Today in Tech: Ex-Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson on life post-Yahoo

July 24, 2012, 8:00 AM UTC

Why companies are offering employees unlimited vacation; Scott Thompson opens up on life post-Yahoo. 

The story of Steve Jobs: An inspiration or a cautionary tale? [WIRED]

Join or get out of the way—it’s a phrase that sums up what Jobs’ life has taught his admirers today. Andrew Hargadon, a professor at UC Davis and author of How Breakthroughs Happen: The Surprising Truth About How Companies Innovate, points out that Jobs’ brashness has helped inspire a larger reaction to several decades of conventional wisdom about the importance of worker empowerment and consensus decision- making. “Jobs is showing us the value in the old-school, autocratic way. We’ve gone so far toward the other extreme, toward a bovine sociology in which happy cows are supposed to produce more milk.” That is, it took a hippie-geek like Jobs to give other bosses permission to be aggressive and domineering again.

VMware buys Nicira for $1.05 billion [ZDNET]

For VMware, Nicira is part of an effort to put together what it calls the software defined data center. VMware has obviously established a dominant presence in virtualizing servers in the data center. Nicira was backed by Andreessen Horowitz as well as Lightspeed Venture Partners and NEA. Ben Horowitz said in a blog post that VMware picked up a product and team that can make it a serious networking player.

Scott Thompson on life after Yahoo [BUSINESSWEEK]

He does have kind words for Marissa Mayer, the formerGoogle executive hired this month as his replacement at Yahoo. “I haven’t met Marissa, but from what I’ve read and heard about her, I suspect she’s an excellent person to lead Yahoo into the next stage,” he says. “I hope she’s extremely successful starting on Day One and for as long as she’s there. The only other comment I have is that I met a lot of great people in my time there, and I’m rooting for them.”

Facebook efforts on advertising face a day of judgment [THE NEW YORK TIMES]

Facebook’s unique asset is the pile of personal data it collects from 900 million users. But using that data to serve up effective, profitable advertisements is a daunting task. Google has been in the advertising game longer and has roughly $40 billion in annual revenue from advertising — 10 times that of Facebook. Since the public offering, Wall Street has tempered its expectations for Facebook’s advertising revenue, and shares closed Friday at $28.76, down from their initial price of $38.

To recruit techies, companies offer unlimited vacation [BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK]

Still, unlimited vacation has been catching on in Silicon Valley, where employers dangle the policy as they compete for top engineers. Netflix (NFLX) and Zynga (ZNGA), along with smaller startups Xobni, SigFig, and Hotel Tonight, have started letting workers take off as much time as they like. “This will help us in our recruiting and retention of great talent,” says Dave Gilbert, CEO of Internet calling service SimpleSignal, which announced its unlimited vacation policy last month.