Marissa Mayer's Ingredients For Success | Disrupt SF 2013 | Summary and Q&A

September 11, 2013
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Marissa Mayer's Ingredients For Success | Disrupt SF 2013

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In this video, Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo, discusses various topics including the Yahoo logo, her role as CEO, the company's growth, and its approach to user privacy. She also talks about her admiration for Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg and shares her own superpower, empathy.

Questions & Answers

Q: Can you autograph this Vogue magazine for me?

Sure, let me sign the part where I'm pictured laying upside down.

Q: What's the backstory behind the iconic upside-down photo in Vogue?

Initially, the photographer had me sitting upright, but then he wanted something less conventional for an article about unconventional leadership. So I agreed to be photographed upside down, and it turned out to be a great choice.

Q: Is the Yahoo logo going to change again soon?

While we're happy with the current logo, we believe in making small iterations over time to keep it fresh and relevant. We went 18 years without changing the logo, so now we'll focus on making those small updates.

Q: Is the increase in Yahoo's stock price and stockholder value something you think you deserve?

While I'm proud of the growth we've achieved, I owe credit to my predecessors for some smart investments that contributed to that growth. We still have a lot of work ahead to get the company going in the right direction and reach our growth goals.

Q: What are the four things that are crucial to Yahoo's growth?

The four things we focus on are hiring the right people, building the right products, driving traffic through these products, and ultimately generating revenue. It's a chain reaction that leads to growth.

Q: How many resumes does Yahoo receive per week?

Currently, we receive around 12,000 resumes per week, which is up significantly from before. This shows that there's excitement and interest in working at Yahoo.

Q: How many former Yahoo employees have been rehired?

About 10% of our hires over the past year have been former Yahoo employees. We refer to them as "boomerangs," and it's been a pleasure to have them back on the team.

Q: What new products and features is Yahoo focusing on?

We've released and revamped several products, such as Yahoo Screen, which features the Saturday Night Live archive and clips from Comedy Central shows. We're also seeing growth in mobile usage and are investing in strengthening our core products like mail, search, and the homepage.

Q: Are you concerned about user privacy given the current revelations about government surveillance?

Yahoo has been skeptical of government requests for user data since 2007. We've filed lawsuits and pushed for more transparency. We scrutinize each request and push back when necessary to protect our users' privacy.

Q: Who do you think is smarter, Larry Page or Mark Zuckerberg?

It's not a fair question, as I know them both in different capacities. Larry is incredibly talented and curious, always challenging the status quo. Mark, on the other hand, has a deep understanding of people and their psychology. Both are brilliant in their own ways.

Q: What is your biggest weakness as a CEO?

I believe I could make fewer decisions and focus on making the most critical decisions perfectly. It's important to identify those big decisions that can significantly impact a company's growth and ensure they are made correctly.


Marissa Mayer discusses various aspects of her tenure as CEO of Yahoo, including the company's logo redesign and its focus on product improvements. She emphasizes the importance of hiring the right people, building great products, driving traffic, and generating revenue for sustainable growth. Additionally, she highlights Yahoo's commitment to user privacy and transparency, mentioning lawsuits filed against the government to protect user data. Mayer also expresses her admiration for Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg, acknowledging their respective strengths. Finally, she shares her superpower as empathy and the need for CEOs to make critical decisions perfectly.

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