Powerful women are cool, and the Marissa Mayer photo shoot in Vogue is just the kind of thing one would not expect from a CEO. But Mayer continues to shake up Yahoo! Inc. ($YHOO), and the general expectations we have of those in the corner offices. The photo with Mayer on a chaise lounge with watches on her ankles and a tablet by her head with her face on it was simply super cool for this ex-Google, Inc. ($GOOG) executive. Proof, however, will be in the success of Yahoo’s transition to mobile applications. But I have huge faith in Mayer. In fact, I've been a Yahoo user for two decades.
In the Vogue Q&A, Mayer responded to questions with great candor and her responses were all spot on for addressing the concerns of Yahoo users. Relating to the acquisition of Tumblr, Mayer said, "I've done now between three and four dozen acquisitions in my career...and I've never seen this kind of lock-and-key fit between two companies. Our demographic is older. Their's is the youngest on the Web." This is certainly true, but the question becomes, will this translate to improved share price? And to be fair to critics, Mayer is riding the Alibaba Group Holding ($BABA) cash train, and using stock to pay for acquisitions.
Mayer is a Wausau native and the Midwestern work ethic is clear in day to day, but I think Mayer is the perfect CEO to attract younger audiences. She thumbs her nose at old boy methods. She's a risk taker and a leader, in addition to being a mom, a wife and a silicon valley sex symbol for every geek in America - including me.
Leading the Pack Among Strong Female Leaders
In the age of strong female leadership, Mayer is positioning herself alongside the likes of Hillary, Michelle Obama, Sheryl Sandberg and Christine LeGarde who have taken over for Geraldine Ferraro, Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman and Fed Chair Janet Yellen. I liked what Mayer said in a recent interview: "I didn't set out to be at the top of technology companies. I'm just geeky and shy and I like to code." Mayer went on, "It's not like I had a grand plan where I weighed all the pros and cons of what I wanted to do—it just sort of happened."
Few Yahoo followers know the details of what made Mark Cuban who he is today, and fewer know that Yahoo went from $9 per share to $109 in 1 year when Cuban sold his shares in Broadcast.com to Yahoo at the top of the market. If you ask Mark Cuban about the timing of the sale, he will tell you he knew it was the end of the line for Internet stocks, but no one – I repeat no one – knew that it would take 16 years for the Nasdaq to achieve those levels again. Yahoo did not come all the way back to those $100+ levels, but the current marketcap at $40 billion is higher than when Cuban fleeced the Yahoo executives in a role reversal early version of shark tank.
All geeks are cheering our code-writing, sex symbol CEO role model from Wausau Wisconsin...and some of us will be adding her photo in Vogue to our screensavers. Yo Marissa, call me!
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