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So … Marissa Mayer Is Paying A 17-Year-Old $30 Million To Be Yahoo's Spokesman For 18 Months?

Stashed in: @marissamayer, You had ONE job., Valuation

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Nicholas Carlson calls out the Summly deal:

Yesterday, Yahoo announced it bought a startup called Summly.

Summly made a news aggregation app.

According to All Things D, Yahoo paid $30 million ‚ÄĒ 90 percent cash.

$30 million isn't much for Yahoo, which has more than $4 billion in cash (and access to much more).

But there are some elements to this deal that make even that small price seem strange.

Summly never really set the world on fire. It had fewer than one million downloads. Yahoo is shutting Summly down.

So basically, Yahoo is acquiring Summly's talent.

Summly's talent is  founder Nick D'Aloisio and two other people. Yahoo is saying D'Aloisio's is to lead Yahoo more boldly into the world of mobile. 

A source tells All Things D his job is to "be a great person to put in front of the media and consumers with Mayer to make Yahoo seem like it is a place that loves both entrepreneurs and mobile experiences."

But D'Aloisio lives in London, which is 10,000 miles away from Yahoo's Sunnyvale, California headquarters.

Also, D'Aloisio is 17 years old.

He still has to finish high school.

Last year, gadget blog Gizmodo made him cry when it wouldn't write about Summly. 

He's supposed to lead grown-up engineers?

Finally, according to All Things D, D'Aloisio is only required to work at Yahoo for the next 18 months.

He's already talking about getting into angel investing.

Again …Yahoo has $4 billion, and maybe throwing $30 million at a 17-year-old in hopes of seeming cool with the kids is a fine use of 0.75 percent of that money, or 0.12 percent of Yahoo's market cap.  

Maybe it'll help Yahoo get the right kind of press, and show other entrepreneurs like D'Aloisio that Yahoo is a decent place to land.

Maybe it'll make Yahoo seem cutting edge to consumers.

Certainly it's a cheaper marketing stunt than a horrible ad campaign like "It's Y!ou," which is how ex-Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz tried to accomplish the same goal.

SEE ALSO:  Summly's 17-Year-Old Founder Has A Girlfriend, and She's Very Excited about His $30 Million Acquisition

Perhaps this was not actually a $30 million deal?

In any case, this acquisition is sending a mixed message.

If true, Summly has something really, really unique.  A Natural Language processing of unstructured data that can distill things into commercially and statistically relevant content that optimizes their revenues.

That's not worth billions if not a measly $30M.  

What would Google or Microsoft give for Google Analytics or Bing to be able to distill the most impactfull pieces of unstructured content as measured by content revenue returns? 

Unstructured content is the brave new horizon.  Tied to actual analytics and revenue is unheard of. 

The bottom line, they aren't buying Summly to look cool with the kids.

That explanation makes a lot more sense to me.

Thanks, Greg.

Now that I know what it is, I want it. Wish Facebook or Google had gotten it first. I don't use Yahoo much.

Which part do you want, Christy? The summaries or the personalization?

Perhaps I could recommend something...

Both. lol I'm just a kid who likes new toys. 

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