Here’s how not to impress a new hire.
In 2009, Chris Lehmann was hired to help Yahoo revamp its on-again off-again news organisation, he writes in The Baffler today. He knew things were off to a bad start when his job offer letter arrived in a FedEx box that was set up to play Yahoo’s infamous yodel every time it was opened.
He writes, “Even after I rushed it into my kitchen trash can, it would start in on its infernal yodeling loop whenever I’d discard a used yogurt carton or wadded-up paper towel on top. It was the branding mechanism that would not die.”
In case you’re not familiar with what he’s talking about, listen here:
On a more serious note, Lehmann tells a sad story of a bureaucratic organisation where management was constantly changing direction and projects took months to complete — or sometimes got canceled before they were ever launched. He left in 2012.
This is the challenge Marissa Mayer faces now that she no longer has Yahoo’s Alibaba stake to prop up the company’s share price. For his part, Lehmann isn’t a fan, criticising her celebrity hires like Katie Couric and David Pogue, and writing “Mayer is now banking on an overtly corrupt model of digital journalism to help stanch Yahoo’s steady hemorrhage of ad revenue.”