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The real reason Marissa Mayer left Google: She had to (venturebeat.com)
100 points by vtry 1019 days ago | 109 comments



Am I the only one who is seriously considering about applying to Yahoo, now?

You have a company that is profitable and is known for developing good technology, but that never had an "engineer mindset" at the top. PG himself tells how their biggest problem is that Yahoo's top management doesn't think about "products", but rather about "properties".

Now - after God-knows-how-many "media" CEOs - you have this insanely capable engineer at the top, whose sole focus is on using the brain power at the company for creating products, instead of pushing ads or competing in "social" anything. If she manages to change the culture at Yahoo, I think they will have a strong comeback - and I'd love to be a part of it.

Actually, I'd love to have Paul Buchheit to chime in. He is the one that probably got closest to her, and might be able to provide some insight as to how much of an impact she can have on Yahoo.

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I've been thinking the same thing. I'm just worried that the culture might be too entrenched for her to change it.

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Please elaborate on the "insanely capable engineer" part. I've read conflicting views, opinions and assessments of her qualifications. So I'm curious what exactly makes her an "insanely capable engineer".

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aside: I like that "OP/ED" is presented very boldly at the start of the article. I wish other news sites were as clear.

> The one thing she lacked is the sole reason she’s now at Yahoo: Power.

That damn well better be the reason. There really can't be any other reason at least as far as my feeble mind can fetch.

If you're worth $300 million and you don't plan to take, say, a year or two off to play and connect with your soon-to-be-firstborn child? Not to sound mean but what could possibly motivate you to do otherwise, than lust for power?

$300 million and you could be everything to your child but you insist on attempting to overwork? Jesus that just feels stark to me.

~~~

Wait a minute, didn't Yahoo pass on promoting Susan Decker because they demanded that they find someone who had been a CEO before? I guess they dropped that requirement. For the record, Decker resigned when Yahoo announced that Bartz was to be the new CEO.

Not that Mayer is necessarily a bad pick, I'm not wise enough to say, I just find the whole Yahoo CEO parade these past four years to be a very odd affair.

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> If you're worth $300 million and you don't plan to take, say, a year or two off to play and connect with your soon-to-be-firstborn child?

If she were male, would you say the same thing?

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HN is the whitest malest forum I'm a member of. Spend 30 seconds in the thread discussing a charity encouraging black girls to program[1] and it's blatantly apparent. At least 4chan is self-aware regarding the sexism and racism. Reddit tries to brush it off as jokes or isolated incidents.

HN on the other hand, a [male dominated] forum of established [white] professionals and aspiring professionals, exists in a bubble of absolute denial of these horrible attitudes.

The top voted comment about a new CEO literally questions her fitness as a mother.

I challenge anyone to find any posts questioning any other CEO's parenting choices. (Bonus points if top voted for on a story).

That shitty attitude doesn't exist for Gates, Jobs, Page, Brin, or Ellison. But a woman steps up and suddenly HN cares about her child and votes up a comment questioning how her decision affects her child and second guessing her motherly quality.

1 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4261619

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I admit it. I'm a white male. (I do have 4 half-Chinese half-siblings, but they are irrelevant.) However I'm married, and the father of two children.

The first reaction that I had when I saw that she was pregnant was, "She has no idea what she's getting into." I've been there, twice, and seen first hand what pregnancy and hormones take out of a woman who has a baby. I've experienced what it is like to go through the first few months. Sure, she has help. But I know how strong the desire is to connect. And as soon as she does, I know what amount of energy is required. And if she fails to devote enough energy, I know what the pain of being rejected by your own child is like.

This applies to some extent to both parents. I personally took much more than her planned 2 weeks for each birth, and am aware that my performance at work was directly affected for months. (My ability to work hard has been impacted for years but that is a more complicated story.)

However all of this applies to women more than men for the solid biological reason that women are the ones actually get pregnant, go through child birth, have associated hormone shifts, and produce milk. (Yes, you can give the baby formula, but if you've read the research there is a significant chance that feeding your baby formula will reduce IQ. Do you want to risk that for your child?? However breast feeding is a significant time commitment, and opens you up for even more hormones.) And this is if everything goes well. It often doesn't. For instance about 10% of women suffer through postpartum depression, and being a high-flying exec has no correlation with the biology behind that. Or you can wind up on bed rest if the pregnancy is difficult - and the odds of a difficult pregnancy go up rapidly when the mother has external stresses.

Yes, it is PC to claim some sort of absolute equivalence between men and women. But this is very clearly false when it comes to child birth.

When I saw her saying that she'd only take 2 weeks of maternity leave, the first thing that I said was, "She has absolutely no clue what she's in for." When I told my wife the story and my opinion, her only question was, "First time mother?" I said, "Yes," then my wife laughed in agreement.

Now please disclose your experience. How old are you? How many children do you have? Have you considered the possibility that parenting might just be harder than you think, and people who have been down that path might just know something that you don't know?

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I'll counter your anecdote with my anecdote: My wife could have done it, I would wager.

Advice to Marissa Meyer:

- the baby and the nanny should be with you 24/7. I don't care who you're meeting with, you should be holding or wearing the baby.

- if the baby fusses, don't hand her off to the nanny -- start nursing her or change her yourself, no matter who you're with. You can still carry on a conversation with them, and you're powerful enough they have to pretend they're not offended -- they shouldn't be, anyways.

- invest in a standing desk and a sling. Babies love to sleep in those things, and are usually quiet even when awake. They'll be much more comfortable if you're standing rather than sitting, and it gives you the ability to rock them while working.

- have walking meetings. Great for you, the baby and the participants.

- it's your partner's (or an employee's) job to make sure that you get a proper sleep at night. The shorter the interruption at night, the easier it is to get back to sleep, and the less the interruption. Your only job is to nurse. It's your partner's job to pick up the baby when it cries, to soothe her and to change her.

If the baby is colicky, all bets are off. But most babies aren't.

And this advice is only for the first 6 months or so. By then the baby is much more awake & aware, and is probably better off in a nursery right next door. Working at 6 months is fairly well travelled ground.

