On the other hand, Ben Parr, formerly of Mashable, says Thompson is a good choice because he's "the complete opposite of Carol Bartz." I assume he means Thompson doesn't cuss like a sailor with Tourette's or wear Manolo Blahnik pumps (though I could be wrong about the latter). Per Big Ben:
Yahooers will find it easy to like this guy. He also has a proven track record at building consumer-facing businesses. He does face a challenge switching from payments to media, though. Bottom line: His unassuming, good-hearted nature is the perfect contrast to the bombastic, in-your-face management style of Carol Bartz.
So he's a nice guy. That's ... nice. I've been trying to think of all the other nice guys who've run major technology companies. Thus far, I got nothin'. Oh wait, here's one: Jerry Yang. That ought to bode well.
In today's winner-take-all Internet, stepping into the CEO position at Yahoo is an almost impossible job, so I have sympathy for the man. Of course, if Thompson pulls a Terry Semel and runs the company into the ground while collecting a $260 million payout, I'll have less sympathy.
What should Yahoo do to turn itself around? Something. Anything. Make a major acquisition (say, AOL?), or dump all those useless moving parts and make Yahoo lean and mean. It doesn't really matter what Thompson does -- he just needs to do it, do it big, and do it fast. He needs to change the perception of Yahoo from a sinking ship to a sleek and cunningly navigated craft if he wants to have any hope of attracting young talent.
Otherwise, it's to the lifeboats, women and children first. And you know the old saying: The CEO always goes down with the ship.
Do you think Thompson is the right choice for Yahoo? Can anybody keep the company afloat? Post your thoughts below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article, "Yahoo will go on," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.