Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is having twins in December. It’s a healthy pregnancy and “uncomplicated” as she wrote on her blog. But of course its complicated for Yahoo watchers, a number of whom will inevitably wring their hands at such news. But why? Mayer already has a son and he hasn’t stolen Mayer’s time or attention from Yahoo. And here’s a critical point that should assuage anybody troubled by Mayer’s pregnancy news: Mayer says that she plans to approach “the delivery as I did with my son three years ago, taking limited time away and working throughout.”
Yet despite that pledge to stay on the job “throughout,” hand-wringers emphasize that the timing couldn’t be worse — that Yahoo is at a critical juncture. But a quick look through the history of this century shows Yahoo at one critical juncture after another. For Mayer to wait until Yahoo’s future was all smooth sailing, she would have to count on Google’s (sorry, Alphabet‘s) Sergei Brin to finish up his big longevity project. (Brin is determined to make people live practically forever.) Here’s what would be problematic for Yahoo: if Mayer opted for a leave like Netflix just announced. Or maybe it wouldn’t. At Netflix, employees now get unlimited maternity and paternity leave. Like Mayer, Netflix recognizes that work — especially in Silicon Valley — is more than ever a part of living, not a separate thing. You can tell people to go home, and they’ll still work.