Very few women have the luxury of stopping all work when their baby arrives. Heck, most of them don't even get 2 weeks off. I'm willing to bet that running Yahoo and raising a single child is easier than cooking all the meals, doing all the cleaning and looking after 1 or 2 preschool children as well as a baby, if only because Marissa will have nannies, housekeepers and secretaries.

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Ah yes, once you're a parent, everyone will tell you how to raise your kid, and they will all be very sure of themselves. They will all disagree with each other. You have to get used to it.

In particular it sounds like you're an adherent of Dr. Sears. There may be benefits to his techniques. But the whole goal is to have the woman paying constant attention to the baby - which means that the woman never can pay undivided attention to anything else. This does not seem to me to be compatible with running a company, even in the best of times. (Which Yahoo is not in.)

(A random snide remark about Dr Sears. A man with 8 children advocates a child rearing technique where all of the work is done by the mom. Coincidence?)

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Yah, it did come out that way. Sorry.

What I was really thinking was how awesome it would be if Marissa did bring her baby to work every day for the first 6 months or so. That would really be noticeable and would hopefully do a lot to remove some of the bias against women of childbearing age as well as encourage other companies to allow this sort of practice.

As an aside, I was the one that did most of the baby-wearing. My wife has short arms and large breasts, so she was unable to do much with her arms while wearing. My daughters spent a large amount of time in a sling while I was standing up at the computer.

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The parent's point was not that these concerns are invalid but rather that HNers are severely biased since they only apply them to women. To counter, you proceeded to repeat the same concerns in the same bigoted manner.

I've been there.

I am a working, breastfeeding mother and I strongly disagree with your post. Does my opinion trump yours since I am higher on the been-there scale than you?

About 10% of women suffer through postpartum depression.

Up to 25% of both men and women suffer from post-partum depression. Wikipedia it.

Being a high-flying exec has no correlation with the biology behind [postpartum depression].

Numerous studies show that working mothers are less depressed than stay-at-home mothers.

Now please disclose your experience. How old are you? How many children do you have?

The Yahoo board, who made their decision with full knowledge of Mayer's pregnancy, are collectively (and often individually) older than you, with more children.

Solid biological reason that women get pregnant, go through child birth, have associated hormone shifts, and produce milk.

Please, enough with science and biology as a means to justify frankly bigoted opinions. The same biology gives most new mothers a noticeable increase in energy that makes it possible to switch to a polyphasic sleep schedule to accommodate constant nursing and other demands of motherhood. The same biology makes us different so that there are women like your wife, who finds Mayer's plan laughable, and women like Mayer herself, with her two comp-sci honors degrees from Stanford, famously long hours, etc.

Since you like un-PC, factual conversations about hormones, let's turn this around and talk about you. Fair is fair. Have you ever thought how remarkably ill-suited you as a male are to system design and coding? How do you, a highly-hormonal young man who spends an inordinate chunk of his time thinking about sex, ever get any work done, in a profession where continual focus is paramount? And is it fair to your two children that you spend so much time on HN and SO, the time that could instead be spent furthering their IQ?

Edit: FWIW, I know you are an intelligent guy, based on your HN and SO contributions. If above seems like a personal attack, please consider that your opinion that a woman has to choose between motherhood and work is very personal to female HN readers like me - and the fact that you are clearly intelligent only makes it worse. I'd like to think that it's possible for me to nudge your opinion in a more equitable direction. If nothing else, please consider that dismissing a set of beliefs as worthless PC garbage is most often a euphemism for "other people's problems". I'd like to think that most male hackers don't think of female hackers in "us vs. them" terms implied by the above, despite the apparent misogynist demographic on HN. Peace :)

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I didn't get the impression that the parent post was stating that a women has to choose between motherhood and work.

If I had to paraphrase the post, it would be "I don't think she realizes how hard it's going to be." Which is true, simply because NO PARENT, male or female, can truly internalize how hard parenting is until they're a parent. I was warned plenty of times and I still wasn't prepared--not by a long shot.

However, I can understand why people get defensive over this issue. When I took six months off to take care of my daughter (while my wife worked) I came to realize that:

a) You can get pretty self-conscious at times, especially when you see examples of people parenting better than you are.

b) Parenting can take up an INFINITE amount of your time and energy, if you let it. Children evolved to maximize their chance of thriving, and that pretty much means they will demand as much as you can give, and more, and then even more. It's just how children are. But that means that there's always some good bit of parenting that you potentially could do, but can't: either because there's no money, or because you're too tired, or because you have to work. So, in essence, mothers do choose between parenting and work, but they also choose between parenting and sleeping, and parenting and eating, and parenting and reading, and parenting and socializing. Heck, many times I had to choose between parenting and showering. However, while I felt guilty about my shower, I think that in the long term the kids will turn out OK. <g>

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First, I think that everyone in this thread should read or reread http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html because it is very relevant.

What is my point? It is no more or less than that childbirth takes a huge and often unpredictable toll out of women. What toll it will take out of any particular woman is difficult to predict. In most cases the toll is far larger than the people involved expected. Any woman coming into motherhood, particularly for the first time, is naive if they think that they can plan to put motherhood in a box and be confident that it will actually stay there.

This is different for men. If a man with sufficient resources decides that he does not want his work to be impacted by fatherhood, it won't be. Whatever the cost to his family or the opinion of his friends, he really can ignore parenting and continue to work normally. I would not personally choose that, and men who choose to be involved with their children open themselves up for some of the same issues that women go through. But I am confident a high powered male executive who promises that has very low risk of failing to deliver on that promise.

You dismiss this by calling it bigotry. I claim that I'm on very solid grounds here based on statistics and biology. I think that having even a casual acquaintance with the facts, or having some personal acquaintances with some horror stories, puts me on solid ground to say what I did. (For example I know one woman who had problems with water retention that caused severe carpal tunnel. She was unable to pick anything up, drive, use a mouse or keyboard, etc for months. Good luck with that!) Calling me a bigot invokes a taboo, I'm a horrible person for thinking those thoughts, but it says nothing one way or the other on whether I am right.

