Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Someone to Look Up To

I can't say I have a lot of heroes or know a lot of people that I aspire to be like. (I love my parents, but I don't exactly want to follow in their footsteps professionally.)

But then I read an article about Marissa Mayer in the NYTimes.com. While, I find the idea of being "the gatekeeper of Google's homepage" probably one of the most flattering compliments ever, it's actually the fact that she seems ridiculously meticulous about displaying a consistent face of Google that makes me swoon.

She's the type of woman to say, "I don’t like the words ‘invite’ and ‘view,’ ” she says. “Those two words are recreational. It feels too informal and lighthearted." She knows that Google uses Google not we, that italics are hard to read on screen and that to make a design simpler--take away a typeface, a color or an image (NYtimes). It's not that she knows these fundamentals of design, it's that she adheres to them with a vehemence. Her and her team are creating a style manual for Google that will no doubt influence the future design of the Web. (I'm hoping this leads to less used-car-salesman type looking sites.) It makes me think web design, and doing business on the web, is about to get a swift kick in the ass.

Mayer says, "Once I let up, then something gets by." I appreciate someone who understands the horror and consequences of just letting some tiny thing get by.

The other half of the article goes on to talk about Mayer in a personal light: as a woman who like fru fru things, as personality or mild celebrity etc, things I don't really care about. What impresses me most about this woman, what makes me look up most to this woman, is that she does her job damn well and that the Google higer-ups (although, there aren't many higher up than Mayer) know how important she is to the Google machine.

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