Mayer's hiring, presence and subsequent actions turn Yahoo! into more than a company. It becomes a mass appeal, pop culture story.

Magazines do features. Late night television pays attention. Women around the world look to a higher-profile role model.

Yahoo! broke ground. This would not have happened had it gone the typical route, hiring a fifty-something "veteran" CEO such as Meg Whitman.

It might sound like psychobabble, but there's something to be said about the place you work becoming something bigger than the sum of its parts. In other words, you work at Yahoo! and, all of a sudden, that matters again.

This dynamic drives loyalty, creativity and hard work, which drives results. It's not all that different from the culture -- as perverse as it certainly was in some respects -- Steve Jobs created at Apple ( AAPL).

But it's more than what is probably a premature urge to call Mayer "the female Steve Jobs."

Lately, tech just seems to be missing something. Mayer comes in and helps energize the space.

I've written about the hopeless, ranging from Microsoft ( MSFT) to Hewlett-Packard ( AAPL) . Companies who will rest on laurels and destine themselves to mediocrity.

Then, there's Apple. At the top of its game, but simultaneously dogged by uncertainty over its ability to innovate at the same level it did under Steve Jobs.

We have loads of companies using everything from the presidential election to the fiscal cliff as excuses not to spend. They're hoarding cash. But that's not the case at Yahoo!

Mayer spends at varying levels. Multi-million dollar packages for new executives at the top end to iPhones and free lunch for the staff.

Through all of this, Mayer flashes signs that she's got it all figured out at Yahoo! She knows what she needs to do. She commits most of her 2012 tenure to laying the groundwork. In 2013, she flips the switch on a simpler, more straightforward, easier-to-navigate and refreshingly social, competently mobile Yahoo!

At the time of publication, the author was long YHOO.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Rocco Pendola is a private investor with nearly 20 years experience in various forms of media, ranging from radio to print. His work has appeared in academic journals as well as dozens of online and offline publications. He uses his broad experience to help inform his coverage of the stock market, primarily in the technology, Internet and new media spaces. He has taken a long-term approach to investing, focusing on dividend-paying stocks, since he opened his first account as a teenager. Pendola, 37, is based in Santa Monica, Calif., where he lives with his wife and child.

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