Marissa Mayer has been both scrutinized and praised over her past two years as the CEO of Yahoo. At just 39 years old she has the technical expertise to understand the computer science behind the Yahoo matrix, (after all, she was the first female engineer and famously 20th employee at Google) but she’s also notorious for good fashion and celebrity credibility.
Mayer has been responsible for bringing on social startup Tumblr and will be at the helm when one of China’s biggest e-commerce providers, Alibaba, goes public this year (Yahoo’s share of that IPO has a value estimate around $26 billion dollars). Yet she still helms a company whose ad revenue is on the decline.
For better or worse, being CEO of a major corporation such as Yahoo has provided Mayer with tons of insight and lessons that most people will never experience. July 17 marks her second anniversary as CEO of Yahoo. Here are five quotes from the executive that will have you thinking about your big vision of leadership and business.
I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that's how you grow. When there's that moment of 'Wow, I'm not really sure I can do this,' and you push through those moments, that's when you have a breakthrough.
It’s a common theme among the most successful entrepreneurs that they think big and push themselves beyond their comfort levels. Mayer says the same. How can you achieve a breakthrough? What barriers can you bust through in your business?
I have a theory that burnout is about resentment. And you beat it by knowing what it is you're giving up that makes you resentful.
We all face burnout, but Mayer has an interesting point. Can you beat burnout by figuring out what it is that you’re neglecting? Balance can help you build a platform of personal stability. Try to achieve it by identifying what you’re missing and work to reincorporate some element of that theme back into your experience.
If you can find something that you're really passionate about, whether you're a man or a woman comes a lot less into play. Passion is a gender-neutralizing force.
Passion isn’t exclusive to any sex. Go for what you’re passionate about no matter what it is and who you are. As Mayer says, it’s the great equalizer.
You can be good at technology and like fashion and art. You can be good at technology and be a jock. You can be good at technology and be a mom. You can do it your way, on your terms.
There’s nothing wrong with having a robust set of interests and passions. Never let one thing about you define who you are. We’re all multifaceted individuals and often where talents and passions collide is where the magic happens. Mayer has a passion for technology and a knack for aesthetics. Those can be two seemingly unrelated things but have played well for her career and for Yahoo overall.
It's really wonderful to work in an environment with a lot of smart people.
There’s a fear-based thinking style that some entrepreneurs harbor that makes them want to surround themselves with people who aren’t as good as them. That’s a huge mistake. Surround yourself with people who are better than you and set your ego aside. A room of brilliant people will bring about amazing change. Mayer knows it and says it’s wonderful. She’s right.