The revelation that Marissa Mayer, a long-time Google exec, is heading to Yahoo as its new chief executive officer is a shocker to many in the tech community. That a deep Google insider would leave the search giant — and for no less than a direct competitor — is major news, and has set so many tongues wagging, it pretty much cements her status as a major female force in the Silicon Valley.
If you want to establish your own tech cred, you could sport some insider-y facts about La Mayer, and here's just the thing to help. So sit back and check out this list of things to know about the once and future search queen:
- As its 20th employee, Marissa is one of the original Googlers and the company's first female engineer.
- She was a driving force behind the clean aesthetic of Google's most popular services — the simple white search page, Gmail, Google News and Google Images.
- Marissa originally wanted to become a pediatric neurosurgeon.
- She wasn't a computer geek until college, when she bought her first computer. She caught the bug at Stanford, where her unusual blend of coursework — called symbolic systems — combined psychology, linguistics, philosophy and computer science. (Kind of a perfect mix for her future career at Google. It will be interesting to see how much of that she brings to Yahoo.)
- Ms. Mayer got over a dozen job offers after college — 14, to be exact. To suss them out efficiently, Marissa ranked them according to salary, location, odds of success, lifestyle, career trajectory and happiness, and then asked an economist to help analyze the matrix. They spent hours weighing the data before choosing an offer.
- By her figures, just 15–17 percent of Silicon Valley programmers are female. Why? She believes that the definition of what it is to be a "geek" has been misrepresented: "The stereotype of that very complete and rigid picture of what being a computer scientist means really hurts people's understanding and ability to identify with the role and say, 'Yes, this is something I can be in and want to be in.'"
- Her advice on being a woman in a male-dominated tech industry: "Work with the smartest people you can find, do something you're not ready to do, find an environment in which you're very comfortable so you can find your voice, and work for someone who believes in you — because when they believe in you, they'll invest in you." (Incidentally, this is good advice for anyone in the tech field.
UPDATE: Guess there are actually eight things to know about Marissa — she's preggers! Congrats to her and her little geeklet-to-be! (Think she'll read it stories from "The Little Search Engine That Could"?)