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Yahoo! Employees Wanted Answers. Marisa Mayer Read Them A Children’s Story. (She Actually Did This.)

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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.

"Bobbie had a nickel all his very own. Should he buy some candy or an ice cream cone?"

Mayer held the book up, to show the employees the illustrations.

"Should he buy a bubble pipe? Or a boat of wood?"

Nope. He should have spent it and—and did spend it—to ride on the merry-go-round. Confused? So was everyone else. Of course, even if they had understood her intentions, it wouldn’t have made any more sense, since apparently Bobbie Had A Nickel was meant to show them how much she loved being CEO of Yahoo!, and not to answer their questions at all.

Mayer went onstage, sat at her chair, and read a children’s book to them, holding up the illustrations like she was a kindergarten teacher and they were all 6 years old. Later, she would say that she read the book because she wanted to say that what mattered most in life was experiences, and that her experience at Yahoo had been wonderful so far.

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