A Lucky Keystroke Helped Marissa Mayer Land At Google

Mayer, now Yahoo's CEO, might have missed the chance to work at Google had she not made this mistake.

MILWAUKEE, WI - MAY 12:  Yahoo CEO  Marissa Mayer attends Yahoo! On The Road at Turner Hall on May 12, 2013 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images)
Her unauthorized biography is detailed here, by Business Insider's Nicholas Carlson.

In it, Carlson describes how a lucky keystroke helped Marissa Mayer land at Google, which was then a little-known startup.
When Mayer graduated from Stanford, she received more than 12 job offers. She wasn't interested in adding more opportunities to the pile. So when an email from a recruiter appeared in her inbox, she tried to delete it.

Luckily for Mayer, her finger missed the delete key and she ended up opening the pitch instead. The pitch promoted an opportunity at Google, a startup she had heard about through a Stanford professor.

Carlson describes the lucky incident:

Instead of hitting delete, Mayer hit the space bar and opened the email.

That email's subject line: "Work at Google?"

Mayer read the email and remembered a conversation she had with Eric Roberts who was still a mentor years after she took his computer science class for non-majors. The prior fall, Roberts listened to Mayer talk about the recommendation engine she'd built, and then told her she should meet with a pair of Ph.D. students who were working on similar stuff. Their names: Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

Mayer realized that Google was their startup. Trusting Roberts' recommendation, she replied to an email she had meant to delete, writing that she'd like an interview.


Related Stories From Business Insider:
How Leaders Approach Impossible Problems
Silicon Valley's Obsession With Youth Is Costing Talent and Innovation
You May Be Pitting Workers Against Each Other

Watch "Makers" video interview with Marissa Mayer.
Marissa Mayer: Google's Impact

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

119 Comments

Filter by:
Michelle Neff

What's her address I have a nice size lawsuit to stuff up her dress-- she is the one resonsible for people being able to publich deamaing laibeious and sladerious stuff about your busisness on Goohle Maps and you the Business powne have no way to get rid of it unless you pay a third party and out ragipous sum of money! We'll see how lucky that is!

August 28 2013 at 11:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jo

She graduated from Stanford. How many Google start-up job offers were sent out to the honors grads at state universities?

August 27 2013 at 11:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Layla

With her education, obvious intelligence, and already leaning toward a computer career, she probably would have been successful any way she went. She may have ended up in the same place, just taken a different route.

August 27 2013 at 11:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chibblitz

I"m very happy for Marissa Mayer, you go girl and many more good fortune come your way.

August 27 2013 at 11:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Snuffy

I would love to hit a wrong key and "strike it rich"! I only went to Penn Hall, which not longer exists.

August 27 2013 at 10:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jsimancas

I do not believe any story in internet , there are so many tricks now days

August 27 2013 at 9:38 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
JasonJ

how do you miss hitting the delete key and end up hitting the space bar...the 2 are pretty far apart is my only question....

August 27 2013 at 9:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to JasonJ's comment
Jo

You caught that, too?? Yes, I often mistake the space bar for a delete key...NOT.

August 27 2013 at 11:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nessus

I am very happy for her. I am thankful to God for what I have already, good health, good job and good wife.


Nessus

August 27 2013 at 9:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DONALD

Tell us 10 years from now about your success at Goggle.
later,
DJ

August 27 2013 at 9:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rdz69

huh.....!

August 27 2013 at 8:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Search Articles

Top Companies Hiring

Week of Sep 14 - Sep 21
View All

Picks From the Web