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Cleaning Up Bozo Explosion at Yahoo!

Tickers in this article: AAPL GOOG YHOO
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Based on the reaction, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer is a complete idiot.

Kara Swisher of All Things D broke the news with a leaked memo: Yahoo! will stop allowing employees to work from home. Despite widespread (and unfounded) reporting that this is a hard-and-fast, black-and-white policy, a source tells me a procedure is likely in place for exceptions.

In the memo from Swisher's story, notice this line: If this policy impacts you, your management has already been in touch with next steps . From what I understand, the "next steps" are not a simple either/or, work in an office or quit.

I know of at least one employee who has petitioned direct management. This employee expects to hear back from Mayer in 30-60 days to see if the CEO approves a request to continue to work at home. This employee is a productive Yahoo! veteran. In some cases, Mayer might have no other choice but to grant exceptions.

Swisher followed up her scoop by surveying the tech landscape inside and outside of Yahoo!. This spawned two primary conclusions:

Marissa Mayer sucks. Or she's merely looking to create a culture of collaboration that (A) lacks at Yahoo! and (B) will spur the type of innovation we see from Google .

Of course, general sentiment slants in the "Mayer sucks" direction.

Even the famous urbanist, author of The Creative Class and University of Toronto professor Richard Florida, thinks Mayer made a bad move:

As much as I love Florida and respect his work, he misses the point as well. Or at least he speculates past what might be the lead.

Florida claims the "good Yahoo! employees will leave, mediocre will stay." That's quite an assumption. If a CEO instituted this policy at a company other than Yahoo! -- one with relatively solid morale and startup culture intact -- he might have a point. Why come down on people operating on all cylinders and getting the job done?

If you're a Steve Jobs fan, you realize what's happening here. Mayer is cleaning up something Jobs always feared at Apple : A bozo explosion .

Over the years at Yahoo!, incompetent people hired more incompetent people who went on to hire even more incompetent people. These B-players maintained the status quo, while implementing all of the perks Silicon Valley and other tech staffers have come to expect and enjoy. At Yahoo!, working at home became expected, not a convenient consequence of competence.

Mayer is simply making another move -- in a long series of moves -- to clean up the mess. Firing people is a pain in the ass. And layoffs look bad.

Do you really think Mayer did not, in some way, communicate with the A-players (or at least their direct managers) ahead of making this move? She's using this "edict" to further streamline a bloated, self-entitled and largely ineffective segment of the workforce. That much should be obvious. And, based on what I mentioned earlier in this article, there very well could be exceptions. It will be interesting to see how Mayer handles these things case-by-case.