All of that said, Marissa is a truly impressive woman. She brings a lot to the table here. There is a reason why she has triggered more discussion than anyone else in the previous parade of CEOs that Yahoo has had recently. Her pregnancy is an obvious risk factor for her, and it is silly to try to claim otherwise. But that is a risk, not a guarantee. Most women do not have particularly difficult pregnancies. Many women are able to balance babies and work. But you can't plan on this in any particular case. And she is likely to get a surprise about how much work it is.

Now let's turn to your attempts to personally attack me.

The same biology makes us different so that there are women like your wife, who finds Mayer's plan laughable, and women like Mayer herself, with her two comp-sci honors degrees from Stanford, famously long hours, etc.

It seems that you think I have a stay at home wife who has never done anything in her life. Nothing could be further from the truth. My wife has a PhD in biology from Dartmouth College, and an MD from NYU (one of the top medical schools in the country) earned with honors. Can you claim accomplishments of similar difficulty? Can you honestly claim to have done anything with close to the effort of a medical internship? If your answer is no, then you're in the same boat that I am. I have great respect for my wife.

My wife's opinions do not come from an inability to work hard. They come from her knowledge and experience of what motherhood can take out of women.

Since you like un-PC, factual conversations about hormones, let's turn this around and talk about you. Fair is fair. Have you ever thought how remarkably ill-suited you as a male are to system design and coding? How do you, a highly-hormonal young man who spends an inordinate chunk of his time thinking about sex, ever get any work done, in a profession where continual focus is paramount? And is it fair to your two children that you spend so much time on HN and SO, the time that could instead be spent furthering their IQ?

Thank you for calling me young, at almost 43 I have not thought of myself that way for years. I also spend rather less time thinking about sex than you seem to imagine.

As for my children, my wife is right now going through a medical residency. I therefore am a full-time parent who does part time contracting on the side. Sure, I spend time on NH and used to on SO, but you may rest assured that my children are not be compromised by that. (If you go back I said that having children has limited my ability to work hard, now you know why.)

(If above seems like a personal attack, please consider that your opinion that a woman has to choose between motherhood and work is very personal to female HN readers like me.)

Please stop projecting opinions on me that I do not have. Talk to what I am saying, and not the straw man argument that you think I said.

As my personal life makes clear, I not only do not believe that a woman has to choose between motherhood and work, but I am personally making serious professional sacrifices right now to allow my wife to achieve what she wants to achieve.

If this surprises you, then I highly recommend that you go back and read what I wrote to try to figure out what I actually think. Because what I'm saying really isn't that unreasonable.

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Update

I wrote that before your edit. Thanks for the kind words. I suspect that my opinions may be more equitable than you thought, but the opinions that you don't like are unlikely to change. They are not what I want the world to be, but are observations of how it actually seems to work.

On postpartum depression, I was looking for a condition that hits lots of women, and it was the first that popped into my mind, and the first link I found for it said 10%. Now that I look at it in more detail I find that there is disagreement on what it is and when people have it, on the frequency, and a lack of clarity on the causes. Indeed there likely are many factors that contribute. Many of the causes you'll find in the literature are tied to hormones and biology. Many are not. That was a bad example.

A better example would be Caesarian section. Caesarian sections are very common, and the usual recovery time for women is 4-6 weeks. Which is significantly longer than the 2 weeks that Marissa is planning on. Obviously being a CEO is not a physically demanding job, if need be she could do it from a wheelchair. But recovering from major surgery is likely to hamper her performance.

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Childbirth takes a huge and often unpredictable toll...

Sigh. You can continue to talk about birth|breastfeeding|hormones|etc as if my and parent's point was that those factors don't exist. Of course they do. The point is - please reread the parent and the grandparent - they exist equally for both men and women.

This is different for men.

If ever bigotry expressed itself more clearly.

I claim that I'm on very solid grounds here based on statistics and biology.

I addressed, and refuted, your facts, point by point. You responded with is, "I claim solid grounds based on statistics and biology", only to continue with an anecdote about some woman you know having carpal tunnel related to water retention. Uh, ok.

It seems that you think I have a stay at home wife who has never done anything in her life.

I neither said, nor implied, anything of the sort. Please reread my post.

My wife has a PhD in biology from Dartmouth College, and an MD from NYU. Can you claim accomplishments of similar difficulty? Can you honestly claim to have done anything with close to the effort of a medical internship?

Congrats on your wife having a PhD from Dartmouth. Not going to participate in your ridiculous fantasy where I am a defendant and you the supreme judge on whether I measure up to your wife. My proverbial dick is big enough, thank you.

I also spend rather less time thinking about sex than you seem to imagine.

Thanks for making my point for me. You said pregnant women/mothers live in a hormonal fog that makes them unsuitable for success in business. I turned it around and made up an example of how same bigotry could be applied to men. Now you know how it feels when the other half speculates on how your brain chemistry impacts your abilities, all based on cheap stereotypes. Feels shitty, doesn't it?

As my personal life makes clear...

Ah, the good old I Have a Black Friend™ defense.

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I see little point in continuing this discussion. I can respond point by point, but to what purpose? You will continue to ignore and discount what I say while accusing me over and over of being a bigot.

In your world, birth, breastfeeding and hormones exist equally for men and women. There is a basic equivalence.

In my world, childbirth is a very intense and somewhat risky experience that women have no choice about going through after they become pregnant and choose not to abort. Breastfeeding is significant experience that women may choose to go through as well.

In my world, men have a choice about whether and to what extent they we choose to be involved in parenting. Men who choose to parent will experience hormones, etc that may catch us by surprise. But we can choose not to parent, and if we do we will have no hormonal impact.

In my world, an intense and risky experience that you are committed to going through is in no way equal to being able to choose doing nothing. In my world acknowledging that something intense and risky is actually intense and risky is not bigotry. Bigotry would be categorically choosing to not give someone an opportunity for fear of the risk. But acknowledging that it is real is called honesty.

Now if you want to actually learn more about the important hormones and their effects, I suggest that you start with the big one, oxytocin.

