May 08, 2012

How much does it matter than Yahoo's CEO had an inaccurate resume?

Scott Thompson didn't exactly have the educational background that was listed on his resume. Oops. I have gotten resumes from people that went to the same college I graduated from, and on two separate occasions an applicant claimed to have a degree that I know my alma matter doesn't offer and never has. Again, oops. Does Thompson's inaccurate bio reflect a common practice in tech? I'm sure there were inaccuracies in other resumes I've received that I didn't catch, but I'm telling you if I hired someone and found out later that they had falsified their qualifications, I would be irate.  Very irate.  But what do you do when it is the CEO? Does yahoo let it slide, or does the board have to get rid of Thompson?

The question about Thompson lying is moot. Because his whole company is based on lies. It's funny to hear so many Yahoo employees making these judgements of ethics when they really don't have any. The thing is, all of Yahoo is part of a huge lie. That lie is the total and complete misrepresentation of their photo sharing social network, Flickr. For over 7 years Yahoo has gotten away with misrepresenting Flickr as something it's not. What's more, all the media, and politicians using the platform for PR have been a big part of the lies that forfeit any opinions being expressed condeming Thompson's ongoing fib. People always lie to benefit themselves.
On the outside, Yahoo's Flickr is presented to the public as a work-safe, family friendly place to let anyone 13 and up share photos with others. The real truth is, that under the charade created by slick algorithms and ongoing PR malarky, Flickr is a masqueraded, huge pron site hosting tons of people that share that adult content knowingly with children, without much suspicion by anyone. Thing is, kids are smarter than any typical adult about these things.
Obama, Romney, and a slew of others like most of the Texas government have no problem with the fact that this gross misrepresentation has afforded Yahoo's Flickr the right to bypass filtering and flow right into grade schools and libraries, and most of all, into homes of trusting parents, fooled into thinking Flickr is safe.
Only one person has ever come out and called Flickr what it really is. That is Nicholas Carlson of Business Insider. His article last year tells the real truth. Nobody here will share that truth with you, so they are part of the lie too.
When confronted on it the other day, all C-Net's Steve Shankland to say was, in typical response, "so what? It's what the internet is all about anyway." But we are not talking about any typical adult website, we are talking about Yahoo. A company that is trusted by millions of people to do the right thing, honestly. That's why so many of their advertisers baulked when confronted with the truth. That is why everyone at Yahoo is a liar, just like their CEO, and just like these media people are too. Freedom of speech is one thing and we don't care much about the pron either way. It's the huge, accepted lies that bother us, and the hypocrisy that dominates our society in places like this.


One thing that is different because he is a CEO of a publicly traded company is that there are regulatory requirements, so his "qualifications" are submitted to the SEC (at least, I think it would be the SEC, but maybe it is the FTC).   Another thing that this highlights, as articulated by Warren Buffet, is that "Yahoo has a trust problem."  Among others, I might add.


It is surprisingly common for people to augment their resumes.  There was March 3 article in USA Today that stated ~35% of resumes contain lies about education, skills or experience.  If that is accurate, there are a lot of people that are hired based on false information, and that could have a serious impact on an employer.  You wouldn't want to have a conversation a few months after a hire that starts with, "I though you knew how to run a nuclear power plant...."


I suppose that it is inevitable, especially in a job market where highly qualified people can find it difficult to get a job.  It is very difficult for most companies to thoroughly check resumes of potential hires for falsification, so there is a pretty good chance that many people will get away with it.  Maybe not if you are the CEO of a huge company though.  


Oh, and I think Yahoo has two options, claim it was some secretary that made an error, or can Thompson.  The window has pretty much closed on that first option though.  I think it damages the company image to keep him on board, and the issue isn't going away.  On the other hand, they look like a bunch of idiots if they fire their new CEO.  


If he lied deliberately, they should get rid of him now. Don't wait before more damage is done later. That company is in enough trouble without having a CEO with honesty issues. Fix the problem now and find somebody without this sort of problem.
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