Carol Bartz sure hit the ground running when she accepted Yahoo’s offer to be its next CEO. I’m sure that fat, base salary of $1 million plus up to $3 million in annual bonuses didn’t hurt either, as All Things Digital reports. Not to mention an annual equity grant worth $8 million in 2009 and the one-time $10 million equity grant she’ll receive for giving up those sweet benefits at Autodesk. [original link at iMedia]
All those zeros and terms like “equity grant” make my head spin, and that’s not even what impresses me most about the newest member to Silicon Valley’s elite. I’m always intrigued by what drives executives like Bartz to be so tenacious and undeterred in their veracity to work like pack mules and get chopped to shreds by bloggers, financial pundits and ruthless stockholders. I believe it’s a unique mix of characteristics. Sure, money rules all, especially on the clogged arteries of the 101 and 280 freeways, but I think it’s a cop-out to suggest that’s all there is to it.
Power feeds a hunger for even more power, but what’s the end game? I know very little about Bartz, but I like her already, and I don’t think her humble Midwestern beginnings could be so easily eschewed for senseless things like power and greed. I’m guessing she feeds off a healthy dose of those forces, but more importantly I see in her a desire to champion change and turn around a company as large as Yahoo. That’s what keeps her wanting more. After all, what better a legacy could there be right now in the world of technology than being the woman responsible for Yahoo’s return to fame? I’d be honored to put my stamp on something like that.
Despite the senseless things that surround me and often consume too much of my time and energy, I like to think of myself as a simple man. And so it’s the simple things that really astound me. For example, in the case of Carol Bartz, I’m just fascinated by her determined and self-driven approach to kicking a** and taking names right from the get-go.
At her first all-hands meeting on her second day on the job, Bartz told staff that she’d “dropkick to fu**ing Mars” anyone whose company gossip ended up on the blogs, according to Valleywag. There really is something fascinating about powerful women who cuss like bartenders (they’re powerful too, don’t you forget it). Not only did that make me laugh out loud in the offices of iMedia, it impressed the hell out of me. Maybe it’s a function of what I call “first-born syndrome,” but I don’t like to let people down, especially my parents. And I sure wouldn’t want to test a boss like Bartz after hearing something like that on a conference call. Of course, those very comments were leaked by a Yahoo employee seeking anonymous fame (what’s the point of that?) soon after the meeting. Though, I’m willing to bet that leak did not come from a first-born child.
At this point, I don’t even care what strategic plans Bartz has in store, like her “gut” telling her not to sell Yahoo’s search business to Microsoft, according to The Wall Street Journal. I happen to think that’s the right move (to not sell anything to Microsoft at this point), but I’ve got nothing to back that up. I’m just a simple man with a degree from a state college surrounded by Redwoods and more commerce of the illegal persuasion than the legal kind.
Most importantly, I think Yahoo needs a leader who’s not afraid to piss off tens of thousands of employees right away. Not just for kicks (or do I mean dropkicks?), but because fantasy sports is one of the only bright spots in Yahoo’s portal – at least from where I’m sitting thanks to back-to-back championships in fantasy football. But seriously, am I the only one who can’t stand the insane amount of spam that makes its way into my rarely checked Yahoo mail account? What else is there on that cluttered, stuck-in-1999 homepage? I’m counting on Carol Bartz to point me there.