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Comments: Week of October 22, 2012

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1. “A long, thorough look at whether Marissa Mayer—who’s long stayed a little aloof from the ‘women-in-tech’ fray—can quote-unquote ‘have it all’ (Answer: We’ll see!),” wrote Kelly Faircloth at Betabeat of Lisa Miller’s profile of the savvy Yahoo CEO and new mom, who finds herself now in the middle of a fraught running conversation about what is possible for women in the workplace (The Geek in the Gown,” October 15). “That said, everyone tut-tutting Ms. Mayer for cutting her maternity leave short should probably quit worrying about whether she’ll take child rearing as seriously as resurrecting Yahoo from the dead. Whatever her faults, this woman wouldn’t know a half-measure if it bit her on the ass.” Other readers also had problems with the terms of the debate. “Can we please retire/murder the phrase ‘Having it All’?” tweeted @jessgrose. A reader at nymag.com agreed: “There is no right way to go about having a work-life balance—you do what you can, because your job/business/corporation is more than likely not going to be helping you along the way. And no matter what you do, there is going to be a crowd of people who are going to tell you that you’re doing it wrong … The phrase ‘having it all’ is so passive—it actually means ‘doing it all.’ ” Another reader, saying she was nearing her own maternity leave at Google, was especially eager to hear about data-obsessed Mayer’s next chapter. “I am incredibly curious to read an interview 365 days from now about how Marissa felt about the first year as a mom and CEO of Yahoo. I would love this interview to include a Marissa-famous week-by-week spread sheet of ‘waking hours personally spent with baby’ over the past twelve months as a key data point as well as a dimension on happiness and fulfillment.” Others wondered how Yahoo would fare in that time. “Interesting that her numerous shortcomings aren’t listed: no revenue experience; no turnaround experience; no general-management experience; no experience managing investors; etc.,” wrote one reader. “I think she was a stunt hire who ultimately will flame out because she’s not used to working at a company that doesn’t have a money-printing press in the basement. Google is legendarily unfocused—you can afford to make a lot of mistakes with a core ad business running at 80 percent–plus margins, which she had no part in creating or running. Yahoo has no such luxury.


2. “Global Urban Design section of @NYMag this week is blowing my mind,” tweeted @chasejjoan about Wendy Goodman’s annual special issue, this year devoted to the theme of Bigness—“large ideas in large places.” In one of the features, about the Related Companies’ 26-acre Hudson Yards project (From 0 to 12 Million Square Feet,” October 15 ), Justin Davidson wondered, “Can a private developer manufacture a complete and authentic high-rise neighborhood in a desolate part of New York?” “It looks impressive and I’m all for development and cleaning up derelict areas like the far West Side in the thirties,” wrote one reader at nymag.com. “However, there seems to be a glut of office space already. I mean, the new WTC towers can’t fill up their space, and Bloomberg wants to allow developers to build modern office towers in the Grand Central area (further adding to the glut of space). Furthermore, so many companies are downsizing and technology has reduced the need for large numbers of employees. I just hope Hudson Yards doesn’t turn into a futuristic ghost town.” Others offered even more dire assessments.“I hate the two sloped roofs,” wrote one. “Hideous, gashes in the skyline.” And ­another: “Anyone with a vague idea of ­public assembly will be Tasered in this paranoid park environment, and anyone with half a brain will avoid it. Trump Boulevard South, anyone?”

3. “Wretched excess,” griped one reader about One57, the 90-story residential tower shooting up just south of Central Park and being bought, Matthew Shaer wrote in his portrait of the building, mostly by foreign billionaires, many of whom don’t even plan to live there (This Is What $90 Million Looks Like,” October 15). “Here lies the problem with the NY real-estate market,” wrote another reader at nymag.com. “As the number of these super-high-end residences for nonresidents increase and more 24/7 city residents are forced out, we stand to lose … People who invest in real estate here only pay real-estate taxes. They don’t contribute to the everyday economy—which is much more important to the economic health of the city.” Wrote another: “It does make me a bit sad though that these beautiful apartments will often be empty. I’d be more than happy to ‘house-sit’ for one of these people … as a full-time job.

Corrections: Yahoo’s plans for the $4 billion from the sale of Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba, described in “The Geek in the Gown,” are not finalized, according to the company; CEO Mayer expects to return most of it to shareholders, not reinvest it in acquisitions. In 20 Rooms and a ­Couple of Friendly Ghosts” (October 15), the name of the house should have been spelled Nid de Papillon.

Send correspondence to: nymletters@nymag.com


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