Two Marissa Mayer posts in a row (!!)
From one of — if not the best — tech piece I have ever read, I was astounded to find it on Business Insider. I mean. Let’s be real, they normally publish border-line gossip.
A few excerpts — first, a tid-bit from her time at Google:
In the end, it proved to be an advantage for Mayer that empathy doesn’t come naturally to her. It forced her to be intentional about figuring out what users want and how they behave.
She came up with two clever methods of relating.
Mayer at the height of her power at Google.
The first is that she would recreate the technological circumstances of her users in her own life. Mayer went without broadband for years in her home, refusing to install it until it was also installed in the majority of American homes. She carried an iPhone at Google, which makes Android phones, because so did most mobile Web users.
Mayer’s second method was to lean on data. She would track, survey, and measure every user interaction with Google products, and then use that data to design and re-design.
Then, on her meeting with the execs and employees at Y! when she took the chair:
Many of these people were meeting Mayer for the first time, and they expected to sit across from the woman they’d read about in so many fluffy profiles and had seen on TV or on stage at conferences — someone who was charismatic and warm; personal.
That was not what they got.
[...]One by one, they walked in and sat down at a table across from Mayer. Then, she launched into questions. She asked: “Where did you get your education?” “Where are you from?” “What do you do here?” And so on.
As Yahoo executives answered, Mayer took notes on their answers with pen on paper, hardly looking up.
“There was no time for short conversation or human emotions. It was very boom, boom, boom.
“Most people walked away from that meeting saying, ‘Holy shit.’”
For the people who were making Yahoo’s products at the time, the meetings were even more intense.
A designer or a top product manager would sit down and Mayer would assault them with a series of questions.
“How was that researched?”
“What was the research methodology?”
“How did you back that up?”
On gender issues:
Young, powerful, rich, and brilliant, Mayer is a role model for millions of women. And yet, unlike Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, Mayer resists calling herself a feminist.
Mayer says that she is not a “feminist.” She says she is “blind to gender.”
I hope one day, to be half the woman she is.
Read the entire thing here. It’s incredible (warning: really, really, really long.)