No-Lose Situations

“I definitely think what drives technology companies is the people; because in a technology company it’s always about what are you going to do next. So then it comes down to: Well, who is going to build that thing that you do next? So, if you have the best people that’s a huge benefit, I do think some of what happened with Yahoo was a little bit of that lost focus but I also think that over the events of recent years they’ve lost a lot of their good people. There’s still a lot of good people there we definitely are cheering for Yahoo because we think the web is better off.”

– Marissa Mayer to Charlie Rose in 2009

You’ve probably heard by now that Yahoo’s new CEO will be Google’s Marissa Mayer.

Mayer is as accomplished as one gets in Silicon Valley – an early Google product and software veteran, she ran search for the company and spent the last decade in the firm’s inner circle, quite a lofty place to be.  She’s a woman who’s made it big in the man’s (boy’s) world of high technology, and she did it in style (glossy magazine spreads) and for the right reason (talent, business acumen, leadership skills).

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention she’s young and gorgeous and personable to the point of press and investor fawning.  A Yahoo shareholder (I think) sent me this last night when the news broke:

They love her already.

Anyway, by leaving to join Yahoo as the company’s new CEO, Mayer accomplishes the following:

1.  She puts a capper on an illustrious career at Google.  This is the equivalent of a musician going out on a high note or the comic leaving the stage on the heels of his best joke, to the sound of applause from the crowd.  More people should leave companies and situations this way.  Google recently reshuffled its ranks under CEO Larry Page and supposedly Mayer was passed over for promotion.  So why not take that as a sign that it’s time for a new stage?

2.  She walks into a formerly dominant and still asset-rich web company with almost nothing but potential at this point.  The company is in utter disarray and has been for so long, that even a cessation of disastrous non-progress will feel like, well, progress.  Mayer becomes the company’s fifth chief executive in less than a year.

3.  We are told that Dan Loeb of Third Point was instrumental in this hire.  Loeb’s hedge fund controls 6% of the company’s shares and likely has the support of several other shareholders – which means Mayer walks in with quite a powerful angel on her shoulder.  Because she’s Loeb’s pick, which means that his fate is now linked with hers.  Having the money guys have a vested interest in you never hurts.

4.  Mayer gets a change of scene.  Yahoo, while a competitor of Google’s in a handful of areas (search, display ads, mail) is a very different company.  It’s New York office, which in full disclosure is loaded with friends of mine, is more akin to that of a media company’s than a tech outfit’s.  Mayer also gets a whole new atmosphere at an interesting personal time for her (she’s also announced that she’s pregnant).

The bottom line is this: Yahoo is a bad situation strategically and corporately and it’s getting worse.  Mayer can walk in the place and become a hero by fixing it. Or if this doesn’t happen, well, Yahoo was already a mess and “too far gone” when she walked in anyway, there was nothing she could have done.  She’ll hardly be blamed for poor decisions made over the prior decade and the culture of dysfunction she found awaiting her.

Marissa Mayer has walked into a No-Lose Situation.  I hope she savors it and allows this to embolden her in the turnaround effort. Because No-Lose Situations of this caliber are rare indeed.




Tags: ,

This content, which contains security-related opinions and/or information, is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon in any manner as professional advice, or an endorsement of any practices, products or services. There can be no guarantees or assurances that the views expressed here will be applicable for any particular facts or circumstances, and should not be relied upon in any manner. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax, and other related matters concerning any investment.

The commentary in this “post” (including any related blog, podcasts, videos, and social media) reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints, and analyses of the Ritholtz Wealth Management employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded the views of Ritholtz Wealth Management LLC. or its respective affiliates or as a description of advisory services provided by Ritholtz Wealth Management or performance returns of any Ritholtz Wealth Management Investments client.

References to any securities or digital assets, or performance data, are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others.

Wealthcast Media, an affiliate of Ritholtz Wealth Management, receives payment from various entities for advertisements in affiliated podcasts, blogs and emails. Inclusion of such advertisements does not constitute or imply endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation thereof, or any affiliation therewith, by the Content Creator or by Ritholtz Wealth Management or any of its employees. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. For additional advertisement disclaimers see here:

Please see disclosures here.

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web
  1. click this link commented on Sep 13

    … [Trackback]

    […] There you can find 94314 additional Information on that Topic: […]

  2. commented on Sep 17

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More to that Topic: […]

  3. w88 commented on Sep 20

    … [Trackback]

    […] There you can find 18264 additional Info on that Topic: […]

  4. bitcoin loophole reddit commented on Sep 30

    … [Trackback]

    […] Information on that Topic: […]

  5. bitcoin era commented on Oct 01

    … [Trackback]

    […] Info to that Topic: […]

  6. Regression Testing Approach commented on Nov 25

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on on that Topic: […]

  7. Study in Uganda commented on Dec 28

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More to that Topic: […]

  8. fake watches commented on Dec 29

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More Info here on that Topic: […]