Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Mayer to Yahoos at Not-So-Radical Confab: Personalization, Mobile, Rule of 100 Million and — Most of All — the Four C’s!

New Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer took to the stage today at the Silicon Valley Internet company’s URL’s Café on its Sunnyvale, Calif., HQ campus to outline — in very broad strokes — her plans for the future.

Very broad, as it turned out, and full of corporate bromides that many in attendance said were very well delivered by the former Google exec.

What she did not show, although Mayer had promised “an act of radical transparency”: Highly specific plans for overhauling search and email, as well as an in-process and dramatic home page redesign. She also said little about what she is going to do with Yahoo’s recent cash haul from its sale of part of its stake in China’s Alibaba.

Instead, it was big picture all the way, with a lot of small details. (It also bears a strong resemblance to plans once pushed by former product chief Blake Irving.)

First and perhaps most importantly, Mayer tried to answer that age-old question of what Yahoo was/is/will be.

Apparently, to Mayer, Yahoo is a company that excels at personalization in its various arenas, from email to content to advertising.

Her goals: To grow users and usage, as well as advertisers and talent, using personalization.

How Mayer was going to do this was a lot more squishy, but her strategy bullets included:

  • Yahoo becoming a part of users’ everyday routines.
  • A focus on core competencies (whatever that is!).
  • Being friendly to partners across a range of companies from mobile carriers to social networks to hardware makers.
  • A focus on shifting Yahoo’s platform to mobile.
  • An emphasis on thinking big and at scale, which Mayer called the “Rule of 100 Million.” It presumably means attract that much of an audience to various products going forward.
  • And, of course, a new push to move faster and take ownership for your work.

Mayer spent a good amount of time talking about this, as well as getting away from what one person described as “consensus culture” and taking too much time to get products out the door.

Increasing feedback loops was also important to Mayer.

If it all sounds a little Tony Robbins, it is, especially Mayer’s focus on what she called the “4 C’s” for talent at Yahoo.

They are: Culture, company goals, calibration (I have no idea what that is, frankly) and compensation.

Yahoo, I am sure, liked that part, although to get more of that, Mayer needs to probably paint a much more specific plan for investors to get excited about.


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— Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”