Yahoo CEO: Why I Was Right About Telecommuting
BY Jill Krasny
In an interview Tuesday, Marissa Mayer said she knows exactly what you think of her telecommuting policy but doesn't care--because it's working.
Marissa Mayer knows precisely what you think of her--and her telecommuting policy--and she couldn't care less. The Yahoo CEO said as much during the Wired Business Conference on Tuesday.
"I don't pay attention to it, I deliberately don't," she told Wired writer Steven Levin. "I think we have a lot of work to do, we're really focused on the user, we're focused on what needs to happen at Yahoo."
More precisely, she's focused on expanding Yahoo's reach on mobile. "I think the moonshot for Yahoo is being on every smartphone, every tablet, every PC, everyday for every Internet user," she said. "The nice thing is we're not that far off."
During the interview, Mayer made the case that Yahoo has done exceptionally well at releasing products quickly and efficiently while hitting user targets. Yahoo! Weather, for example, which was released last month, reached its goals for the quarter in only four days. But that couldn't have happened without a strong team or the decision to do away with the company's telecommuting policy--a move that Mayer said has fostered a collaborative, inventive environment.
"When you look at things like the Yahoo! Weather app, that wouldn't have happened if those two people hadn't run into each other," she said. "You needed someone from Flickr to say, 'Hey, I've got these geo-tagged photos, and I know where these photos were taken and we can probably detect whether or not there [are] faces in them or whether they're a scene' and them running into someone from Weather who says, 'Hey, could we make our app more beautiful?'"
"I sort of call it the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups effect," she added. "The chocolate and peanut butter taste great together, but that only happens when people really say, 'What happens when we combine these things?'"
Launching a debate over telecommuting was never the point--"we were just saying that it's not right for us, right now"--but she's well aware of what's said about her on Twitter. She "generally won't click," but is active on Twitter and occasionally has her husband read aloud the occasional tweet. "It always sounds better coming from someone you love or someone who loves you."