Speaking as someone who was actually in the trenches, trying to slowly make Yahoo a center of product & engineering excellence (changing culture in a company this huge is like trying to nimbly turn an oil tanker around), you’re missing some key information here
For reference, I’m a huge public advocate and proponent of remote working for people who can handle it.
- The quality of engineer (or employee in general) at yahoo was/is not on par with what you’d look for in a remote worker. Some people need supervision, some people are not great at holding themselves accountable or self-motivating, etc… Sometimes you have to try to bake a cake with the ingredients you’re given.
- When you have bottom-heavy teams (think: 10 inexperienced people per experienced person), “face time” and in-person mentorship becomes way more important. Particularly in a supervisory relationship, the over 50% of communication that has nothing to do with how something is said or what is said can be the difference between helping someone limp along and helping to lift them up to the next level.
That being said, I don’t agree with what Marissa Mayer said, verbatim. However, slightly modified, is probably something that a lot of people would see some truth in
Show me a company that is unwilling to dedicate themselves to their mission in tangible ways — sometimes this means a late night to hit an important deadline, or forgoing vacation until after fundraising is done — and I’ll show you a company that is less likely to succeed.
Doesn’t make as interesting of a soundbite, but there’s probably more truth to it.
Monday morning quarterbacking from afar is really easy, but don’t trick yourself into thinking that every team can be successful if they just apply the ReWork Method®. You haven’t explicitly said this in your article, but to that would be nearly as arrogant as being able to glance at a startup on the weekend and predict success :)