Analysis: The Yahoo Turnaround and the Packaging of Marissa Mayer – Silicon Valley Tech Athlete

The real Silicon Valley it’s about the tech athletes.  The entrepreneurs, investors, risk takers, innovators, and executives who make things happen and operate at a high level.  Yahoo’s new CEO Marissa Mayer is one of those tech athletes and Yahoo the company is still in the major leagues with hundreds of millions of active users.

Marissa Mayer has maintained a deliberately low profile since taking the role of Yahoo CEO. Expect that to change soon with a carefully orchestrated PR campaign, beginning with a major sit-down interview with Fortune Magazine.

Do not expect Mayer to talk specifics, however. The Fortune interview should instead be viewed as the start of a targeted media campaign with two overriding goals:

  • The packaging of Marissa Mayer, CEO
  • Market embrace of a steady but undeniable turnaround for Yahoo

I think Mayer will play very well with Fortune, revealing her unique ability to understand the future of technology, connect with Main Street and reach out to Wall Street.

Mayer’s story is compelling and unique. She is young and experienced, glamorous and geeky, a female Fortune 500 CEO and new mother. She built her reputation at Google. She helped develop Web 1.0 and clearly understands the direction of technology and media personalization in the Web 3.0 era. I think Mayer has the potential to be the tech equivalent of a Jack Welch, unlocking the value of a formerly great company while positioning it for steady, sustained growth long into the future.  Yahoo can be a web conglomerate if they play their cards right.

To ensure this compelling story resonates with both the general public and Wall Street, I expect that Mayer will tone down her outreach to bloggers and other press, maybe not even continue her efforts with TechCrunch Disrupt. Mayer is intent on building her legacy and this requires a targeted, on-message media strategy.

It also requires Mayer achieve and maintain success at Yahoo, which I expect to happen. The second phase of the Mayer PR efforts will be to push the message of the inevitable –- and potentially massive – turnaround of Yahoo. For all its problems, Yahoo has a good deal of unlocked value. Mayer needs to expose that value to Wall Street and build for the future. In my optinion Yahoo’s future will about taking the existing Yahoo assets and how these can be transitioned to a highly interactive, fully personalized, and mobile future.

Mayer will no doubt discuss Yahoo’s efforts to gain relevancy in mobile. I also expert her to emphasize Yahoo’s plans for the future of the web. The combination of personalized, interactive media and advertising, user experience and transactions across multiple devices – including PCs, tablets, smartphones and the television – is Yahoo’s future. Mayer knows this and needs to tell this story effectively.

Mayer is delving deep into the product side at Yahoo, attempting to uncover the company’s hidden assets and determine what the company requires going forward. I am not expecting any major acquisitions unless something the likes of a Twitter falls in her lap. Rather, expect Mayer to adopt the IBM acquisition model: small, high-value acquisitions that can be integrated with the company’s existing products and core strengths. To that end, Mayer’s Google background will serve her well. Big data, predictive analytics, personalization and transactional media are the future. This is where Google is headed and it’s where I expect Mayer will take Yahoo.

If Marissa can keep market expectations low and get “down and dirty” by fixing the product direction, she could be viewed as the CEO that actually turns Yahoo around for the future.  I’ve always said Yahoo is an easy turnaround because Yahoo has the assets to be turned around – hundreds of millions of active consumers and web users.

If you have time watch my video commentary on our beta of our upcoming SiliconANGLE.tv Morning Show with Kristen Feledy – NewsDesk (or CubeDesk) we haven’t decided the name yet. (see below)

Here is my indepth video on my angle on Marissa’s plans for Yahoo – see Youtube.com/SiliconANGLE video embedded below.  SiliconANGLE.tv is beta testing our NewsDesk or CubeDesk as we get ready to go 24/7 as a global tech video network coverage in the SiliconANGLE.TV mission to be the ESPN of Tech.

Stay Tuned

 

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About John Furrier

John Furrier is founder, co-CEO, and Editor-in-Chief of SiliconANGLE, a new media company covering the intersection of computer science and social science. Furrier is also the co-founder and CEO of CrowdChat a social media platform for large-scale group conversations over hashtags. In addition to SiliconANGLE John runs Broadband Developments a private incubator and investment firm for creating new startups. Furrier lives in Palo Alto, California with his wife and four children.