Felix Salmon

Is Marissa Mayer the right CEO for Yahoo?

Nicholas Carlson, Joe Weisenthal, and Henry Blodget deserve many congratulations on Carlson’s monster 22,500-word profile of Marissa Mayer. It features the kind of deep reporting one normally only finds in books, and it sheds a lot of light on what is going on at Yahoo — both at the senior executive level and at board level. What’s more, Carlson was fortunate enough to get just the right amount of access to Mayer — enough to be able to fill in the necessary details, get lovely bits of color, and ask her the questions he needed to ask, but not so much that he became captured. (In general, with very few exceptions, the more time that a journalist spends with his subject, the more favorable the resulting profile will be.)

Leadership lessons from a Wall Street consultant

I’ve been spending much more time than usual on Facebook, over the past week — you’d think the company has been in the news, or something like that. And so I found myself this evening clicking on a classic clickbait headline — “Two Lists You Should Look at Every Morning” — which had been shared approvingly by my ex-boss, and which came with the somewhat respectable logo of the Harvard Business Review.

The problem with Marc Andreessen

2005-new.jpg It’s easy to see why Marc Andreessen is grinning on the front cover of Wired magazine this month. Inside, there’s an interview where he’s introduced as a “tenacious pioneer”, one of “our biggest heroes”, and someone who was so far ahead of the curve on his “five big ideas” that he had them “before everyone else”.

Steve Jobs’s philanthropy

Andrew Ross Sorkin takes a look at the private life of Apple’s chairman today, passing on rumors about activity he clearly doesn’t want publicized, in the face of stony silence from Apple. But hey, Sorkin’s a journalist, I guess that’s what journalists do.

Thanks, Steve

It’s a sad day: only this morning I was reminiscing about my days exploring the Apple Macintosh in Palo Alto in 1984. Like much of the world right now, I’m reliving Steve Jobs’s greatest hits on YouTube, I’ve got a bit of a tear in my eye, and yet I can’t imagine how Jobs could possibly go out on a higher note than this.

No change in how the IMF picks its leader

The IMF has released a one-page factsheet on the selection process for its top job, which is not very easy to understand. But the main message is reasonably clear: we have a process for choosing the managing director which we’ve followed in the past, and we’re not going to make any indication that the process will be any different this time around.

The fortunes of Twitter

How much are high-value employees worth in Silicon Valley? Quite astonishing amounts of money:

English masters of the dead bat

John Gapper isn’t letting the World Cup get to him: he knows that when it comes to Tony Hayward’s Congressional testimony today, the sports metaphor of choice has to come from cricket rather than football. “Tony Hayward plays a dead bat to Congress” is his headline, and he’s right: Hayward isn’t interested in winning anything, here, he’s just interested in letting the hearing time out by being infuriatingly passive and unhelpful. He’s simply letting the attacks come, refusing to show any spark of humanity or willingness to engage.

CEO succession planning: broken

If you make it to CEO of a major public company, chances are you’re pretty competitive. And if you’re that competitive, chances are you’re not going to stop being competitive just because you’re CEO. And if you’re CEO, there’s a very good chance that you’re chairman of the board as well. Put that all together, and you get one of the biggest problems when it comes to principal-agent disconnect: a lack of succession planning.