What Happened When The New York Times Tried To Profile Marissa Mayer

Stewart Ugelow
Dec 23, 2014 · 2 min read

Sunday’s New York Times Magazine has a long profile of Marissa Mayer’s turnaround efforts at Yahoo called “What Happened When Marissa Mayer Tried to Be Steve Jobs.”

And I’m furious. Because this is tech journalism at its sexist worst.

  1. Mayer is criticized for personally approving every hire. But it never mentions that Larry Page does exactly the same thing at Google.
  2. She’s blasted for hiring COO Henrique de Castro who she forced out 15 months later. But when Tim Cook hired John Browett to run Apple’s retail operations and then fired him after only 6 months, he was praised for owning his mistake.
  3. The article describes the tenure of AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, her counterpart in a potential merger, this way: “After a rough start, Armstrong has managed to get AOL’s stock going again, not by inventing some new consumer product but by optimizing its ad and media assets.” Maybe the author never heard about Armstrong’s network of local sites called Patch, a “new consumer product” that lost as much as $300 million before AOL sold it in January?
  4. And then there’s the unforgivable sin: Marissa Mayer has managed to increase mobile advertising revenues from $125 million when she started to a projected $1.2 *billion* this year. In fact, Yahoo is widely expected to overtake Twitter in mobile ad share in 2015.

Sadly, you won’t read about it here. As a former journalist, I find it incredibly embarrassing that even with all the awareness of how skewed the workplace is for women in tech, articles like these still make it into print. It’s unacceptable and has to change.

P.S. The article actually has nothing to do with Steve Jobs.

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