ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon):
Have you ever asked yourself, “What IS Yahoo?” This is a question Yahoo executives have been trying to figure out for more than a decade. This was one of my favorite quotes from the book:
He said “Google.” People wrote down “search.” He said “eBay” and they wrote “auctions.” After a few more companies, he said “Yahoo.” He collected the thirty pieces of paper on Yahoo. Everybody had a different word. What was Yahoo trying to be? No one inside the company knew anymore.
It was an aha! moment as I was reading. It wasn’t just me. Nobody knows what Yahoo is anymore, including the employees!
Carlson takes the reader through the history of Yahoo – from the very beginning when it was created as a website directory by Jerry Yang and David Filo in January 1994 to its rapid growth and time period when Yahoo practically was the Internet to its long-term struggle to maintain relevant as the Internet seemed to grow up around it.
Although “Marissa Mayer” is in the title, this book is really about the history (and current state) of Yahoo. Once all of that is laid out chronologically, including Yahoo’s history of CEO failures, Carlson takes the reader through Mayer’s personal background (including dating Larry Page, cofounder of Google), her beginning days at Yahoo where employees pinned up posters of her face with the word “HOPE” to the end of that honeymoon period and the beginning of her real struggle to keep Yahoo alive after Alibaba’s IPO. [If you just asked “What is Alibaba?” and/or “What is IPO?” This is all explained in detail in the book, but basically Alibaba is what has kept Yahoo afloat for the last several years.]
The book is not flattering toward Marissa Mayer, and yet it is not all out negative either. To me, it feels unbiased and realistic. There is no doubt that Mayer is a hard worker and extremely talented. But does she have the ability to “save” Yahoo? Nobody knows yet, but Carlson keeps the reader on the edge of their seat the whole time. The book is an easy read (even if you know very little about business). I highly recommend this for anyone with an interest in business and particularly Yahoo.