Marissa Mayer – the charismatic CEO of Yahoo. The once upon a time star of Google, and now a stylish CEO of a faltering company. This is how most people know her. (Other than the fact that she has a penchant for delivering babies without taking a break from work!)
Yahoo – the once gateway to the web, and now a non-descript provider of weather data to iPhones. This is how most people know the company.
Mix them both (Are they unseparable?) and you have an interesting concoction of a story. Full of Drama and Action.
This book is not Marissa’s biography. It is more a chronicle of Yahoo, covering Yahoo’s history and the succession of management there from its beginning, which is both fascinating and intriguing. This leads us to the question – Why does Yahoo exist anymore? And what purpose does it serve?
More importantly, this book throws a dim light on the situations that got Yahoo in the position that it is in presently.
The author takes the reader through Marissa’s personal background (right from her child prodigy days to her dating Larry Page), her beginning days at Yahoo where employees pinned up posters of her face with the word “HOPE” to the end of that honeymoon period and the beginning of her real struggle to keep Yahoo alive after Alibaba’s IPO (the Asian investments). It is all covered.
This book also throws interesting insights on Marissa’s working style and the various policies that she has brought in an effort to build a culture of innovation at Yahoo. She did try.
I did not find this book flattering towards Marissa, nor was it biased against her. It did seem like a balanced view of her and the company. So much, that the book feels like a bunch of business articles joined together to tell a story.
Nevertheless, anyone with a slight interest in the working of these internet companies and the background of the rise of the silicon tech behemoths should read this book. It has quite many interesting snippets and is an overall easy read.
Psst. Did you know, yahoo let go of an opportunity to buy Google in its initial days?