There are reports that Marissa Mayer is leaving Google. Barry Schwartz commented briefly about it today on SearchEngineLand and he points to a report coming from Valleywag yesterday. I’ve heard Mayer speak at Search Engine Strategies (SES) San Jose in August of 2007 where I took a few photographs of her conversation with Danny Sullivan, below. (Click the image for more photos)
She seemed personable and intelligent there as she discussed Google search and displayed the iPhone interface on her phone. I’ve briefly mentioned her comments in a post on “previous Query Refinement” but don’t recall hearing much from her elsewhere.
To get a better idea of what google is losing if she does indeed depart, I took a look at a video of her presentations at Google I/O Developer conference 2008. Here’s that hour long presentation if you have time for it:
It’s often odd to see executives leave successful companies, knowing that they have made major, substantial contributions to the shape of that success. The video above is a great way to become familiar with what Google is losing.
Gawker apparently wants to poke with the sharpest stick and they focus on her personal fortune as the 19th employee of the startup, fresh out of Stanford and her laugh! The laugh does surface a time or two in her I/O conference presentation above, but seems endearing and humanizing there.
Google is apparently about to lose a big talent. I’ve often wondered why people leave startups after they go public – those who help to build the vision over time. Sergei and Larry are clearly not serial entrepreneurs. They are staying. Is Mayer on the way out?
UPDATE: Turns out she isn’t leaving. Still there as of April 1st. Maybe it was an early April fools joke played on Google by Valleywag?