Did Yahoo! hire Marissa Mayer to bring back Yahoo Search?

This is an interesting take on the hire of Marissa Mayer, considering that all the past CEO’s have gone as far away from search as they can.

As you may have heard, Marissa Mayer is now CEO of Yahoo, ready to turn it into a leaner, fitter, more successful firm. It’s a great move for Yahoo, and it could mean great things for you, the consumer. But the entity that may benefit the most? Google.

Yahoo’s search effort is sinking. Back in December 2011 its U.S. market share in search slipped behind Bing’s, and the trend continued at least until June. If its July and August figures show a continued slip in market share, that will make it 12 months of non-stop dropping into oblivion. Bing, meanwhile, is picking up some of this slack, as is Google itself. For Bing, however, this is more a case of it maintaining its slim market share–hovering around 15%, which doesn’t represent a huge threat to Google.

Google needs Mayer to turn Yahoo search around, perhaps growing its market share by pushing for real innovation. Because a stronger Yahoo will also push Microsoft to compete harder with Bing, possibly even stealing market share from Google. That’s not such a bad thing: Google has enough to share, and it’ll create a dynamic, vibrant search engine market in which Google will face much less antitrust heat. “We really think an independent Yahoo’s better for the Web,” Mayer told Charlie Rose in 2009.

A more competitive market will push Google itself to innovate, delivering what its users want and need–versus what experimental services Google deems fit to push on them.

 

Keep reading: Fast Company – Why Joining Yahoo Is The Best Thing Marissa Mayer Ever Did–For Google

 

 

Continue reading Did Yahoo! hire Marissa Mayer to bring back Yahoo Search?

Google Ventures – venture capital funding through data

A fascinating article in Fast Company profiles Google Ventures, the company’s venture capital division. Like everything the search giant does they are aiming big with delusions of changing the entire VC industry with data as the vehicle.

They start out with some interesting facts:

Despite the mythology that has built up around venture capital, it has become a slowly moldering investment vehicle. “The past 10 years haven’t been very productive,” Bill Maris points out. According to the research firm Cambridge Associates, during the decade ending last September, VCs as a class earned a 2.6% interest rate for their investors–less than you could have earned in an S&P 500 index fund. The numbers look slightly better over shorter periods; VCs have delivered a 4.9% return the past three years and 6.7% over the past five, still far from terrific.

 

 
Then they move on to insights gained through data-crunching:

Joe Kraus says that analysts have discovered research that overturns some of Silicon Valley’s most cherished bits of lore. Take that old idea that it pays to fail in the Valley: Wrong! Google Ventures’ analysts found that first-time entrepreneurs with VC backing have a 15% chance of creating a successful company, while second-timers who had an auspicious debut see a 29% chance of repeating their achievement. By contrast, second-time entrepreneurs who failed the first time? They have only a 16% chance of success, in effect returning them to square one. “Failure doesn’t teach you much,” Kraus says with a shrug.

Location, in fact, plays a larger role in determining an entrepreneur’s odds than failure, according to the Google Ventures data team. A guy who founded a successful company in Boston but is planning to start his next firm in San Francisco isn’t a sure bet. “He’ll revert back to that 15% rate,” Kraus says, “because he’s out of his personal network and that limits how quickly he can scale up.”

 

 

The article continues to describe the actions Google is taking to change the game. The most important of which seems to be bringing in ringers rather than partners, challenging the VC model at its core…

read the full articleGoogle’s Creative Destruction

The famous center of venture capital - Menlo Park, California.

 
// Thx to Guillaume SPillmann, Photo – Mark Coggins