During this semester Prof. Adrianne Wheeler arranged for us to go 92Y to attend a talk given by one of Google’s top executive, Merissa Mayer. She was the twentieth employee to join the organization. Since then the number of employees has mushroomed to more than twenty thousand.
To my delight, she spent considerable time discussing her past, academic career, and her path to success. One thing I got out of it was that she was not just extraordinarily genius to achieve the kind of success that she achieved. She was just an ordinary person. When asked to answer in one word what was the main reason behind her success, she replied, “Hard Work.” During the early days of Google, according to Merissa, it was normal for employees to work through the night several times a week. Merissa herself slept on her office desk many times.
What differentiate Merissa from others, according to her, were two things: 1) She always hung out with smart people. 2) She always tried to do something new, that she was uncomfortable doing initially. Both were also the reasons she decided to join Google; she had fourteen job offers after her graduation.
When one encounters such a influential, successful person one thinks if they ever made any mistake. Such thought crossed my mind too. Merissa discussed how she was not in favor of advertisements in people’s Gmail accounts. The concept later became the foundation of Google AdSense, and source of billion dollar revenue. Among many things, it shows that even the most successful people on earth have made very vital mistakes. What matters is that how you move on from there.
In short it was my best experience of the semester.