If you haven't heard of Marissa Mayer, Google her. Yes, she was Google's 20th employee.
Recently, the news broke that Mayer had decided to leave her position to become Yahoo’s fifth CEO in four years. It came as a shock to nearly everyone, including Google. For those of you unfamiliar with Mayer, TechCrunch once described her as Google’s “Ace” Rothstein—a reference to Robert de Niro's Casino character, the behind-the-curtain leader of the company.
However, how will her keen product sense impact the ever-popular Yahoo! Fantasy Sports?
It’s difficult to measure Yahoo’s current properties, but Yahoo! Sports is arguably just outside the top five, after Mail, Search, Flickr, Finance and News. Therefore, Mayer won’t just completely ignore the product—especially because there are well over 32 million people participating in Fantasy Sports, and Yahoo is widely believed to have the most traffic in the fantasy market, an estimated $1 billion business.
So how exactly will Mayer leave her mark on Yahoo! Fantasy Sports?
Currently, no fantasy host has created a mobile product that allows fantasy users to access and edit their team in a way that is simple and effective.
Yahoo is no different. It seems like they change their layouts season after season, alternating between dumbing it down for mobile and pushing in too much content, making it complicated.
Many have speculated Mayer’s main focus will be mobile. Her perfectionist product-oriented mind will surely bring an overhaul to the entire mobile fleet of fantasy apps, perhaps even developing a HTML5 browser version of Yahoo! Sports.
In the past, Yahoo has tried and flopped in the mobile scene; thus, Yahoo Mobile in general will undoubtedly be a major focus of revamping for Mayer.
Being Google’s 20th employee, Mayer was at the forefront of many of the most popular products of the company, which focus on product and end-user experience. Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt even went so far to say Mayer is a “tireless champion of users."
It is fairly obvious that Mayer will bring some of these talents from Google, once known as the epitome of user experience. Currently, Yahoo! Sports has countless issues, bugs and problems which ultimately hurt the user experience, a reason why many of my friends have switched to other fantasy hosts.
Furthermore, Yahoo Sports has fallen behind in applying the rapid technological advancements that make the user experience less complex.
Along with working on the Android team, Mayer’s latest role was overseeing the local and maps areas of Google.
As far as I know, there currently isn’t a league based on geo-location, which would be more personal than a public league, yet less restricting than a private one.
Imagine playing in a league specifically with people from your neighborhood. It would allow the league to have the ability to hold in-person drafts, meet new people and have all the same personal experiences as playing in a league with friends.
Yahoo is in desperate need of a design makeover, and Yahoo Sports is no exception. Google’s simplistic design could do wonders for Yahoo Sports' clunky layout, streamlining the sometimes-complicated process.
Granted, these changes will be heavily influenced by Google since Mayer is not expected to be the lone ex-Googler making their way to Yahoo. Many writers have reported that Mayer is likely to place Google employees in high-level Yahoo positions.
Although these changes will not happen overnight—Mayer obviously has more pressing issues and the arrival of her baby in October—I still would not be surprised to see some changes arrive by next football season.