Marissa Meyer, formerly of Google, is the next head on the CEO chopping block at Yahoo. This has inspired another round of “what should Yahoo do” posts, and I had to laugh at a few of the ones that Alexis Madrigal pulled out of his ass at the Atlantic:
Embrace its role as the preeminent media company of the Internet age
I guess you’re a preeminent media company when you outsource your search to Bing, your news division repackages AP news, you have a me-too Music and Movie offering, you acquire Flickr and don’t do shit with it, and you have pretty good fantasy sports and finance sections. Embrace that porcupine, Marissa!
With what? Nobody wants Yahoo stock, and Yahoo’s entire bundle of cash is about $2 billion, far lower than the $7 billion that’s been thrown around as a Twitter valuation. Yahoo might be able to buy 4Chan if they started clipping coupons and moved to a lower rent district.
Actually come up with a new product.
Here’s the nut of the whole problem at Yahoo: they haven’t had a new product since I don’t know when. They’ve been milking their captive Mail/Finance/Sports audience for years and they kill everything they touch (Flickr being the best example, so I’ll repeat it). Naming a new CEO is not going to change that – you can’t just conjur up a “new product” in a culture that hasn’t produced for something like a decade. But as soon as some smart person gets put in charge of a known clusterfuck, the media pretends that this person will change everything by dint of their Galtian majesty. It’s a terrible habit that allows pundits to produce a reliable stream of “content” as Yahoo would call it, but it’s corrosive, because it is just more of the same lack of context and nuance that keeps us from understanding our world.