Like Yahoo!, It Doesn't Matter What Facebook Reports

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- One of my favorite tech media personalities in the world is Kara Swisher from All Things D.

There's something about her snarky attitude that drives the reader and writer in me wild.

Swisher gets scoops on many stocks, but lately she's nailing Yahoo! ( YHOO). She won't admit it, but I think Swisher moonlights as one of Marissa Mayer's executive assistants. For whatever reason, the otherwise sharp CEO has yet to put two and two together.

At the same time as I appreciate her coverage of Yahoo!, my snark radar goes insane every time she writes about the company.

On Monday, I took to Twitter, exchanging thoughts about Yahoo! as I do from time to time with Swisher.

Swisher took exception, not with its existence, but with the media's lack of focus on a one-time gain (from the sale of an Alibaba stake) that pushed EPS to a seemingly impressive beat.

In our discussion, Swisher argued that YHOO soared because of the "EPS fake," not Mayer's excellent conference call performance. Although she credited Mayer with doing a good job, Swisher stopped short of connecting the stock's after-hours' run -- which, as of this writing, has held up more than nicely -- with the first-time CEO's confident genius.

That's where I part ways with most people who, at day's end, appear to have no time for young and relatively aggressive CEOs like Mayer and Facebook's ( FB) Mark Zuckerberg.

I say "have no time" because of the notion that Mayer's "hall pass," as Swisher called it, covers just two quarters. If Swisher is being generous, that's roughly five to six more months. If she's counting the quarter reported Monday, Mayer already lives on borrowed time.

If that's true, it's unfortunate.

I have a feeling, however, that the tide is slowly turning thanks to young blood such as Mayer and Zuckerberg.

YHOO and, to a lesser extent, FB provide proof.

These CEOs do not live and die by the numbers. Say what you will about them, but it's difficult to find more straightforward CEOs than Mayer and Zuckerberg. Listen to Yahoo!'s call from yesterday. Catch some of Zuckerberg's recent media appearances.

They don't hide from quantitative weakness or run from past mistakes, whether their own or somebody else's.

Zuckerberg acknowledged not getting ahead of the curve on mobile. Mayer admitted that there's no need for wholesale changes with the Yahoo! brand; the company just needs "improved execution."

These wunderkinds don't run on the numbers, they run on their visions. They run on their grasp of the broad social/new media, consumer and advertising spaces, but also their understanding of nuance and the particulars of a user's daily routine.

They understand that if they execute and articulate their visions, numbers will follow. This new generation of leaders realizes they'll make mistakes. They'll hit roadblocks. And they'll be treated unfairly. But, even as they smile for the camera and accept it as part of the job, they recognize all of the scrutiny for what it is - noise.

That's tough for the media and investors to swallow. But, like I said, more people are coming around to long-term, mission-based thinking not old school put-up or shut-up machismo.

That's why Mayer gets a pass. Because she didn't just throw out words and phrases like "personalization" and "daily habit." She displayed a command of their relevance to Yahoo!'s business in the short and long term.

You don't wonder, as you have for the last five years on Yahoo! conference calls, if the CEO has any idea how to weave together a coherent strategy involving search, sports, finance and the company's other massive brands.

The same goes for Zuckerberg with relation to mobile. The kid, if I may, created Facebook. It's a hobby that morphed into a multi-billion dollar, worldwide powerhouse that has impacted upon almost every life, in some way, in North America and in other places around the world.

On Facebook's Tuesday afternoon earnings report, don't look to see that it's ahead of one of the biggest revolutions in the history of society -- the rapid shift from desktop to mobile. It's absurd to expect results to pace wildly ahead of the evolution of such an extraordinary phenomenon.

Put on your forward-looking thinking caps. Like Mayer, listen to what Zuckerberg says. If he performs on the call as he has in the media in recent months, investors, barring a miss of epic proportions, will give Zuckerberg the same hall pass they have afforded Mayer.

Both deserve one, and for longer than two quarters.

At the time of publication the author had positions in FB and YHOO.

This article was written 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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