A Former Yahooligan and Xoogler Offers Management Advice: Believe It or Not!

November 22, 2023

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

I read a remarkable interview / essay / news story called “Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Delivers Sharp-Elbowed Rebuke of OpenAI’s Broken Board.” Marissa Mayer was a Googler. She then became the Top Dog at Yahoo. Highlights of her tenure at Yahoo include, according to Inc.com, included:

  • Fostering a “superstar status” for herself
  • Pointing a finger is a chastising way at remote workers
  • Trying to obfuscate Yahooligan layoffs
  • Making slow job cuts
  • Lack of strategic focus (maybe Tumblr, Yahoo’s mobile strategy, the search service, perhaps?)
  • Tactical missteps in diversifying Yahoo’s business (the Google disease in my opinion)
  • Setting timetables and then ignoring, missing, or changing them
  • Weird PR messages
  • Using fear (and maybe uncertainty and doubt) as management methods.


The senior executives of a high technology company listen to a self-anointed management guru. One of the bosses allegedly said, “I thought Bain and McKinsey peddled a truckload of baloney. We have the entire factory in front of use.” Thanks, MSFT Copilot. Is Sam the AI-Man on duty?

So what’s this exemplary manager have to say? Let’s go to the original story:

“OpenAI investors (like @Microsoft) need to step up and demand that the governance weaknesses at @OpenAI be fixed,” Mayer wrote Sunday on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Was Microsoft asleep at the switch or simply operating within a Cloud of Unknowing? Fast-talking Satya Nadella was busy trying to make me think he was operating in a normal manner. Had he known something was afoot, is he equipped to deal with burning effigies as a business practice?

Ms. Mayer pointed out:

“The fact that Ilya now regrets just shows how broken and under advised they are/were,” Mayer wrote on social media. “They call them board deliberations because you are supposed to be deliberate.”

Brilliant! Was that deliberative process used to justify the purchase of Tumblr?

The Business Insider write up revealed an interesting nugget:

The Information reported that the former Yahoo CEO’s name had been tossed around by “people close to OpenAI” as a potential addition to the board…

Okay, a Xoogler and a Yahooligan in one package.

Stephen E Arnold, November 22, 2023


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