Decoding Marissa Mayer

Marissa Mayer, 37, is the President and fifth CEO at Yahoo! She played a pivotal role at Google prior to this. Forbes has ranked her thirty-second in their list of hundred Most Powerful Women and fourteenth on Fortune's list of America's Most Powerful Businesswomen 2012. 

It is said that uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. After taking on the role of a CEO at Yahoo!, Marissa has received appreciation as well as criticism for her decisions at work. The charming CEO turns a year older this year and with that her plans for Yahoo!, acquisitions get more fierce, creating a stir in the field of technology and business.

by Grishma Samuel
1 year, 5 months ago
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People who are passionate about what they do can inspire and go on to be leaders. Marissa Mayer is passionate about her work and thus inspirational in many ways as a business leader. She is totally committed to her cause of making a difference to her workplace, her own life and many other lives that are associated with the brand she represents. She believes she plays an important role that can influence her professional life and in turn touch the lives of many others. This excitement clearly transcended in her professional decisions and work outputs at Google as well as at Yahoo!

She has played an instrumental role at Google by being a part of Google Search, Google Images, Google News, Google Maps, Google Books, Google Product Search, Google Toolbar, iGoogle and Gmail. She joined Google as employee #20 and the first female engineer. She served the company for thirteen years and during her tenure she transitioned from an engineer to a designer, to product manager to an executive. Yahoo! appointed her as the President and CEO in the year 2012. Yahoo! is said to have acquired ten companies after Marissa Mayer's new role. She is extremely passionate about her work and it shows in the way her career has shaped up. Passion clearly reflects in the way you work. You can either like your work or not like it but whatever you do, the energy and zeal you fuel your work with, the outcome will show accordingly. Inspirational leaders are always passionate about what they do, what they believe in. Passion is not gender-biased and Marissa Mayer has never let her gender be a hindrance in her work. She urges women to find something that inspires them and work towards it without being bothered by the preconceptions about gender-based occupations. 

An Insight, An Idea with Marissa Mayer A conversation with Yahoo! Chief Executive Officer Marissa ...
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Inspirational leaders are powerful communicators. They connect with their audience on an emotional level by choosing the right words and the right tone to influence and inspire. Marissa Mayer is a great storyteller. She strongly believes in the power of communicating through pictures than words. She is known for giving presentations with only pictures on her slides. Mayer believes that storytelling is an art and it establishes an amazing opportunity for your audience to create a mental picture of your description. It allows them to think freely and expands their horizons to visualize.  So much so that Marissa announced the acquisition on tumblr using a gif image and tweeting about it on twitter. 

Yahoo's new CEO Marissa Mayer spent 13 years at Google We've collected some ...
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"No one understood why she had the power that she had, except that she will literally work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."
"She used to make people line up outside of her office, sit on couches and sign up with office hours with her. Then everybody had to publicly sit outside her office and she would see people in five minute increments. She would make VPs at Google wait for her. It's like you've got to be kidding."
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In an interview with Forbes, Marissa Mayer said that young employees expect more from their workplace and careers than just fat paychecks. She started a concept called ' Office Hours' at Google for about ninety minutes a day beginning 4 PM. Office Hours allowed the employees to volunteer to meet with Marissa for a few minutes and give feedback or pitch new ideas to her on a one-on-one basis. It gave them the satisfaction that their opinion matters and that they've been 'heard'. While this is true, sources say that Marissa was more of a tyrant with a management style that wasn't too approachable.

She is 37 now, and she was in her late 20s less than a decade ago. Like all people, she matured and learned. It's not fair to cast her in the mold of when she was 28 or 29. She is a different person and leader now."

Mayer has, for example, stopped asking other executives to line up outside her office for five minute meetings during office hours.

"One of her flaws at Google is that she was too tough with her colleagues in the early years, and these people have memories like elephants."

"I think there was a time that she was more insecure, but she has really matured over the years."

This source says that doesn't mean Mayer isn't still tough."She is strong-willed and has strong opinions. She is willing to say what she believes to be true, which can make her unpopular." - A source close to her

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Mayer is known to have received more criticism than appreciation for her contribution to Google and now at Yahoo! In Marissa's opinion, a leader is not supposed to do what everyone likes, but what is required. It is necessary to identify the need of the hour and act accordingly. She may not be a popular leader, but sure has enough work credentials to her name. There has been a lot of speculation on how was Marissa Mayer viewed inside Google? Why did she leave Google? Why did Marissa Mayer decide to join Yahoo? and so on. There is a mix of love-hate reactions giving a feeling of ambivalence.

Madonna had The Sex Book. Apple had the Newton. Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Search ...
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Marissa Mayer is an unlike tech geek and that works for her as a business leader too. According to her, her best decisions are the ones that involve risk. These decisions may not have been the conventional ones, however Marissa herself prefers to step out of the norms and not give in to expectations just for the sake of abiding by them. One would expect a tech geek to be a bespectacled nerd and a serious person. Marissa however made it to Vogue Magazine despite the conventional belief that only women in the glamour industry could be looked up to for fashion advise. Marissa Mayer often writes her own rules and does not feel that being a woman in power makes her any less than her male counterparts. She strongly believes that gender bias at workplace is meaningless and women are capable of achieving as much as men can. Women should not use their gender as an excuse to underachieve. Vogue profiled her exclusively and revealed a side of her that dealt with other aspects of her life such as her family life, school life, hobbies, interests etc. 


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Marissa Mayer is a perfectionist and has a great inclination towards data-driven habits. She had checked forty-one different shades of blue to finally arrive at one for the Google Toolbar that would look pleasing to the eye. She changed the font in which Google provided results because she had come across a research that said that sans-serif fonts  were easier to read and better to look at from a users' point of view. She practices a meticulous leadership style and is a strict and tough leader.  

When Yahoo! announced Marissa's appointment as their new CEO on July 16, 2012, she announced her pregnancy on the same day. Post her delivery, she was on a maternity leave for only two weeks. Marissa couldn't wait to get back to work and she felt that motherhood and postpartum changes were not a lot to deal with, as others had told her to be. After Marissa got back to work, she changed the telecommuting policy at Yahoo! and thereafter there was a backlash of anger and criticism hurled at her for this decision. Everyone felt that Marissa could not relate to their work-personal life balance problems and instead of solving it her decision had worsened the scenario. Marissa banned Yahoo! employees from working from home after she made use of Yahoo's VPN for remote users and found out that not enough were logging in. After seeing the data, she was convinced and her decision was made. Marissa set up a nursery besides the Yahoo! office for new and young mothers who could not leave their children alone at home. She also increased the maternity and paternity leave

 We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.” - Forbes ( A leaked copy of a Yahoo memo from its head of Human Resources, Jackie Reses as published by AllThingsD on February 22)
Marissa Mayer, President & CEO, Yahoo!, discusses how she plans to remake an internet giant. Mayer ...
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1. Passion Fuels Success
2. Storytellers Make Good Leaders
3. Marissa's Contrasting Reputations
4. From Tech Geek To Fashion Diva
5. Marissa Mayer's data-driven obsession
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