You may have the pleasure of the final response. Unless you say something truly shocking, I won't be bothering to respond to you any more. We've both said enough that people should be able to decide what they do and do not agree with.

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One further observation: the original poster never said she alone could choose to spend more time with her child, yet many people are leaping to this conclusion. Both her and her husband are incredibly successful and both of them could spend all day at home; OP did not exclude this possibility. Perhaps her husband will stay at home. But she clearly will choose not to spend much time at home (at least not initially).

Ultimately the original poster is objectively correct in stating that anybody who, in a position of absolute and complete financial independence, chooses not to spend more time with their children makes a very public statement about their priorities. You only have a fixed amount of time in life, and a fixed amount of time to spend with your children. It simply is not possible to be CEO of Yahoo without compromising on the time you spend with your children.

Whether or not it will have a measurable effect on the development of her relationship with her children, or their future personalities, is a matter for personal opinion.

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We _are_ all Rousseauists now, aren't we? There have been cultures in which the women of the ruling class handed off their offspring to nannies and for that matter wet nurses very early on.

(Upper 50s, one child now in 20s. Yes, it's a lot of work.)

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My wife (also a tech exec) could've done this too (though she'd taken 4 weeks off, with an experienced full time nanny). Some women are just super organized. And yes, some women are less sensitive/susceptible to hormonal fluctuations. We have 3 children. Each has quite different personalities, all of them fairly attached to their mom. If you got lucky, things are pretty smooth :) You can solve the breast feeding problem by smart combination of pumping and feeding. All my kids were on breast milk longer (> 1y) than average (drop to 43% at 6m). I got to spend more time (still less than her) with my kids too, changing diapers and picking up/dropping off to/fro school etc.

Based on what I've seen how Marissa operates (organized and data driven), I'd say she'll have no problem (on her side) to handle her first pregnancy and child.

As an XY! Good luck Marissa!

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I highly respect the views of the parent poster (btilly). As a father of two, I fully can relate to your posting, including an almost identical conversation with my lovely wife.

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> I do have 4 half-Chinese half-siblings, but they are irrelevant.

That's racist.

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What I meant was, "...irrelevant whether I get privilege from being a white male." Not irrelevant as people or to society. Indeed two of my sisters are insanely successful, though in areas of life that have nothing to do with software development.

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Jobs was and is slammed regularly for abandoning his first child and for his erratic behavior.

Gates has been ridiculed for his sexy pose desktop picture and classic nerd aura in terms of women. Marrying an employee didn't help.

Ellison? Never heard a single good thing about him here. Last time he bought that Hawaiian island and yeah, that did go well.

Male on male aggression/envy is simply normal here and filtered out in your memory. If it hits a female it suddenly becomes apparent.

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>>Male on male aggression/envy is simply normal here and filtered out in your memory. If it hits a female it suddenly becomes apparent.

I've always wondered the reason for this. If you ever see a bunch of males(boys, teenagers, adults, middle aged men, old folks) of any age. They will easily get aggressive with each other, crack jokes, tease each other fight, the older ones even drink and swear at each other. Yet none would feel bad about it.

You can't say they same think about women. You have to worry about every single word you say and do. Because you never know what is generally taken as offensive and what isn't.

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You're painting incredibly broad strokes, there.

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> Jobs was and is slammed regularly for abandoning his first child and for his erratic behavior.

I looked for some citations, and I did find a few:

  http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3161927
  http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3229495
  http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3926052
Source: http://www.hnsearch.com/search#request/all&q=steve+jobs+... (search also for "steve jobs child", and leave out the "steve" if you feel like sorting through a bunch of unrelated stuff)

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> I challenge anyone to find any posts questioning any other CEO's parenting choices. (Bonus points if top voted for on a story).

Personally, when I become a father, I would like to either take time off, or take a job which isn't much stressful. I tend to overindulge. It would mean either I am too serious about my job, and my child is left out; or I am too engaged in my child to actually care about the job. I am not that good at little bit of everything. The public persona of the people you have named(Gates, Brin...) conveys they don't dip their toes in water, but like to dive in head first. I might be wrong, but to me it would look like they can't possibly handle the child and the job at the same time. So yes, I would question their fitness as a father when they take up a challenging job while their child is on the way.

> I challenge anyone to find any posts questioning any other CEO's parenting choices. (Bonus points if top voted for on a story).

Get out from under the rock, and you will see what kind of shitty attitude exists for Gates(who is doing more good than anyone and everyone talking about him), Jobs(who has ardent admirers and ardent haters), Ellison(seriously? People might be biased, but I have never heard good things about him)...

> But a woman steps up and suddenly HN cares about her child and votes up a comment questioning how her decision affects her child and second guessing her motherly quality.

I don't know. Why is it bad to ponder the child won't get the required attention if a stressful job takes most of your time. That holds true regardless of gender. Now, I might be totally wrong, and you can be a better at time and life management, but I don't see why you see the need to vilify me for saying so.

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You seem to confuse the generic bashing of CEOs with specific kind mentioned by GP: questioning parenting choices.

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> You seem to confuse the generic bashing of CEOs with specific kind mentioned by GP: questioning parenting choices.

You seem to ignore my whole blurb about "being a father" and "holding a stressful job", and how it applies to the CEOs in question.

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Because women are biologically, historically, and culturally the nurturers of infant children. You can pretend it's some other way, but that doesn't make it so.

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I'm laying this one on the babies. Mommy handles them, they're all happy. Daddy tries something, suddenly they aren't as happy. Asshole babies!

</joke>

If the parents are worth so much, in my opinion they could both take time out for the kid. Is there a reason why women should take care of newborns full time? Yes, that's what is natural (meaning occurs in nature). Is there any reason her husband shouldn't help her? I don't really see one.

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> Is there a reason why women should take care of newborns full time? Yes, that's what is natural (meaning occurs in nature).

A lot of things happen in nature. But is there a reason a women is required to raise an offspring? Apart from breast-milk, there isn't anything a man can't do.

> Is there any reason her husband shouldn't help her? I don't really see one.

