Ex-Yahoos' Advice For Marissa Mayer: Slash The Payroll

marissa mayer, serious, gesturingSome advice for Mayer on the enormity of the task at Yahoo.

Photo: OLIVER LANG/Getty Images

Silicon Valley’s tech elite are assembled in Aspen, Colo., right now for Fortune’s Brainstorm conference.  The town was abuzz yesterday after news broke that Marissa Mayer will be Yahoo’s new CEO.We talked to a couple of ex-Yahoo employees who offered this bit of advice for her:

Go in and make massive layoffs right away—thousands—and THEN HIRE SOME BIG STAR. That will send a message that Yahoo will be an awesome place to work and big talent will want to come back.

That, we heard over and over again, is what Yahoo needs. It needs to be able to compete in Silicon Valley’s talent pool for the best of the best.

One person who had landed at Yahoo briefly after Yahoo bought his startup, is now back with another venture. He said that he deliberately won’t consider candidates who stayed at Yahoo in recent years.

“At some point, you have to ask, what have you been doing for the past six years?” he said.

Others said that there’s no downside for Mayer. If she fixes Yahoo, she’ll be golden forever. And if she doesn’t—well, it was broken when she got there, and she’ll be able to move on, head held high.

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