It's Mother's Day, and if there's one thing my mother taught me it's don't tell lies. (See how I tied this into Mother's Day?)
Sure enough, as predicted, the "inadvertent error" on Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson's resume has sunk him. AllThingsD's Kara Swisher is reporting he's out and a new, inadvertent-error free CEO is coming in.
What's interesting about this story is how long it has taken to play out. I was semi-off-the-grid at the CTIA conference in New Orleans for a week. I checked tech news infrequently and I was surprised whenever I'd see another article on this saga pop up. At one point I thought that Thompson would weather this storm. He even had some supporters in his corner. (Dan Lyons over at the Daily Beast had a great post about Thompson wherein he defended Thompson and also made fun of the tech press. I didn't agree with his "everybody does worse" argument, but it's still worth a read.)
And now two weeks later, after some waffling and blaming, Thompson's fate is finally sealed. That's not the way a company quickly handles a distraction.
So here are the questions I have now: Why didn't eBay catch the inadvertent error that had been showing up on Thompson's resume for several years (while he was PayPal president)? And how many companies are going to start asking executives to check their bios now?
It's too early to tell how this one ends, but this is not a good way to start a new job.
Yahoo's new CEO Scott Thompson, recently president of PayPal, seems to have claimed a bachelor's degree he did not actually earn. Padding one's resume is not looked upon kindly by HR folks. More than one person has been fired for this type of thing.
In a follow up, Yahoo responded thusly:
Scott Thompson’s degree at Stonehill College was in (sic) bachelor science in accounting. There was an inadvertent error that stated Mr. Thompson also holds a degree in computer science. This, in no way, alters that fact that Mr. Thompson is a highly qualified executive with a successful track record leading large consumer technology companies. Under Mr. Thompson’s leadership, Yahoo! is moving forward to grow the company and drive shareholder value.
Actually, it does alter the fact that Mr. Thompson is a highly qualified executive. Maybe not the schooling part of his qualifications, but it does affect the part of his qualifications where he can say to his employees "I didn't fib to get this job."
Again, too soon to tell what happens, and I'm willing to believe it was inadvertent. And at least Mr. Thompson has a degree. It would be another thing entirely if he made it up completely.
But as I said, this wouldn't be the first time an executive found himself looking for work after putting something on a resume that wasn't true, inadvertently or not.
(The punchline to this is that the person responsible for vetting Thompson apparently padded her resume too. Perhaps they should Google "Is resume padding bad?" over at Yahoo instead of relying on their own search engine. It may not be coming back with "Yes!")
From the title you might think this is a story about Ashton Kutcher's forays into social media. It's not. Brother Feldman covered that earlier today. (Besides, how rare is "a star's demise" in Hollywood?)
Instead, it's an incredible story about physicists watching a star being sucked into a black hole complete with a picture of the victim being devoured. From the story:
The composition of the stellar debris indicates that the devoured star was the helium-rich core of a red giant -- a swollen type of star that the sun will evolve into some 5 billion years from now. "When [a red giant] balloons up, its hydrogen envelope is very vulnerable to being stripped by the gravitational forces of the black hole," Suvi Gezari, an astronomer at Johns Hopkins University, says."What we're seeing is this sort of stripped core."
In other words, even objects as massive as a star, and way bigger than you, eventually become lunch to something else.
So enjoy your day.
Fine, I'll be the Groupon guy around here. (I don't expect that skillset will be required for long at this rate.)
Kara Swisher broke the story earlier today: Groupon is losing a couple of its board members and replacing them with a couple of bean counters. The big name heading for the exit is Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks.
File this under "more bad news for Groupon." It's not just that the optics are bad at a time when Groupon really needs less bad news; it's that the board is trading at least one big name for a couple of guys who are, well, bland.
Don't get me wrong: I'm sure the new board members are both very competent advisors and smart guys. But star power matters when it comes to board members. Having a guy like Schultz leave (and leave immediately) to be replaced by a couple of accountants doesn't say, "This is an exciting company headed towards big things."
The headline begs the question: "Are there clean patent trolls?"
I suspect (hope?) that some day we'll look back on this time in tech and see a correlation between the number of patent suits a company files and the beginning of that company's end.
When companies aren't making "new" and "better" things, and are simply suing other companies over intellectual property, then they're just waiting to die.
And to answer the question: No, there are no clean patent trolls.
What does it say when the tech press pays attention to a company hiring a new "SVP of the Americas?" Not a c-level switch, but an SVP.
It can't be good.
The article says this is the first positive move the company has made since it was forced to restate its earnings last month.* Is an SVP hire supposed to reinvigorate investor confidence? Seriously?
Groupon closed at 11.92 down 2.85 percent.
*In case you forgot, Groupon discovered a "material weakness" in its accounting controls. It restated its earnings at the end of March to show its Q4 net loss went from around $40 million to $65 million. According to AllThingsD, the stock has dropped 40 percent since then. (It's down almost 60 percent from its IPO.)