Marissa Mayer is steering Yahoo in bold new directions. A veteran of the internet, Yahoo was being left behind and struggling to find an identity at the same time. So hiring Mayer with her experience at ultra-hip Google was smart. She made an immediate impact with her policy of banning telecommuting. But that move was largely to show she means business and wants to run a leaner and more accountable company.
The game-changer, however, is Yahoo’s purchase of Tumblr. The price tag of $1 billion is no joke, and it might even be the first in a series of acquisitions. Could Yahoo also end up buying Hulu? Seeing a company reinvent itself with such startling speed is nothing short of incredible.
Then Mayer made a slight misstep. At the press conference announcing the deal, she said: “There’s no such thing as Flickr Pro, because today, with cameras as pervasive as they are, there is no such thing really as professional photographers, when there’s everything is professional photographers.” Well, aside from the inscrutable syntax, dismissing an entire profession off the cuff rarely results in good PR.
Mayer then did the unthinkable in this day and age. She apologized unreservedly and tried to make amends. I guess there’s no reason why sincere apologies can’t flourish on Twitter. What an amazing revelation! She tweeted: “I worded my answer terribly. I really apologize for what it sounded like outside of the context and notion of Flickr Pro.” Okay, there’s still some work to be done on the syntax side of things.
Now Mayer is ready for what may be a more daunting challenge: Explaining how a family friendly company like Yahoo won’t intervene in the rash of porn-related Tumblrs because it doesn’t want to meddle with its new company’s successful formula.