance Review” system forces managers to rank some of their staff with designations of “Occasionally Misses” and “Misses,” even if it is not the case, via what is essentially a modified bell curve. Those fired recently had gotten lower scores at least two times in recent quarters, said multiple sources, as I reported last week. Mayer denied that the rankings were forced at a staff meeting this week, noting that they were more guidelines or the process was not being deployed correctly. [AllThingsD via Gawker]

“Will we see Larry Page on the cover of Vogue?” [Charlie] Rose asked. “It wasn’t the cover,” Mayer corrected, clearly embarrassed. She went on to say that the photo was unplanned and “out of necessity.” The photographer Mikael Jansson’s assignment was to capture an unconventional CEO in an unconventional pose — sitting ladylike on the chaise wasn’t going to cut it. When Jansson suggested she lay upside down, she hesitated. He assured her it would “look good” and so she went for it. [Mashable via Fashionista, earlier]

“I really like even numbers, and I like heavily divisible numbers. Twelve is my lucky number—I just love how divisible it is. I don’t like odd numbers, and I really don’t like primes. When I turned 37, I put on a strong face, but I was not looking forward to 37. But 37 turned out to be a pretty amazing year. Especially considering that 36 is divisible by twelve!” [Vogue]