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Google's Marissa Mayer Becomes Yahoo's Chief -

Stashed in: Women, CEOs, Awesome, @marissamayer, @marissamayer

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Hm... Interesting to watch a new round of discussions about women CEOs. I do wish her well and dearly hope the mainstream media can get passed comparisons among the pioneering women taking these top spots.

Someday it will be as much of a non-event as women enrolling at Harvard.

Still, speaking from 2012, it is a big deal that HP, IBM, Xerox, and Yahoo all have women running them now:

With her appointment as the president and chief executive of Yahoo, Ms. Mayer joins a short list of women in technology companies to hold the top spot. The elite club includes Meg Whitman, the chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, and Virginia Rometty, the head of I.B.M. Another senior woman in Silicon Valley, Sheryl Sandberg, is Facebook’s chief operating officer.

In fact, HP, Xerox, and Yahoo are all on their second woman CEOs.

That's awesome. Compare that with any other industry in America.

Certainly, true. I have to hope that the youthful bias of the tech field and the distinct improvements in attitudes about professional women has to help. High profile pioneers will do wonders for all of us.

Perhaps more significant is what you've known all along -- it isn't just about women, it's about how the diversity of representation improves the dialog. I rather suspect Mayer will also bring new insight into Yahoo's customer base.

On a Facebook Live panel in April, Accel Partners' Theresia Gouw Ranzetta was quoted by Inc. mag. as saying "Seventy-one percent of the daily active fans and users on Facebook are women. Sixty-two percent of all the sharing activity is driven by women," she says. "With these facts, women have not only an important, but I think, a critical and valuable role to play at the founding and executive table of tech startups."

With Yahoo lead by a woman who not only has the executive cred but is also steeped in current culture, there just might be hope for Yahoo yet. (She's also the hottest search on

What strikes me in reading this article is this:

She is good at mentoring talent. She created a program at Google to train product managers on executive leadership. Many of them are now managers at places like Uber, Dropbox, and Polyvore.

The board believes she will be able to recruit very well and re-stock Yahoo with talent.

24 hours ago, not a lot of people in Silicon Valley aspired to work at Yahoo.

Now, suddenly, a lot of people would be willing to work at Yahoo.

That's progress. Thanks, Marissa.


Further confirmed by this article from Sara Lacy quoting Marc Andreessen.

Most significant:

Why so much enthusiasm? Other than founder Jerry Yang, there is almost no one on the planet as well suited to step in and immediately start making things better, Andreessen argues. In fact, you could argue she’s even more qualified than Yang. She has distinguished herself in pretty much the exact same business, and watched Yahoo closely as a competitor. No one has to explain online advertising or mail to her, he says in a not-so-subtle dig at Carol Bartz. “At least she’s not going to be surprised,” Andreessen says.

Expectations are so high, in fact, that he argued that taking the job was a no-lose proposition for Mayer personally. (As stated earlier, I don’t quite see it that way…) If she pulls it off, she’s a genius. If she fails, not even Marissa Mayer could save the company, he says. I’m not convinced she’d escape so unscathed, but it’d be hard for her to perform worse that her predecessors. Part of this is the changing nature of what “risk” is at this level. “In the old days risk was I lose my job, house or career,” he says. “Now risk is ‘Let me tell you stories of how badly that went.’”

Kudos to Dana Kunz (@dana_kunz) who shared this update from Fortune's cover story, by Jack Hidary and Cindy Padnos (@IlluminateVC)

It's a beautiful start, and it's not just about women it's about families, social roles, cultural norms. These things are all changing concurrently. Recognizing it and stepping up to ensure that capital markets and business management takes advantage of it isn't really about equality or fairness, it's a business opportunity.

With the introduction you'd expect based on the Marissa Mayer/Yahoo story, it goes on to say...

Across the US, we are seeing more and more tech startups co-founded or run by women. These include: Silver Tail, One King's Lane, CloudFlare, Get Satisfaction and AllVoices on the West Coast. On the East Coast there has also been an explosion of women-led startups: Birchbox, Kollabora, iRobot, Chomp, Blip, and Hunch just to name a few.

While it is good to see this rise in the number of women entrepreneurs, it is off a small base: though women hold over one-third of the jobs in the tech space, less than 10% of venture-backed companies have women co-founders.

The environment for first-time entrepreneurs has never been more favorable. Less capital-intensive sectors such as cloud computing-based digital media, business applications and online commerce solutions are natural points of entry for first-time entrepreneurs. Access to the cloud eliminates up-front expenditures for infrastructure and development tools, creating opportunity for a wide of range of new entrepreneurs, including women, to bring their ideas and dynamism to the table.

Key ideas:

> Recruit more women into venture capital firms

> Spotlight high growth businesses co-founded or run by women

> Attract women with a wide range of backgrounds

> Startup incubators can gain advantage by attracting women entrepreneurs

> Dispel the myths

> Support and leverage formal networks

I agree that it's a good start. We still have much progress to make. :)

One more piece from Watermark:

Marissa Mayer: What's family got to do with it?

Amen, Barbara!

Most importantly, we need to re-direct the conversation to Marissa being in the minority as a women CEO in a fortune 500 company– and how we can change that abysmal ratio. We must also encourage her to use her position to support other women.

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