A former executive from Google who uses an iPhone — publicly, no less? In the tech world, it qualifies as a scandal.
Industry observers have noted that Marissa Mayer, who recently took over as chief of Yahoo after working for Google, is a longtime iPhone user. These intrepid digital detectives have amassed a considerable amount of evidence, such as:
- Photos of Mayer holding an iPhone while giving presentations as a Google exec
- An investigative analysis (yes, an analysis) of Mayer’s methods of posting to Twitter, which include via the iPhone
- And, in what may be the geek equivalent of a smoking gun, a tweeted Instagram photo
Of course, the self-appointed investigators tell us the reason why the photo couldn’t have come from another type of phone is that Instagram was iPhone-only until April — and this photo was taken in March.
Questions of loyalty
The tone of these findings and pronouncements, which at times verges on breathless, can certainly be amusing. However, does the fact that a high-profile Google employee may have preferred something other than Android really constitute some sort of betrayal? Was it a vote of no-confidence in her former company’s product?
Some online onlookers think that Mayer’s choice of phone simply means that she’s a maverick who’s ready to rearrange the landscape at Yahoo. According to one school of thought, though, it could point to a problem.
“The Loyalty Factor” by business author Dianne Durkin revolves around a central idea: “Employee loyalty drives customer loyalty, which drives brand loyalty.”
So if upper- and mid-level managers don’t seem brand-loyal to the products their companies make, perhaps they send an unintended message to employees and consumers alike.
Defined by commodities
One thing seems certain. We’re reminded once again of how strongly people identify with gadgets.
Vast 4Gnetworks, developed by enterprising wireless providers like CLEAR, have greatly contributed to the growth of mobile devices. Like many other commodities, these products can develop their own social cachet and wind up with a lot of meaning attached to them.
To a lot of people in the Wired Age, you are what you use. It helps explain the curiosity about what Marissa Mayer uses and the speculation about how it might define her.