The real lesson from Yahoo’s telecommuting decision

It has less to do with the issue of telecommuting than you think—this is really about Yahoo’s botched communications.

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I won’t judge Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer for her decision, nor will I defend it. I am not privy to the information, data, and insights Mayer used to arrive at this decision. Every company has to make decisions based on its own circumstances. Mayer was hired to turn Yahoo around, a task the likes of Terry Semel and Carol Bartz could not pull off. Bold moves are required. In Yahoo’s case, the decision could turn out to be a brilliant move to rejuvenate the company’s culture, or it could wind up being a disastrous miscalculation. We’ll just have to wait and see.

The communication of the decision is an altogether different matter.

It is rare for discussion of a news story to continue to rage long after it broke. Attention spans are short and there are too many other breaking stories to incite debate. For instance, after one week, a story generates only 5 percent of the tweets it elicited upon first breaking—even as half the mainstream media continued reporting on it, according to a Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism study.

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