Marissa Mayer. She’s the CEO of Yahoo! Hired last July she was charged with the responsibility of making Yahoo! a relevant organisation again. Not an easy task.

Since she joined she’s made a number of seemingly controversial calls – but all of them seem to have been the right thing, despite many (many) people dumping on them at the time.

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Photo by Giorgio Montersino – http://flic.kr/p/5HZpNn

Recent Acquisitions

In terms of acquisitions, much of her work has focussed on the mobile market – acquiring a food & entertainment recommendation engine Jybe, and also the news summary app Summly.

In terms of policy / internal Yahoo! stuff, she made headlines after banning employees from working at home. Cue untold handwringing across the inter webs. But really, who could argue with the common sense: she saw that remote workers were not logging in to their accounts often enough, were not being productive enough, and so decided it wasn’t working.

Sure, it’s different for all companies – a lot depends on the nature of the work, the nature of the employees doing the work, and so on – she felt it was the right decision, and the data backed her up. (What was not as widely reported was that paid maternity and paternity leave were increased (16 weeks / 8 weeks), along with a $500 maternity allowance for groceries. )

And now for Tumblr …

Anyway, today she’s in the news following the company’s decision to give the go ahead on the $1.1bn acquisition of Tumblr. Already, such ‘esteemed’ journals as Forbes.com have put together an article on why it will fail as an acquisition. Blimey. Give it a chance.

Tumblr is the big time. It hosts over 100 million blogs. (And many blog owners are reportedly nervous about the Yahoo! acquisition – as Matt Mullenweg, as the creator of Tumblr rival, WordPress points out here).

Acquisition headaches …

One of the reasons for the nerves is Yahoo!’s record of not handling post-acquisition product development very well. Or at all.

Most famously, the acquisition of much loved photo sharing site, Flickr has been difficult to say the least. Bookmarking site Delicio.us was left to whither on the vine (until YouTube founders stepped in) and there have been a few more recent acquisitions that have left a sour taste in the mouth – notably that of Upcoming.org.

What has pleased me most about this Tumblr announcement is the manner in which it was made – with a great deal of humour and humility on Marissa’s personal blog (on Tumblr, natch). The animated GIF that accompanies it deftly nods to previous acquisition difficulties whilst making it plain they intend it to be different this time.

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In these simple couple of paragraphs, she neatly deals with everything:

I’m delighted to announce that we’ve reached an agreement to acquire Tumblr!

We promise not to screw it up. Tumblr is incredibly special and has a great thing going. We will operate Tumblr independently. David Karp will remain CEO. The product roadmap, their team, their wit and irreverence will all remain the same as will their mission to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve. Yahoo! will help Tumblr get even better, faster.

Personally, if Marissa Mayer thinks it’s a good idea, we should at least give it a chance to see how it pans out. She seems to have a tremendous amount of guts for the big decision, and a strong belief in what she’s doing. More power to her.