No reason at all. I am more interested in parent's comment about woman required to take care of babies. Let alone helping, I don't see a reason why a man can't raise a baby all by himself.

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http://www.thelizlibrary.org/site-index/site-index-frame.htm...

This seems to have a number of references.

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And this is the whole problem with taking a rational approach to something you know nothing about - you get the wrong answers because you are acting on the wrong information. As pointed out by param, there is a mountain of research on this subject which clearly indicates that a mother is essential to a child's development. A growing body of research shows that a present father is also very important. Nonetheless, we are adapted to the condition of the mother being present during our development, therefore it holds more weight than the father being present. Both parents being present improves things futher.

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I'd love to sit at home cook food, and take care of kids if my future wife wants to take of everything else(Money, security etc).

That will give me a great deal of time to hack, play video games and practice my harmonica.

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Wait to have kids and then try to spare time...

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Even the most busy home makers get lots of time in the afternoon and in the late evening.

Besides if you don't have to worry about every tiny bit of financial demands, bills, expenses and you can just demand money and get it. And all you need to do is cook(Which is a great hobby by the way) and take care of kids. I'm all game.

In fact I would love to live a life where everything is other thing is taken care of, and all I have to do is house hold chores and get kids to do home work.

Merely imagining such a thing makes me feel like heaven compared to what I do to make a living. Its the most awesome life you can imagine. Tons of free time for hobbies, playing video games, reading or whatever.

If this is women's empowerment I'm all for it. Let them have all the freedom, responsibilities, work and let them earn all the money for the family and support it. I am ready to be oppressed for a couple of decades at home.

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"Tons of free time for hobbies, playing video games, reading or whatever." Well I certainly recommend having children, but I would never do so for someone wanting more free time.. But you don´t have to trust me (neither I want to be right, to each it´s own), just take care for a WHOLE weekend (with it´s 2 nights), of the toddlers of some friend or relative(if you are planning for a large family, please try at least taking care of 2 kids at the same time). They will be eternally grateful and you´ll have your little MVP. Then you could decide with some hands-on experience, on the issue of kids and free time.

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And, what if your wife also works? What if she makes, gasp, more money than you?

You know, that's actually a thing, at least in a lot of industrialized countries that allow their female citizens to, you know, vote and learn stuff and drive cars.

Actually you know what all of your talk sounds like? It sounds exactly like someone who hasn't done any of that for more than an hour or two.

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There is nothing to gasp about wife making more money. In fact more the better.

Although I agree with you I don't have much experience parenting and staying at home. But just merely comparing job profiles shows a huge comparative advantage. And you don't have to actually experience it to know that.

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> Even the most busy home makers get lots of time in the afternoon and in the late evening.

Oh, that's the biggest load of horseshit I've seen here in a long time, and flat out false. You make a lot of unrealistic assumptions, and have absolutely no idea of what you are talking about. I swear, if you aren't trolling, then I can only imagine you grew up with some twisted idea of what normal is. Sheltered at the very least.

No, if what you say is what you honestly think happens, they you are either ignorant of reality of simply a twisted person.

I'm going to side with the ignorant part.

> In fact I would love to live a life where everything is other thing is taken care of, and all I have to do is house hold chores and get kids to do home work.

I just have to keep reminding myself that you are ignorant of reality.

> I am ready to be oppressed for a couple of decades at home.

Icing on the cake. Do you honestly believe this tripe you are spewing?

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I am not married and I don't have kids. And I was not the kind of kid who troubled my parents much. I used to keep pretty much to myself as a kid.

I might be wrong, but in the same sense people are wrong to accept a job offer by what goes on in the news about the company.

I look at the job offer and I'm excited, compared to the amount of slogging I'm doing now to make ends meet.

Besides you haven't given me a single reason as to why I'm wrong. Your post seems like a rant out of some frustration in your life.

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> I am not married and I don't have kids.

So you lack experience.

> And I was not the kind of kid who troubled my parents much. I used to keep pretty much to myself as a kid.

Maybe that explains your attitude? Either way, it means nothing.

> I might be wrong,

You are. You are wrong in the sense that an effective way to make a political statement is to crash a few planes into some buildings.

> Besides you haven't given me a single reason as to why I'm wrong.

You've given no reasons to back up your claim, which flies in the face of common sense. So sorry, I just cannot stoop to that level of ignorance. Good parenting takes effort.

Oh, sure. You are right, bad parenting means you get lots of free time. If that's what you are referring to, being a bad parent, sure. Is that what you were talking about?

> Your post seems like a rant out of some frustration in your life.

And your comments seem to come from someone who was treated like you suggest growing up. We generally refer to that as neglect.

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Blah blah white men blah blah sexist blah blah blah. As mentioned by others, pregnancy has a real physical effect on a woman. As mentioned by countless studies, having your parents around when you're an infant has a huge impact on the rest of your life. None of this is sexist.

And yes, I think that if a multimillionaire has a kid then they should take some time off and do their goddamn job and raise them, no matter the parent's gender. Both mothers and fathers are important in a child's development.

And for the record, I don't hold any of the CEO's you listed in high regard.

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> The top voted comment about a new CEO literally questions her fitness as a mother.

It questions her motives for becoming a CEO.

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I wouldn't attribute to sexism what can be attributed to novelty and the bikeshed principle.

A new CEO is named to a Fortune 500 company. Do any of us really have the expertise to comment on that nomination? Likely not. It's so far out of our league that we don't even attempt to Monday-morning quarterback.

On the other hand, everyone can relate to parenting, so that (the bikeshed) is the first choice for discussion instead. It's not passing judgement--it's just the most accessible and novel topic about Marissa's nomination. Why rehash old business threads whan you can talk about something new and interesting? She's the first pregnant Fortune 500 CEO; of course it's going to come up.

It's also a fair comment that most women would prefer to raise an infant under more ideal circumstances. This is just a statement of fact. Most male CEOs have as great a powerlust (or more so) than Marissa, but they're not pregnant, so you can't as easily talk about what they're giving up to take the job, and so it doesn't come up in conversation.

