I want Marissa Mayer to succeed. I want Yahoo! to succeed. What’s the Idea? posts over the years have perhaps been unkind to Yahoo! but only because I care.
Ms. Mayer’s strategy a year ago, to be consumers “daily habit,” was a good one. It was certainly measurable, certainly grounded in consumer behavior and most importantly aspirational. Habits can be ritualistic and mechanical, but they can also be born of the need for education, stimulation and positivity.
Ms. Mayer’s latest “follow-the-money” foray, however, into mobile technology is off center. And in the tech world she is not alone. Inviting a 1,000 mobile developer s to a Yahoo! campfire rally, to energize them to use new analytic tools and advertising plug-ins is goofy. Mobile app developers are no better at finding the next new habit than anyone else. In fact, they are probably less so.
Innovative daily habits are more likely to come from visionaries. Students of people. Behaviorists. Social scientists who like punk. Comedians. Artists. Creative directors. As Ms. Mayer looked out in the audience at her mobile app developer meeting last week, what do you think she saw? Did they laugh at her humor? Did they look up from their devices?
If she goes to SXSW, Ms. Mayer is more apt to find habit formers at South By Music than at South By Interactive. Trust me.
Ms. Mayer – please know, Katie Couric, David Poque and some mobile developers are not the future. They are stuff-makers. You need to hire visionaries. Peace.