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Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save YAHOO! An Interview With Nicholas Carlson

There are not very many business books I would describe as page-turners -- but this one is.

Nicholas Carlson,Chief Correspondent, Inc., magazine interviewed by Peter Clayton -TotalPicture Radio Nicholas Carlson

Welcome to TotalPicture Radio. Today's Leadership Channel podcast - and vodcast with Nicholas Carlson, author of Marrissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! is brought to you by Recruitifi. With RecruitiFi, you can easily connect with top recruiters and passive candidates interested in exploring new opportunities. Use the link on Nich's show page - and Recruitifi will waive the $50 listing fee for your first Jobcast.

In Contributing Editor to Inc magazine, Geoffery James, recent article titled 7 Books You Should Preorder Today, you'll find on the list Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save YAHOO! written by our guest, Nicholas Carlson on this Leadership Channel edition of TotalPicture Radio. Actually no need to preorder as the book has just been published by 12 (Hachette Book Group). In his day job, Carlson is Business Insiders Chief Correspondent.

Watch the Video Version of the Interview with Nich Carlson:

Hi this is Peter Clayton. There are not very many business books I would describe as page-turners -- but this one is. Through exhaustive research and countless interviews, Carlson brings us the inside story of how Yahoo got into such awful shape in the first place - the backstory of the meteoric rise of Yahoo in the 90's, and near-implosion during the doc-com crash of 2000.

Nich's coverage of Yahoo won Digiday's award for "Best Editorial Achievement" of the year.

Questions Peter Clayton asks Nicholas Carlson in this interview:

First tell us about yourself - and your background?

The opening scene of your book, is truly bizarre. Sort of a Monty Python meets reality TV. Can you describe for our listeners "Bobby Had a Nickel"

One aspect of Marissa's early tenure at Yahoo was the implementation of what was called QPR's Quarterly Performance Reviews - similar to Microsoft's much criticized Stack Ranking System. I guess everyone was trying to imitate Jack Welsh at GE. I would appreciate if you would go into some detail as to what this QPR entailed.

What was it that drew you to this story? Obviously, when Marissa was first announced as the new CEO of Yahoo it received a tremendous amount of press.

I think many of us have forgotten about the phenomenal meteoric rise of Yahoo in the mid to late 90's - you describe a wonderful scene which took place in January 1996 at Super Bowl XXX. Could you share Sparky's moment in the sun with us?

I would like to revisit, briefly the dot-com bust of 2000 and specifically what happened to Yahoo in that time period.

Do you think part of the problem was that it just grew too fast?

I think it would be helpful to revisit the 2001-2002 timeframe and the early collaboration with Google - and how AdWords turned the whole search industry upside down overnight.

In 2007, The New York Times published an unsigned editorial that blamed Terry Semel for the downfall of Yahoo, stating that he "passed on many opportunities to simply buy Google." Can you expand on this - and Semel's time at Yahoo?

In 2008, why did Yahoo pass on Microsoft's very generous offer to by the company?

Alright we're going to fast forward - and believe me, we're passing on many juicy stories with names like "The Godfather" and the "Peanut Butter Manifesto" to Part 2 of your book. Tell us about Melissa's early years with Google. You know the 100 hour workweek stuff.

When Mayer was announced as the new CEO of Yahoo in 2012 she was not the only person being considered for the job. Didn't Ross Levinsohn, the interim CEO think the job was his?

Why did the board select Melissa Mayer?

Where do you think Yahoo would be today without Alibaba?

How do you think this will ultimately play out?

Over 12,000 Downloads!

Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.


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