Marissa Mayer on Running Yahoo in 2010: ‘Smart Acquisitions’ are Key to Staying Relevant

What, me? Run Yahoo? LOL.

(Photo: Yahoo)

Back at Le Web Paris in December 2010, then-TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington hosted a fireside chat with Marissa Mayer, who was recently named Yahoo’s CEO. In the video, unearthed by commenters at The Verge, Mr. Arrington poses a series of hypothetical questions to Ms. Mayer, including–quite presciently–“If you ran Yahoo, for example, what would you do?” (Michael Arrington: modern day Nostradamus?)

Ms. Mayer launched into that well-known machine gun giggle, perhaps at the notion of answering hypothetical questions, or maybe even at the concept that she would some day come to head the sinking web property. She then began a diplomatic response, lauding then-Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz for some of her work.

But the most interesting part of Ms. Mayer’s answer is that she leans on the notion of “smart acquisitions,” saying that if she were in charge of Yahoo, she would focus on scooping up web brands with significant cache to help the company “stay relevant.”

If I were Yahoo–one, I think it’s a very difficult job, but I do think that Carol’s done a lot of very smart things. I think that the partnership with search was smart in many ways–the partnership to have been with us [Google]. That was smart. But I also think that looking at other really interesting brands that are getting a lot of traction on the internet–those are smart acquisitions for them to make to really help broaden out their base, help broaden out their platform, and ultimately stay relevant.

So, will acquisitions be a key part of her new plan to lead Yahoo back towards relevancy? Mr. Arrington seems to think so. “I’d expect a bold new product strategy and an acquisition plan to help build the foundation of that strategy,” he wrote in Uncrunched on Tuesday.

Skip to 28:10 for the exchange.

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