Nine months into her tenure as Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer offered some insights into what might lie ahead for the company and its mish-mash of products. Speaking at a Wired Business conference in New York City, Mayer emphasized the role of video but downplayed the role of Google Glass and the prospect of a Facebook-style takeover over smartphone homescreens.
“We want to have a portfolio approach — no one is going to use the whole suite of products,” said Mayer, adding that Yahoo is fine with an à la carte approach where different users pull up two or three of what the company calls its “daily dozen” tools such as stocks or weather.
Speaking with Wired’s senior writer Stephen Levy, Mayer also addressed the role of video; the company has earned some buzz in this area with announcements that it acquired the rights to Saturday Night Live clips and that it will be putting out original shows like “Losing Your Virginity with John Stamos.”
This appears to be part of what Mayer calls a “tiered approach” in which Yahoo will put out a small tier of original content alongside a larger tranche of curated content from across the web, as well as encouraging user-generated fare on Flickr.
The CEO also addressed, once again, her diktat to curtail working from home — a controversial decision that’s provided nearly endless grist for debates over gender and workplace.
“I didn’t mean for it to be an industry narrative,” she said. “We were just saying it wasn’t right for us right now … Everyone at Yahoo works in teams [and] stopping “causes drag.”
She added that the policy has lots of exceptions and been really well-received inside the company, and argued that it has produced a “Reese’s peanut butter effect” that can only happen when disparate people run into each other on the job.
In response to Levy’s question about search, Mayer said she “believed in it” and “understands it” (which is no doubt true after her long tenure at Google) but that the company will continue to hitch its wagon with Microsoft on the search front for the time being.
As for a description of the company’s “moonshot,” Mayer said it was to be on billions of screens. And, in a note that may give hope to exasperated investors, she added that she wants the company to return to faster-than-market growth.