In Defense of Marissa Mayer

I’ve been meaning to weigh in on Marissa Mayer’s new mandated policy at Yahoo which bans working from home. I’d previously written this post soon after she was announced CEO.

Everything this woman does, it doesn’t matter what it is, people (especially women) are going to hate. Why? Because she makes other women look bad.

She takes the helm as Yahoo’s new CEO. Consider her a bitch.

She’s insanely hard-working and neglects her sleep. She’s a bitch.

She announces she will only take two weeks maternity leave. Who does this bitch think she is?

She reports to work exactly two weeks after giving birth. What a f*ing bitch!

Why, instead of supporting each other and cheering the female advances, do women loathe other powerful women? If any male CEO had announced he had zero tolerance for telecommuting, it wouldn’t be news. We wouldn’t be debating it all over the blogosphere. But as soon as a woman who is charged with fixing a failing company plans on new structural changes, then she is castigated.

This is her job. If she fails, she will be out of a job like all the other Yahoo CEOs who had to step aside. It’s in her best interest to make decisions that she feels are most appropriate for her company. The success of Yahoo falls on her shoulders, not the miserable employees who have to give up their precious work from home privileges. Maybe as CEO she was tired of walking around the company and seeing a bunch of empty cubicles. Maybe she was fed up with going to the cafe and realizing that no one even takes advantage of the free food she mandated because they’re sitting in the sunshine at their local cafe with their dog and flirting with every ho hum telecommuter who walks by. Consider that as CEO maybe she has more information required to make decisions than any of us outsiders can ever know, and that she shouldn’t be beholden to public opinion.

Cmon people. Why do you have to be so nasty?

Let me ask you something. If you started your own company, ABC startup, and you started hiring employees to work for ABC. Are you really going to tell them straight away that you have a flexible commute policy, and they are welcome to work from home. OF COURSE NOT, YOU TURD. You would never say that. Why? Because you have ownership. You care. You want to succeed. That’s exactly what Marissa Mayer wants to do. She wants to succeed. How are you going to succeed when your work force is God knows where, collecting a paycheck. They can be in the Caribbean for all you know, slurping down another cocktail.

It doesn’t matter that Yahoo is no longer a startup. She has ownership and this is her decision. If it doesn’t work, then she will take the fall for it. If there’s a mass exodus, then she will have to own up to the consequences. But apparently, for the first time, people are proud and excited to work for Yahoo.

I’ve worked for companies with generous work from home policies. It doesn’t work. Why? Because there will be a lot of employees who take advantage of the policy with all the personal benefits and no benefit to the company. They’re the people who get up whenever they want, have average work ethic, and are essentially useless. They do what they need to do to get by and collect a paycheck. These people should never get to work from home. They don’t deserve it. Then there are your superstars who work non-stop are super responsive and you know that they’re in front of their laptop working 24/7. They’ve earned the right to work from home. While I applaud what Marissa has done so far for Yahoo, I personally would have tweaked her latest policy. I would have said there’s a ban on telecommuting unless you’ve reached some kind of milestone, whatever that is. A 9 out of 10 on a performance review, however it is scaled. Make it an incentive for people to want to work hard and to prove they’re capable of working from home because they have that focused dedication whether they’re in the office or at home. Don’t let your average Joe work from home. Quite frankly, don’t hire average Joes.

Instacart Startup: Nice Comeback

There was a technical glitch with this post, so I am reposting.

Two days ago, I posted about Instacart, a new service that does your grocery shopping (at Trader Joe’s and Safeway) for you. The service is available in SF, Palo Alto, and Mountain View, and charges a surprisingly low flat fee of $3.99 if you schedule your delivery anytime 3 hours later or $9.99 if you want your groceries within the hour.

A byproduct of the startup incubator Y Combinator, Instacart, Inc., last year raised seed funding of $2.3 million from Canaan Partners and Khosla Ventures.

I had read the San Francisco Daily Candy email for Friday January 11th which featured Instacart and I decided to give it a try this past weekend. I had a bad experience which I summarized in a post that has now been retracted.

The following day, the CEO personally emailed me which I sincerely appreciated as it showed that he’s accountable, receptive to feedback, and eager to regain my trust. That evening after work, Instacart seamlessly delivered 3 bags of Trader Joe’s groceries and followed up with several emails from the team to make sure I was taken care of.