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Maybe more people should question the involvement of fathers in their children's life, as to start to make it important in the culture's view? It goes both ways - keeping quiet, and of making noise.

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This has nothing to do with HN and everything to do with society.

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It probably is partially to do with HN, the kind of place that has a demographic further up the spectrum than a random sample of society, whose ability to reason sometimes suffers from a tendency towards talking and thinking in absolutes.

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I would.

I have a son and there's nothing in the world I wish more than to be a stay at home dad. Unfortunately I can't afford to do that.

Missing the childhood of your baby is one of the greatest mistakes you can do in life. And I'm not advocating here for staying at home btw. But working more than 40 hours per week when you have a child waiting for you at home and with enough money in the bank to be worry-free for life - is simply unacceptable, regardless of gender.

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I suppose it's more typical for females to be the child rearing parent but there are many households where this is reversed. I suspect the previous commenter is familiar with more traditional roles and is possibly very child oriented themselves.

The fact is, many parents of either gender just aren't that interested in being heavily involved with child rearing. There's nothing wrong with that. Others are heavily involved and live their lives solely for their children. Good for them.

Gender can be somewhat of an indicator of what type of person you are likely to be regarding children, but you can't expect someone to be a certain way just because of their gender.

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>The fact is, many parents of either gender just aren't that interested in being heavily involved with child rearing. There's nothing wrong with that.

There is something incredibly wrong with that. Gender doesn't matter; if you decide you really aren't terribly interested in raising a child, you shouldn't have one.

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That's your opinion and I'm guessing it's based on cultural expectations, nothing more. Your culture is not everyone's culture.

There are households where the nanny raises the children and parents see them perhaps less than one hour per day. Are you going to tell those parents that by your decree they should not have had the child? Are you going to approach these children and tell them that their lives are somehow miserable and less worthy because of their parental situation, even if the children seem completely content?

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>There are households where the nanny raises the children and parents see them perhaps less than one hour per day. Are you going to tell those parents that by your decree they should not have had the child?

I'm not going to say that they shouldn't have had the child because there is no point, they can't change the past. However, I would tell people who are planning to do this that they shouldn't have children.

There are plenty of children who are raised in poor environments who go on to lead normal lives. There are some children who are raised in front of the television with almost no parental involvement who end up perfectly normal.

Just because some children overcome a bad environment doesn't mean it should be socially acceptable to purposely introduce a child to a bad environment that you could have easily corrected.

There is loads of evidence that failure to properly bond with a primary caregiver causes significant problems later in life.

What is the likelihood that a paid servant will love, and develop a bond with your child. What is the likelihood you will be able to keep the same nanny long enough for her/him to bond with your child? Because if that doesn't happen, and you see your child less than 1 hour a day, you are demonstrably harming your child and the society that eventually has to deal with him or her.

If you have no interest in raising and nurturing your child, the only possible reason for procreating is selfishness. Children aren't pets.

>That's your opinion and I'm guessing it's based on cultural expectations, nothing more. Your culture is not everyone's culture.

There have been cultures where throwing baby girls in garbage dumps was acceptable, is that an argument for the moral validity of infant exposure?

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Personally, yes. Raising children is one of the most important things we do on this planet.

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No, probably not. And the reason is simply that, as a gross generalization, women are more into parenting than men are, and infants need more motherly attention than fatherly attention initially. Men cannot physically have a child, nor can they breast feed a child directly, and they are not necessarily guaranteed to be the father of any child presented to them. So it's not a stretch to imagine that a male CEO would let the natural motherly bond take hold with their spouse in the first few months.

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Babies need their mothers more than they need their fathers.

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Of course not. Of course not.

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Wow, I really made people mad.

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Yes, why not? It's selfish, whoever does it.

That said, the implication that a mother being close to a new born child is completely equal to a father being close to a new born child is PC ideology.

We're not inter-changeable thinking machines. He have cultures and we have bodies.

For example, distance from mother during early months has been shown to have negative effects on the child's development. The same for not breast-feeding. Distance from father, much less so. Hell, even negative feelings felt by the mother while the child is in the womb are shown to affect it.

So, no, just because some people have wishful thinking dogmas that "we are exactly the same", "interchangeable" etc, it doesn't mean it's true.

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You helped me realize one of the reasons I like HN: there is little fear of PC nazis here.

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> For example, distance from mother during early months has been shown to have negative effects on the child's development.

Interesting. Citation please.

> The same for not breast-feeding.

I believe there are a certain percentage of women who either don't willingly breast-feed or are incapable. How does it affect their babies? Are their studies?

> Hell, even negative feelings felt by the mother while the child is in the womb are shown to affect it.

I am more interested in when the baby is out of the womb.

> just because some people have wishful thinking dogmas that "we are exactly the same", "interchangeable" etc, it doesn't mean it's true.

Call it wishful thinking, and it's not about "we are exactly the same or interchangeable". I am willing to be corrected, but I think a man by himself is capable of raising a child in a normal way(sans breast milk).

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I believe there are a certain percentage of women who either don't willingly breast-feed or are incapable. How does it affect their babies? Are their studies?

The babies have a statistically significant, but small, drop in IQ. See http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=surety-bond... for verification and a theory about why.

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>Interesting. Citation please.

I don't like giving citations, because we have this thing called Google, now. But here it is:

"The NICHD study of Early child care was designed to assess the long term outcomes of non parental care giving. Non Parental care giving involved both relatives (kinship care) and non relatives (Day care). The NICHD study was based on the ecological theory of Uri Bronfenbrenner (1979) [29]. Analysis of the effects of family and child care revealed that the characteristics of the family and the nature and quality of the mothers relationship with the child was a significantly better predictor of childrens outcome." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_displacement#Effects_on_a...

Also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attachment_theory#Maternal_depr...

Merely quoting the easiest sources, there are lots of studies to be found online.

>I believe there are a certain percentage of women who either don't willingly breast-feed or are incapable. How does it affect their babies? Are their studies?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breastfeeding#Connection_to_int...

