The first time Marissa Mayer writes that “Yahoo changed the world” in her letter to employees, she’s right on the money. Mayer’s letter announcing Yahoo’s sale gives a nice tour of Yahoo’s important history, rightly proclaiming its role as a seminal force: “Yahoo is a company that changed the world,” she writes. “Before Yahoo, the Internet was a government research project. Yahoo humanized and popularized the web, email, search, real-time media, and more.” That’s all true.
The second time Mayer tells the “Yahoos” that Yahoo will change the world, it doesn’t come across with the same conviction. Yahoo has, as Mayer points out, a billion plus users. It’s still a big deal. But as Mayer signs off, it’s with this: “Yahoo is a company that changed the world. Now, we will continue to, with even greater scale, in combination with Verizon and AOL.” AOL once changed the world too, also “humanizing a popularizing the web, email, etc.” Both companies continue to impact people’s daily lives, so what Mayer says is technically true. Question is can it be as true as it was the first time?