Gotta love that. Thanks Instacart. You can count on my business going forward.

Following the 23 Rules of the Office Holiday Party

Did you all read Jason Gay’s 23 rules of the Office Holiday Party in the Wall Street Journal? So hilarious. My favorite is Rule #5: If your company’s holiday party is taking place in a swanky penthouse with piles of lobster, expensive champagne, trapeze artists and Coldplay performing live on stage, immediately run back to the office and clear out your desk, because your company is declaring bankruptcy tomorrow.

Too much fun spells impending layoff! Reminds me my old startup. Haha. Good times, good times.

Dean’s holiday party was last night. Unlike rule #5, the fete was nice. Not over the top, just well-executed and perfect. It was at this new restaurant / lounge called O3 Bistro on Van Ness which was the old California Pizza Kitchen location. It’s nice, but I doubt it’ll remain open for very long. It’s not a highly-trafficked area and it’s set apart from Hayes Valley and all the symphony and ballet action.

Back to the party: open bar, nice big spread of lobster and shrimp, sushi chef, passed appetizers (the bite-sized pork belly was to-die-for), good DJ, and excellent photo booth with the vendor providing all the costumes and props. That’s the way it should be! I highly recommend these guys. I got their card, but I seem to have misplaced it at this moment.

The CEO made a very short speech about the company’s successful trajectory, then went on to thank all the spouses for putting up with the long hours. As I like to say, Dean is the brains in the family and I am merely the trophy wife.

Speaking of wives, the CEO’s wife was phenomenal! She was fluttering around the dance floor gangnam style, showing everyone how to put a ring on it, and telling everyone to call her maybe. I want to be like her when I grow up. So cool, a lot of spunk, and intelligent. Again, why do some people have it all. Not fair.

Check out how much fun we had.

Aurora Goryalis

Wasn’t a fan of ‘Aurora Goryalis,’ thinking it insensitive, but Keith and Dean seemed to think it was relevant and appropriate for a trivia group name.

Last time I did group trivia was after September 11, 2011, post-layoff from the startup to which I’d devoted three years of my life. Jen, Steph, and I headed to Mad Dog in the Fog in the Lower Haight for their popular trivia night. Naming ourselves “The Doctor, the Nurse, and the Girl Who Got Fired,” we won, thanks to trivia maven Jen.

This time, contributions from the three musketeers (me, Keith, and Dean) were balanced. In fact, whenever we got an answer officially wrong, it was because someone felt strongly about the error and over-ruled the correct one.

Which country has the most number of atheists?

Me: China. Hands-down China.

Keith: They’re Buddhist!

Me: Think about it. Even the population alone.

I had a few drinks so I don’t remember the incorrect response Keith wrote down, but the answer was China.

Here were some other questions:

What is the most abundant element on the periodic table in the human body?

What year was the Model T produced?  1906, 1908, 1918, 1919?

Who was fired by the Department of the Interior for homosexual references made on the job?

What is the longest bone in the body?

Which country has the most number of submarines?

Which state has the most number of people on death row?

What currently is the most popular girl name starting with the letter E?

What currently is the most popular boy name starting with the letter J?

Whose most famous work is the Pieta?

From which country did the North Pole explorers hail from?

We stumbled onto this trivia scene at Elixir bar after we’d had dinner at Nihon. They were half-way into the game when we decided to go for it. While you can’t win trivia night only playing half the rounds, the announcer did say we would have won if we kept up the pace of our three rounds. We’re so going back next week.

Money Monday: Don’t Quit Your Day Job

I’m feverish and sick. Trying to function even though my eyes are bloody red and I’m severely congested.

Yesterday I had lunch with a friend who’s starting up his own company; he also has a full-time job that has nothing to do with his startup idea. I think entrepreneurs are great. They’re the backbone of America and their ideas contribute so much. I have a great deal of admiration, in particular, for entrepreneurs who continue to be self-supporting and follow their passion at the same time. It can be done!

Maybe because I’m a tiny bit risk averse. Maybe because I went to business school where they taught us to think of worst case scenarios. But what if your startup crashes and burns and you also don’t have a job. Then what?

Someone who stands out for me is Khaled Hosseini, the author of the award-winning novel The Kite Runner. The man wrote the book while he was practicing medicine! So for all you naysayers out there who think you need to clear your calendar of interruption to conceptualize your startup idea and bring it to market, take heed. Don’t quit your day job.