I had a front row seat for a Marissa Mayer speech once. It was a game-changer, because she speaks in a succinct, direct, and intelligent way. You take notes. When she is done, you feel as though she has relayed a gigabyte of information. The Yahoo CEO also has a lot to say about technology, business, and making wise decisions. Here are a few choice quotes.
1. "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."
2. "We believe that if we focus on the users, the money will come. In a truly virtual business, if you're successful, you'll be working at something that's so necessary people will pay for it in subscription form. Or you'll have so many users that advertisers will pay to sponsor the site."
3. "I realized in all the cases where I was happy with the decision I made, there were two common threads: Surround myself with the smartest people who challenge you to think about things in new ways, and do something you are not ready to do so you can learn the most."
4. "Our theory is, if you need the user to tell you what you're selling, then you don't know what you're selling, and it's probably not going to be a good experience."
5. "Work for someone who believes in you, because when they believe in you they'll invest in you."
6. "I think threats are always opportunities...and I think the opportunity for us is to focus on the users and innovate. Then the opposite of that is really the biggest threat, which is that we would somehow become complacent."
7. "In technology, it's about the people. Getting the best people, retaining them, nurturing a creative environment, and helping to find a way to innovate."
8. "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."
9. "Product management really is the fusion between technology, what engineers do--and the business side."
10. "For each of the executive hires I've made--and every hire I've made--I've gotten the exact person I wanted. It's been surprisingly easy to assemble what I think is the best and brightest team."
11. ""You can't have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you."
12. "If you can push through that feeling of being scared, that feeling of taking a risk, really amazing things can happen."
13. "Creativity loves constraint. Simplicity is king on the small screen."
14. "Will the social networking phenomenon lessen? I don't think so."
15. "I definitely think what drives technology companies is the people, because in a technology company, it's always about what are you going to do next?"
16. "The market favors open choice for search, and companies should compete for users based on their quality of search services."
17. "With data collection, 'the sooner the better' is always the best answer."
18. "It's important to be transparent so everyone can understand what you're thinking and why you're motivated, because that ultimately helps give the organization stability. There needs to be a platform for people to decide, do we share your philosophies and backgrounds and make the same decisions you do, or do we not? If there is one thing that makes an organization stable, it's when there is a consistency of thought and decision making."
19. "Smart monetization of [mobile] usage is inevitable. We intend to participate fully in the innovation and experimentation required to make mobile a material part of our business."
20. "If you look at the arc and growth of content over time.... In 1995, there were 3 million Web pages on the Web and they could be categorized into categories. Which was Yahoo. At some point, the content just begins to explode, which means the directory model has to fall by the wayside because you can't categorize everything, all the way, all the time, and that is what really gave rise to search.... When content gets large, you need to search. But now the Web is so vast you need different organizing tools in addition to search in order to see different aspects of it. I think that social is something really important there. What content have my friends written? Or people I know and respect, what have they written? What have they liked? What have they read themselves? Those pieces help to make sense of this vast sea of information that is the Web."