Google, Mayer, and the Future

Marco Arment brings up a really good point with regard to Marissa Mayer leaving Google to become the CEO of Yahoo!:

Every time Apple loses one of its Senior VPs, we see stories questioning Apple’s leadership and future, suggesting that there may be significant inner turmoil.

Well, Google just lost one of its top people.

Mayer was the 20th employee at Google and has been with the company for most of the company’s existence. So I think Arment’s statement is very interesting. What happens when Google loses top “talent” — is that bad for the company?

Steven Levy seems to have had a lot of access to not only Mayer, but Google itself, and in his post for Wired he notes:

And it must have been disappointing that she was not included in the “A” team of top product lieutenants that Larry Page chose when he became CEO last year.

That surprised me, I always thought she was one of the top people at Google — certainly the only non-creepy Google execs. 1 So Levy is painting a picture of someone who seems to have hit their peak at a company — only natural then for an ambitious person to leave.

More to Arment’s point though is this passage from Levy in the aforementioned Wired article:

I did an informal survey of the young managers and asked each to guess if he or she would be working for Google in five years. Not a single one answered in the affirmative. When I reported this to Mayer (we were in Israel by then), she was unruffled. Actually, she told me, it would be a positive thing, because Google DNA would be spread throughout Silicon Valley, to the benefit of all.

I certainly wouldn’t want to run a company, and train new employees, if every one of those employees didn’t expect to be there in five years time. That line about spreading Google DNA just seems like a bunch of PR brush-off speak to me — this matters. Should be interesting to see how Google changes as they continually turn over managers.

  1. Looking at you Schmidty.
Originally posted for members on: July 17, 2012
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