Marissa Mayer is fascinating.
In case you’re not familiar with the name: Mayer is a 38-year-old who, after 13 years of working as an engineer for Google, was named CEO of Yahoo in July last year. She was pregnant when appointed to the role, and had her baby in September, returning to work after only a fortnight of maternity leave thanks to the nursery built-in to her office.
In March this year, Mayer announced that Yahoo’s employees were no longer allowed to work from home – something that attracted widespread criticism from many, including Virgin CEO Richard Branson. In April, she also changed the maternity leave policy, providing more money and more time to new parents.
Forbes has named her number 32 in their list of the world’s 100 most powerful women. That’s pretty impressive.
And she’s made plenty of headlines along the way:
Now she’s been interviewed by Vogue – an interview we could not click on quickly enough. It gives a fascinating insight into Mayer and we found it equal parts odd and inspirational.
Here are the seven things we learned about Marissa Mayer from that interview that we previously had no idea about:
1. She’s obsessed with Oscar de la Renta cardigans.
“The day we had that conversation in her white, glossy, minimally appointed office in Sunnyvale, California, she was wearing a red Michael Kors dress with a gold belt and a brown Oscar de la Renta cardigan. This cashmere bolero is her work uniform—she has the same one in ivory, navy, black, hot pink, teal, red, and royal blue, and adds new colors every season.”
2. She is super-shy and has to set rules to make sure she doesn’t leave parties after only being there for two minutes.
“I will literally look at my watch and say, ‘You can’t leave until time x,’ ” she says. “ ‘And if you’re still having a terrible time at time x, you can leave.’ ” She has learned that if she makes herself stay for a fixed period, she often gets over her social awkwardness and ends up having fun.
And she uses only the CEO-exit:
“Disappearing upstairs without good-byes while the party carries on.”
3. She has a miniaturised (but still two-storey) model of a local diner in her backyard – a place called Peninsula Creamery where the milkshakes are apparently delicious.
She and her husband, Zachary Bogue, a venture capitalist who invests in start-ups focused on “big data,” bought the fifteen-foot, red-and-white playhouse at a benefit auction and had a forklift deposit it over their redwood fence the previous week.
4. As a child, she had an after-school activity EVERY DAY – everything from ballet to ice-skating to Brownies.
“It was a very well-rounded childhood, with lots of different opportunities,” she says. “My mom will say she set out to overstimulate me—surround me with way too many things and let me pick. As a result, I’ve always been a multitasker; I’ve always liked a lot of variety.”
5. She says that she is blind to gender, despite working in a male-dominated industry and majoring in a male-dominated course at Stanford (Symbolic Systems – don’t worry, we don’t understand it either).
As employee number 20 [at Google], she was often asked how it felt to be the only woman on engineering teams. She’d answer truthfully: She hadn’t noticed.
6. She also says that she is naive.
“I didn’t set out to be at the top of technology companies,” she insists. “I’m just geeky and shy and I like to code… It’s not like I had a grand plan where I weighed all the pros and cons of what I wanted to do—it just sort of happened.”
7. Despite the flashy CEO life, she drives an 18-year-old BMW and loves Candy Crush and Bejweled Blitz.
Maybe she’s just like us after all… Oh wait, no. The playhouse.
You can read the full interview here.
Are you addicted to Candy Crush too?