Obviously, a big part of Yahoo's turn-around strategy over the past year and change has involved scooping up as much behind the scenes talent as possible. To wit, the company has bought 24 startups in that time, and shut down most of them.
But there's another side to that coin: the company also needs to have fresh, relevant content to go with it. Yahoo did show some signs of that with its big redesign of Flickr earlier this year, but, for the most part, I have not seen the company put much into it.
But that may be changing soon. The company is all set to expand its coverage of consumer technology news, and with that push it has made a big, splashy hire in 13-year New York Times veteran David Pogue, it Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced in a blog post on Monday.
The new consumer tech site "will publish columns, blog posts and video stories that demystify the gadgets, apps and technology that powers our users’ daily lives," she said.
Pogue, she mentioned, is one of her favorite journalists.
"Yahoo is in a unique position to bring to life great editorial about the technology consumers are using every day. David is tremendously talented, has a great sense of humor, and is gifted at explaining technology."
In a separate blog post Pogue explained his reasons for leaving his position at the New York Times.
It’s not easy leaving the Times, especially when you admire it as much as I do. No matter what happens to prose on paper, the Times itself, as a gatherer and curator of news, will always be necessary and important," he said.
"But 13 years is a long time to stay in one place; we all thrive on new experiences. So I was intrigued when Yahoo invited me to help build a new consumer-tech site."
As for what he hopes to accomplish at Yahoo, it goes beyond just writing and creating videos. He specifically cited the turn-around that Yahoo has seen since Mayer became CEO in July of last year and the new culture at Yahoo.
"My team and I have much bigger plans, too, for all kinds of online and real-world creations," Pogue wrote, and at Yahoo, which is "a company that’s young, revitalized, aggressive," he think there is great opportunity.
Pogue will be starting at the company in a few weeks, but also promises to "still keep up my NOVA specials on PBS, my “CBS Sunday Morning” stories, my Missing Manual books, and my Scientific American column."
The Marissa Mayer effect
It's hard to see someone like Pogue coming to join Yahoo without Marissa Mayer at the helm. Even a year and a half ago, I can't imagine someone in his position taking that leap.
The fact that he was willing to is probably the surest sign yet of the effect Mayer has had on Yahoo's performance and reputation in her time as CEO.
Just look at Yahoo's stock performance: at the end of trading on July 16th of last year, her first day on the job, the company's stock was $15.65 a share. Right now, the company's stock is $34.02, up 117% since Mayer took over.
In July of this year, Yahoo sites were the most visited U.S. Web properties, topping Google and Microsoft.
All of that has made for a company that feel fresh and vital for the first time in years, and one that can even attract big-time talent like Pogue.
(Image source: http://www.teleread.com)