XX in Tech

Marissa Mayer on Misconceptions That Hold Back Women in Tech and Why She Doesn’t ‘Believe in Burnout’

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For a lifelong perfectionist overachiever, 36-year-old Marissa Mayer (known in some circles as Google employee no. 20), is rather adept at projecting an aura of  relatability. Pro-tip: it never hurts to pepper your tales of 130-hour work weeks with verbatim quotes from High Fidelity. Of course, as the longtime friendly public face–sweeter than the acerbic Mr. Schmidt, less aspy than Larry–of a $212 billion company like GOOG, she’s had some practice.

That easy demeanor was on full display at the 92nd Street Y Tuesday night, when Ms. Mayer stopped by for an hour-and-a-half Q&A session with Bloomberg Businessweek editor Josh Tyrangiel, who pointed out that her latest job title, “VP, Local, Maps & Location Services,” made it sound like she worked at AAA.

To give the Upper East Side crowd some idea of Ms. Mayer’s celebustatus in Silicon Valley, Mr. Tyrangiel pointed out that a YouTube loop of her unusual laugh, which sounds kinda like a guffaw being sucked through a vacuum, has been viewed a quarter of a million times. “They’ve also made it into a ringtone!” Ms. Mayer noted gleefully. But Mr. Tyrangiel needn’t have worried. In line for tickets, one heavily-perfumed older woman ticked off a list of influential projects Ms. Mayer has helped define since she started there in 1999: Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail. Read More