It’s no secret that I idolize Marissa Mayer. She’s arguably the web’s most powerful product manager, and she’s personally responsible for seeing some of the most influential innovations of the past decade into fruition. It’s easy to admire her on professional merits alone. Her accomplishments at Google are certainly enough to garner role model status in and of themselves.
But that’s not why I idolize her. I adolize her for her cupcake recipe database, for her love of art and for her killer shoe collection. I idolize her because she supposedly works 8am to 3am, and she’s totally unapologetic about that claim. I idolize her because she just announced her wedding on Twitter, and she’s totally unapologetic about that claim too.
It’s no wonder she inspired so much Valleywag vitriol. It’s easy to hate on Mayer – to call her a strident, striving social climber who only got where she is because she’s attractive or cunning, or a combination of the two. Particularly when you’re one of the many men in this boys’ club of a business who aren’t used to spending so much time with women. Or at least not with women who aren’t rocking the same ironic Star Trek tees you are.
Don’t get me wrong. I get it. After all, the woman is a contradiction in terms – ironic for the chick who championed simple search at google, but it’s true. She’s a smart, savvy engineer with the wardrobe of a celebrity and the tastes of a socialite. Not exactly the dev next door. Some people love her for that. Some people hate her for it. Either way, most people in the web world have an opinion on Ms. Mayer.
As for me, all of the qualities that make Mayer such a complicated contradiction are the same qualities that make her an inspiration for me. And the fact that this intelligent, successful woman landed an intelligent successful man and got to wear Naeem Khan down the aisle almost makes her like my very own social media Cinderella – proving once and for all that fairy tales can come true. Or at least that good PR people can make it sound that way.