Marissa Mayer: From Google to Yahoo and Beyond
Marissa Mayer is one of the most influential women in the tech industry. She was the first female engineer and the 20th employee at Google, where she led the development of many popular products such as Google Search, Gmail, Google News and Google Images. She later became the CEO of Yahoo, where she faced many challenges and controversies. She is now the co-founder of Sunshine Contacts, a startup technology company. Here is a brief overview of her career and achievements.
Early life and education
Mayer was born in 1975 in Wausau, Wisconsin. She was interested in mathematics and science from an early age and excelled in chemistry, calculus, biology and physics. She also participated in many extracurricular activities, such as ballet, ice-skating, piano, swimming, debates and the Brownies.
She graduated from Wausau West High School in 1993 and was selected by the Governor of Wisconsin as one of the state’s two delegates to attend the National Youth Science Camp in West Virginia. She then enrolled at Stanford University, intending to become a pediatric neurosurgeon. However, she later switched her major to symbolic systems, a multidisciplinary field that combines philosophy, cognitive psychology, linguistics and computer science.
She completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in symbolic systems and computer science at Stanford, where she specialized in artificial intelligence. She also taught introductory computer programming classes as a teaching assistant.
After graduating from Stanford in 1999, Mayer received job offers from several prestigious companies, such as McKinsey & Company, Carnegie Mellon University and IBM. However, she decided to join Google, a newly founded search engine company that had only 19 employees at the time.
She became Google’s first female engineer and worked on various aspects of the user interface design and functionality of Google Search. She also helped launch many innovative products and features, such as Google Maps, Google Earth, Street View, iGoogle, Gmail, Google News and Google Images. She was also responsible for overseeing the look and feel of Google’s homepage and logo.
She quickly rose through the ranks at Google and became one of the most prominent executives and spokespersons for the company. She was involved in hiring and mentoring many talented engineers and managers at Google. She also served as a member of the operating committee that made strategic decisions for the company.
In 2010, she was appointed as the vice president of local services, overseeing products such as Google Maps, Local Search, Zagat, Street View and Local Offers. In 2012, she was elected to the board of directors of Wal-Mart, one of the world’s largest retailers.
In July 2012, Mayer surprised many by leaving Google to become the CEO of Yahoo, a struggling internet giant that had been losing market share and revenue to its competitors. She was also pregnant with her first child at the time.
She became the sixth CEO of Yahoo in five years and faced many challenges and expectations to turn around the company’s fortunes. She implemented many changes at Yahoo, such as redesigning its homepage and logo, acquiring several startups such as Tumblr and Flickr, launching new products such as Yahoo Mail and Yahoo News Digest, improving employee morale and culture, expanding into mobile and video advertising, and increasing user engagement and traffic.
However, she also faced many criticisms and controversies during her tenure at Yahoo. Some of her decisions were unpopular with users or employees, such as banning telecommuting, firing several executives and managers, shutting down or selling off some legacy products and services, and failing to prevent or disclose massive data breaches that affected millions of users.
She also failed to revive Yahoo’s core business of online advertising or to compete effectively with rivals such as Google and Facebook. Yahoo’s revenue and profits continued to decline under her leadership. In 2016, Yahoo agreed to sell its core internet assets to Verizon Communications for $4.8 billion.
In June 2017, Mayer stepped down as CEO of Yahoo after the completion of the sale. She received a severance package worth about $260 million.
After leaving Yahoo, Mayer co-founded Sunshine Contacts with Enrique Muñoz Torres, a former Google engineer who worked with her on several products. Sunshine Contacts is a startup technology company that aims to create intelligent contact management tools for personal and professional use.
Mayer is also an angel investor who has backed several startups such as uBiome, Brit + Co., Lumi Labs and Neeva. She is also a board member of San Francisco Ballet and a supporter of various philanthropic causes related to education, women empowerment and environmental protection.
Marissa Mayer is one of the most successful and influential women in the tech industry. She has made significant contributions to Google’s growth and innovation as well as Yahoo’s transformation and survival. She is now pursuing new opportunities and challenges as an entrepreneur and investor. She is an inspiration and a role model for many aspiring women in STEM fields.