(Correlation != causation of course, but the other causation for the effects here would be higher quality mother time, which also furthers the point)

>Call it wishful thinking, and it's not about "we are exactly the same or interchangeable". I am willing to be corrected, but I think a man by himself is capable of raising a child in a normal way(sans breast milk).

It still takes a woman to give birth to a child. And while a "man is capable of raising a child in a normal way", that doesn't say much. Also an orphanage is capable of raising a child -- or "the streets", as it happens in some third world countries. Maybe even wolves, if we believe this Mowgli story. But, some hundred thousands years of evolution say the child optimally needs two parents, female and male.

That said, some people consider a child a vanity accessory one can just buy for himself --or had it delivered. From my not-so-PC standpoint, I'd call those people selfish consumers that deserve to be mocked, but sadly aren't as much as they used to be:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFBOQzSk14c

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> I don't like giving citations, because we have this thing called Google, now. But here it is:

This thing called Google returns results from the web, and any crackpot can have a page indexed. You are not required to, but the onus of citing is on you when you are making a claim which isn't known to the demographic in question.

> That said, the implication that a mother being close to a new born child is completely equal to a father being close to a new born child is PC ideology.

>> The NICHD study of Early child care was designed to assess the long term outcomes of non parental care giving

What relevance you non-parental care giving has to do with a father raising a child?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attachment_theory#Recent_develo...

> Attachment theory describes the dynamics of long-term relationships between humans. Its most important tenet is that an infant needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for social and emotional development to occur normally.

Why are you quoting "maternal deprivation" when it is superseded by "attachment theory"? Attachment theory talks about "at least one parent" and your claims are mother is more important.

>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breastfeeding#Connection_to_int...

>> (Correlation != causation of course, but the other causation for the effects here would be higher quality mother time, which also furthers the point)

You are conveniently ignoring the studies which didn't find causation or correlation.

> Call it wishful thinking, and it's not about "we are exactly the same or interchangeable". I am willing to be corrected, but I think a man by himself is capable of raising a child in a normal way(sans breast milk).

>> It still takes a woman to give birth to a child. And while a "man is capable of raising a child in a normal way", that doesn't say much. Also an orphanage is capable of raising a child -- or "the streets", as it happens in some third world countries. Maybe even wolves, if we believe this Mowgli story. But, some hundred thousands years of evolution say the child optimally needs two parents, female and male.

Now you are being simple, plain ridiculous. Did I question it takes a woman to give birth? What purpose that bullshit about woman required to give birth serve?

And the bit about orphanage and streets? A father raising a child is analogous, right?

And thousand years of evolution says a child optimally need two parents? Now you are simply pulling things out of your ass. Do you even know what evolution means?

> That said, some people consider a child a vanity accessory one can just buy for himself --or had it delivered. From my not-so-PC standpoint, I'd call those people selfish consumers that deserve to be mocked, but sadly aren't as much as they used to be:

> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFBOQzSk14c

More hyperbole. I didn't click the link. I didn't put forward the argument about child being an accessory, and have no interests in knowing about your solid refutations to the points I, or no one else here made or implied.

Your disclaimer about not being PC compliant is getting irritating. That not being PC compliant disclaimer comes into play only after you are correct(and no, quoting correlation as absolutes isn't being correct). If you aren't correct, being PC or not means shit.

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> I don't like giving citations, because we have this thing called Google, now.

That's a crazy attitude. If you make statements that are not generally known by the community in question, you should back what you say up. Not expect every single person who reads your post to fact check you or (worse) blindly accept what you say.

This attitude just encourages wild, unverifiable statements.

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Actually, anthropology and history show that tribal human care giving and child rearing were not done by a "father and mother" or a "nuclear family".

To the contrary. Tribes shared the responsibilities of raising children, including breast feeding.

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Proof for your claims?

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Check my later post above --or the general internets, it's not like Google is more than a new tab away.

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> the implication that a mother being close to a new born child is completely equal to a father being close to a new born child is PC ideology.

This is simply regurgitation of conservative talking points without a citation behind it.

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It's not like the assumption that they are equal came with a citation.

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Actually it's the idea that they are equal that is a "talking point" without a citation.

It's pure ideology: "we should be, and therefore we are", which takes for granted what it ought to prove.

Plus, when we are faced with some thousands of years of history, common worldwide family patterns, and similar observations in nature to that effect, then it's the counter claim that should come with evidence (extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence, burden of proof, etc).

As for citations, check my post above.

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" and similar observations in nature to that effect"

Which one? Examples without mammals that breast feed their offspring which a male in mammals can't do?

Or did you mean elephants, "The females spend their entire lives in tightly knit family groups made up of mothers, daughters, sisters, and aunts." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephant

so we should raise our chilren in tightly knit groups and drive the males away?

Should we throw marriage out because nearly no mammals have long monogamic relationships?

"Plus, when we are faced with some thousands of years of history, common worldwide family patterns, and similar observations in nature to that effect"

Your lack of citations seems to be a modus operandi.

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>Which one?

One which resembles our own, duh. The idea is that each group came to develop in a specific way. So, no, a counter-example with some foreign to us animal wont cut it.

>Should we throw marriage out because nearly no mammals have long monogamic relationships?

This is something we developed, culturally, but since you ask, why not? Its not as if we havent already, what with divorce, polygamous arab cultures, adultery et al...

>Your lack of citations seems to be a modus operandi.

Its a forum, not an encyclopaedia article. Do you discuss with citations? If yes, You must be very popular at parties. In an case, the intertubes are one click away. Feel free to investigate what I said

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> One which resembles our own, duh.

Thought so you have no examples.

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If I was worth $300 million, I would not be working and I would be spending annoying (to my daughter) amounts of time with my daughter. Fuck work! You only get 1 life.

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> If I was worth $300 million, I would not be working and I would be spending annoying (to my daughter) amounts of time with my daughter. Fuck work!

Which is probably why you don't have $300M.

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Sure, make jokes about how someone would rather spend time with family instead of work...

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It is both a joke, and very much not a joke.

