Like I was saying in my recent post, retaining high achieving employees is not very easy. And when a high performing exec filling a role on an interim basis is “passed over” in favor of an outside hire, its likely a foregone conclusion that you “win some, lose some” – literally.
Just this morning, Yahoo’s one-time interim CEO, left but without anything specific lined up (was he that unhappy about being passed over?)
As Kara Swisher on All Things D says,
While Mayer might have benefited from Levinsohn’s close ties with key marketing players and his content experience, her intense focus on products and not on media likely means that she will rely on a more tech-heavy leadership team going forward.
Bad for Levinsohn but I think the departure might be a good thing for Mayer, who needs to turn Yahoo around – quickly. And doing that by becoming more (a lot more) product-centric as opposed to going the Huffington Post route is the way to do it.
Companies like Google and Facebook grew because they followed this value creation strategy:
Innovation –> Product –> Audience –> Monetization
Yahoo, sadly, has been badly lagging in the first two areas. Whatever audiences it had are largely because of user inertia and products that attracted users back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth. No wonder monetization (and profits) have been slumping so badly over the last few years.
As an early Yahoo adopter (I signed up for a Yahoo account in 1997 and yes, I know I’m dating myself quite nicely here) and fan, here’s to hoping Mayer can turn things around.