It is interesting that people are making it sound like Steve Jobs just came back to Apple, a dying company!
Marissa Mayer Has a Secret Weapon
Marissa Mayer Has a Secret Weapon
For the past decade, she has been the doyen of a collection of some of the most talented young engineers and product managers in all of technology. These are the hand-selected prime talents of an accelerated leadership program at Google called Associate Product Manager (APM)...... Consider the first APM, a fresh Stanford grad named Brian Rakowski. He became a key leader of the team that built the Chrome browser and now is the VP of the Chrome operation. The second was Wesley Chan, who made Google Toolbar a success, then launched Google Analytics and Google Voice. He’s now picking winners for Google Ventures. Another early APM was Bret Taylor, who earned his bones by launching Google Maps. He left Google and co-founded Friendfeed, then become the Chief Technical Officer of Facebook..... there are over 300 who have been through the program. .... And the glue to the whole shebang was Marissa Mayer, who was the APM boss, mentor, den mother and role model. ..... Mayer thought up the program in early 2002. Google had been struggling to find PMs who could work within the peculiar company culture — team leaders who would not be bosses but work consensually with the wizards who produce code. Ideally, a Google product manger would understand the technical issues and sway the team to his or her viewpoint by strong data-backed arguments, and more than a bit of canny psychology. But experienced PMs from places like Microsoft, or those with MBAs, didn’t understand the Google way, and tried to force their views on teams..... The ideal applicants must have technical talent, but not be total programming geeks — APMs had to have social finesse and business sense. ..... They would undergo a multi-interview hiring process that made the Harvard admissions regimen look like community college. The chosen ones were thrown into deep water, heading real, important product teams. (As the first APM, Rakowski was asked to launch a nascent project called Gmail. By the way, I hear Rakowski is taking over the program now that Mayer is gone.) “We give them way too much responsibility,” Mayer once told me, “to see if they can handle it.” Also, Google had APMs perform tasks for top management, like note-taking at high-level executive meetings or drawing up white papers on ambitious potential products. ..... The program has been so successful that Google has created a variation for leaders of non-product teams. These are called Marketing APMs. ..... Kevin Systrom was an MAPM — before he left Google and founded Instagram. ..... You didn’t get to be an APM unless you connected with her; she was the last interview in a long series, and she’d typically make ultimate decision. (“Tell me about a product you love,” she’d ask candidates. There was no right answer. But not describing the choice with passion was the wrong answer.).... a high percentage of APMs go elsewhere. APMs are chosen for their ambition and independence. Those traits are often at odds with working at a big company...... Naturally, one of the first e-mails that Mayer sent after accepting her new job was a blast to the entire APM network, informing them of her move and assuring them that she will still be in touch.One Week of Mayer at Yahoo: Whither Ross? New Old Yahoos? More Search? Product Side “Elated!”
“Let’s be clear, she is our last hope,” said one board member to me, a sentiment that I also heard from another; and so, too, from a lot of execs and rank-and-file around the company. ...... former Googler Shashi Seth, who has been in charge of a number of product areas at Yahoo for a while now ... “Shashi has been smiling from ear to ear since Marissa arrived — he can’t contain his glee,” said one person. ...... “I think we have a ballgame now! It’s amazing how fast the sentiment changed internally,” said one person in the product org, in what has been a common refrain. “Everyone [is] ELATED. People I know that were close to leaving (including myself) are now giving it another shot.” ..... She has appeared getting her own lunch in the cafeteria, which has delighted more employees than you might imagine at Yahoo. ..... In what appears to be a whirlwind of fact-finding meetings with Yahoo employees since right after she started last Monday — no all-hands for her off the bat — Mayer has been asking questions and taking in information. ..... “curt,” “whip smart,” “suffers no fools,” and “a sponge.” ..... Mayer’s most critical ally in her early stages appears to be the quiet and retiring Yahoo co-founder David Filo, who emerged to be a vocal supporter of her from the start. That he gave a quote in a press release and did interviews — my nickname for him has long been “Silent Bob” — should say a lot to anyone paying mind..... the heart of the company is still with both Filo and also Jerry Yang. ..... all about building up tech again at Yahoo. ..... Some big initiatives on the burner at Yahoo that she must mull: A wide-ranging integration with Twitter, which would be similar to Yahoo’s efforts with Facebook ..... many think a halving of the company’s workforce is in order ..... What about a new kind of commerce hookup with retail giant Walmart, for example, where Mayer serves on the board? Why not become a video Switzerland for all the competing content makers out there? What about really committing to content all-in, a la AOL and its Huffington Post Hail Mary? Could she make a startling purchase of something big, such as Hulu or Zynga?