Digital Transformation

Dreamforce: YAHOO! CEO Marissa Mayer Keynote

They started off with a video of Leviev Diamonds and how they use Saleforce.  The following interview includes a story about a diamond heist.  They used the data in Salesforce to document the loss to the police.

Mark Benioff also interviewed the CEO’s of Men’s Warehouse and Whole Foods.   Honestly, that’s quite the list of CEO’s to come to a tech conference.  It includes the CEO’s of HP, YAHOO!, Leviev Diamonds, Facebook, Men’s Warehouse, and Whole Foods.  Throw in the Prime Minister of Haiti and a previous super model and you have more than a hat trick.

 Marissa Mayer

  • Commitment to employees
    • In the digital world it’s about designing for global. It’s really hard to do when you haven’t seen it.
    • Marissa made a point of traveling with them and learning as they do user studies around the world
    • Part of the process is to understand what motivates them and how the products work in different languages and different markets.
    • You also gel with the team when you are in a foreign country together. It’s hard to replicate that in another setting.
  • Commitment to simplicity. Where does it come from?
    • It’s all about the user
    • That can include the expert user
    • Streamline the path through the product.
    • You can trade sophistication against simplicity. It’s like a copy machine.  You can do all sorts of cool things but the simple green button is still there and used 98% of the time
    • YAHOO! does have a chief designer slot open if anyone wants the job.
    • While Marissa is not a designer by trade, she designs the team which is one of the hardest challenges in her entire career.
    • Great companies really do focus on design
    • Marissa noted it’s not all about design. You still have to run a business.  “Usable but not useful”
    • YAHOO! thinks of itself as mobile first
  • Yahoo!  Pivot to mobile and other changes at the company
    • Much of what you do on YAHOO! correlates to what you do on a mobile
    • Took a mobile group from 30 to almost 400.
    • It’s a huge change to mobile
    • Have almost 400 million monthly users on mobile
    • Marissa talked about her vision when she was hired to ride the wave of mobile.
    • By day 4, a mobile designer introduced himself at lunch and they started the change.  They tapped an SVP of mobile
    • “Viewed my role to take ideas and help craft that into a direction.”
    • “Good executives don’t do things.  You clear a path. You help others do things.”  Advice from mentor Eric Schmidt
    • YAHOO! instituted a highlights and low lights board where employees vote for what to present to the board of directors.  They write the slides.
  • Multi-dimensional life
    • How do you balance all the aspects of family, professional life, community causes?  Mark noted that Marissa has done a stellar job in doing this.
    • It’s all about prioritization.  Family and YAHOO! come first.
    • Had a good friend in college who, when asked about how she does such a good job with priorities, “Look, I just make a list each day of my priorities from most important to least important and then celebrate when I don’t get to the bottom of the list.”



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Michael Porter

Mike Porter leads the Strategic Advisors team for Perficient. He has more than 21 years of experience helping organizations with technology and digital transformation, specifically around solving business problems related to CRM and data.

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