/// TechNation’s Gunn Says She and Yahoo CEO Discussed Their CS Degrees Before 2009 Show (Video and Audio)

May 9, 2012  |  All Things Digital


Last week, I posted an audio recording of Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson, from a radio interview he did in early 2009, in which he did not deny he had a computer science degree when the host of the show stated it as a fact as a key part of her question. Thompson did not have such an academic credential. The host of the TechNation, Moira Gunn, sat down with me yesterday to further explain in the video interview below why she asked the question that particular way to Thompson. In the video and in emails to me, Gunn firmly asserts that she did so, because Thompson and she had a conversation about their CS degrees leading up to the interview and also kibitzed about the importance of such an education in the pre-roll of the interview. (That audio is also embedded below, along with the part of the interview itself in which he does not correct Gunn’s assertion that he has a CS degree.) At the time of the interview, Thompson was president of eBay’s PayPal payments unit and was there to talk about its growth. As I previously wrote: At the end of the largely charming interview, Moira Gunn asked him a direct question about his college degrees, specifically noting they were in accounting and computer science. “Your bachelor’s degree is in accounting and computer science. Now, from both of those, I mean that’s, that’s pretty obvious that’s PayPal,” said Gunn. “What are the most important things you learned?” “Yeah,” begins Thompson, failing to correct her at all on the fact that he does not actually have a computer science degree — only one in accounting. He then went even further, touting his early tech training at Stonehill College, near Boston, which did not offer a computer science degree and had only one basic computer course at the time he went there, from 1975 to 1979. “And that’s really the background that I have, and it started back in my college days, and I think that’s really the wonderful part of being an engineer is you think that way,” said Thompson. In the most generous interpretation, it’s not quite clear whether Thompson was saying “Yeah” to her statement of his academic credentials, or if he was not actually listening. But it’s a careless oversight on his part not to have corrected her about the degrees, which could also be said about a computer science degree being present on his bio for more than a half-dozen years at eBay and later at Yahoo without some notice by him. Because while Thompson has had a long career as a tech exec, as well as a stint as a CIO, academically speaking, a computer science degree did not happen in his college days nor did he graduate as an engineer. While it is entirely possible that Thompson did not correctly grok what Gunn was saying, it seems pretty clear that he implied his college background was in tech and he was an engineer. It is true that Thompson did take some computer science classes at Stonehill

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TechNation’s Gunn Says She and Yahoo CEO Discussed Their CS Degrees Before 2009 Show (Video and Audio)



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