“We have passed 800 million monthly active users,” Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer said Wednesday in an onstage conversation with Techcrunch founder Michael Arrington on the closing day of Techcrunch Disrupt 2013. While it is not clear what Yahoo means by monthly active users, the number doesn’t include Tumblr users.
When asked by Arrington asked what the hell happened with the new logo, Mayer said, “Yahoo didn’t change logo for 18 years” and the new logo is meant to reflect the new Yahoo and its direction. “My ultimate goal is to get Yahoo growing again,” said Mayer. She said her focus is mobile and today there are ten times as many people working on mobile products as there were when she started working for the company 14 months ago.
“We are a personalization company and want to organize the right content and right advertising for the users so people can come to use our service every day,” she said, describing the type of company she thinks Yahoo is. “It will take three or four years for the company to get going.” She said that it will be a chain reaction of right people leading to right products which lead to growth in traffic and ultimately revenue. “They work like a chain reaction. Users don’t come and use them if the products aren’t good.”
Her focus is to get more people on Yahoo Mail, more often. “We want people to use Yahoo Mail every day,” she said. Of course, it is easier said than done. Recent design changes have been met with some resistance from the users.
Despite all the noise and hoopla around Yahoo, I have remained consistently skeptical about the possibility of a turnaround at Yahoo. A clear plan of attack for the so-called turnaround is one of my reasons of concern. Saber-rattling investor Dan Loeb substantially reduced his holding in Yahoo and locked in his profits — another cause of concern from my perspective. The year long stock surge in Yahoo’s stock, Wall Street insiders say, is reflection of the growing valuation of company’s holding in Alibaba, a company that is expected to go public soon.
There were many lighter moments, including Arrington making fun of Mayer’s infamous Vogue spread, which showed her lounging in a chic dress. “The back story of the Vogue is that they wanted to show the unconventional management style of mine,” she said.