Since becoming CEO of Yahoo earlier this year, former Googler Marissa Mayer has noticeably changed the product pace and the community culture of Yahoo. BusinessInsider‘s long read, unauthorized biography is a detailed account of the who, what, where, and why of all things Marissa Mayer and the recent changes at Yahoo – but if you took one look and thought “TLDR,” here are the 10 big takeaways from the profile.
1. Marissa Mayer majored in symbolic systems at Stanford University after being unsatisfied with pre-med. Symbolic systems, according to Stanford, “focuses on computers and minds, artificial and natural systems that use symbols to communicate, and to represent information.” LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger also majored in symbolic systems.
2. When considering to accept the offer to work with Google after completing her master’s, Mayer figured Google had a “two percent chance of succeeding” and “was worried about Google’s weird name.” She obviously accepted despite these things.
3. On her first day at Google, she went home at 3 a.m. As a programmer during the first two years there, she logged 100-hour work weeks.
4. Even though Androids are the smartphone du jour at Google, Mayer used an iPhone because she wanted to relate to what most mobile Web users relied on.
5. A designer quit because of Mayer’s intense scrutiny toward details. He wrote of his decision to quit: “… a team at Google couldn’t decide between two blues, so they’re testing 41 shades between each blue to see which one performs better. I had a recent debate over whether a border should be 3, 4 or 5 pixels wide, and was asked to prove my case. I can’t operate in an environment like that. I’ve grown tired of debating such minuscule design decisions. There are more exciting design problems in this world to tackle.”
6. Other candidates who were considered for the Yahoo CEO position? Nikesh Arora, chief business officer at Google; Eddy Cue, senior VP of Internet Software and Services at Apple; and Jason Kilar, then-CEO of Hulu.
7. The final interview location for the new Yahoo CEO was kept secret so that no one could leak it to AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher.
8. The day before launching the new Yahoo email for mobile, Mayer decided to change the UI’s theme colors from blue and gray to purple and yellow. There were repercussions – i.e., the lead Yahoo Mail designer left for Google, the product manager for Disney, and the lead engineer quit to found his own start-up.
9. After rumors about Yahoo buying Tumblr started to swirl, Facebook tried to get in on the bidding.
10. Numbers don’t lie: Mayer has revitalized Yahoo. Yahoo Mail traffic is up 120 percent; Yahoo weather traffic is up 150 percent; Yahoo News traffic is up 55 percent.
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