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Spoken like someone who doesn't have $300 million. The type of personality that builds $300 million in equity generally doesn't slow down to enjoy the simpler things in life.

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Hollywood stars do it all the time. It takes every bit as much drive to get where they are, too.

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They don't have the same work schedule.

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Hollywood stars have insane schedules when they're on a project. Those projects have deadlines, and when inevitable problems arise, they're not often fixed by pushing studio deadlines back and telling everyone to go home at 5pm or 6pm or 8pm, they're fixed by shooting into the night and starting earlier in the morning.

How do you think night scenes are filmed? During the day, in a building, with green screen and CGI? They have to film during much of the night. Even if a top star (like Tom Cruise or Christian Bale) can refuse to work more than 10 or 12 hours a day (I don't know whether even they set hours like that), they might be working one day and then the next day all night. That's not a family-friendly schedule.

Shooting on location is like a multi-week or even multi-month business trip.

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But CEOs don't have times when they're 'not on a project.'

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Did you just YOLO on HN?

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Do top executives come back from taking a year or two off? If she wants to be a top executive in 10 years, or wants to have had the experience of being a CEO so she can go do something else interesting, can she afford to take two years off now? The ones I can think of worked through their children's early years.

Parents with time consuming stressful jobs usually make it work. Every parent has regrets, but there's a difference between having regrets and bungling raising a child. Which brings to mind [1]. I don't think Mayer will bungle it.

[1] “If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do matters very much.” Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

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$300 million and you could be everything to your child but you insist on attempting to overwork? Jesus that just feels stark to me.

Chacun a son gout. Mayer was famous for her over-the-top 100 hour weeks at Google - it's unlikely that would change with a change of scenery.

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I don't quite understand why we're celebrating articles that gossip about her career and life. This article felt like the nerdy version of a tabloid piece that also took some cheap shots at entrepreneurialism. I can't properly articulate why this article (and others like it) irk me, but they do.

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It's industry news and gossip. It doesn't gratify one's intellectual curiosity.

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Tech culture is pop culture.

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Good point about the fact that she had gone as high as she could go at Google, but the disparaging of startup CEOs:

"Running around Silicon Valley begging VCs for a handout; pitching weary journalists on another software product; building everything from the ground up and never knowing if people will actually use it. That’s not power, folks; that’s just working like a dog, and it’s a gamble at best, no matter who’s doing it."

I don't get her logic, the entire valley is built on people who did exactly that at one point. And now shes trying to convince us that well, obviously, she'd want to go take over a failed company instead of possibly trying to start her own, who'd wanna do that, that's just ridiculous?

A gazillion execs at companies like Facebook (Asana, Quora, I think), Paypal (SpaceX, Tesla, etc.) went and started their own company and have plenty of power.

Not to mention the obvious point that maybe "power" shouldn't be the only thing someone aspires to . . .

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"she is known for pulling 130-hour work weeks and trading sleep for a few more hours in front of a laptop"

Is this even humanly possible? What does that leave, 5 hours a day for sleeping, even on weekends?

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This has been discussed far and wide on HN.

The basic consensus is that she mentioned this once to a journalist, and her 130 hour workweek was likely a once in a lifetime kind of thing.

But journalists like to spin things up and the media is often just a game of telephone; and boom, you end up reading in articles all over that Marissa Mayer pulls 130 hours work week every week.

One thing that I've learned living in Silicon Valley and meeting "famous" people regularly is that they're almost never as smart, brilliant, hard-working, etc. as the press makes them up to be. Sure, there are a lot of hard-working talented people here, but the image that the worldwide press builds of them is just plain exaggerated (and I guess it's their job to do so).

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((7 * 24) - 130) / 7 = 5.43, actually. I suppose it's possible, although if I were to seriously contemplate such a thing, I'd want a supply of modafinil or amphetamines laid in...

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It is possible. I did it in college for a week. Couple of days is easy, but after six days you feel that is messing with your system. Like another comment mentioned it was a once in a lifetime kind of thing. I don't recommend it to anybody.

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Now assuming that she commutes, takes showers, eats, bathroom breaks, then that means that she was sleeping even less than that.

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Only Americans believe that 130 hours in the office constitutes a 130 hour working week. Which is why the French work 35 hours a week, yet Airbus is as productive as Boeing.

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French don't work 35 hours a week, we work much more than that. Only basic employees do that. I probably have around a 50 hours work week.

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But then you have extra vacation days...

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You mean as outsourced as Boeing?

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I slept under my desk and showered at the office gym once for two weeks and pulled about if not more than that. Not sustainable, but not unnatural either - I don't drink coffee and think I had a Red Bull once or twice.

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Yes, I have done this. A few times. I think for not more than one week at a time.

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I did this for one month for my master exams - I had to catch up on a lot of things due to working in a startup ;-)

I was a wreck in the end.

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What did she contribute to Google exactly? Articles like this hand-wave through actual contributions with "influencing the minimalist and user-friendly interfaces of Google web search and Gmail" which is extremely vague and could easily amount to nothing.

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Executives allocate budget. That's what she did. She chose what things to pay for. This is pretty much all any executive does at any company with any scale.

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> This is pretty much all any executive does at any company with any scale.

Totally false. They do allocate budget, but they also recruit, retain, and motivate the best staff members they can find. They proactively keep an eye on potential opportunities, order research when necessary and follow up on it. They keep track of how their business unit is operating (not just "are we working on the right problems?" in terms of allocation; also: are there morale problems? are there critical risks that need to be reduced? how will our market evolve around us as we operate? and more) and care for and feed it.

Don't underestimate how hard it is to keep a heterogeneous group of big egos all moving in the same direction, together. It's not at all just reading proposals in a vacuum and deciding what to fund. A company is a human organization, and the main job of an executive is to align that group of people towards a common goal.

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and if she turns Yahoo's better assets (news, Flickr, dev tools) into the face of the company while inventing something ridiculously awesome (maybe a dead simple, language agnostic calendar/scheduling api...lol), she'll be hailed as a genius.

if you're an entrepreneur and you've already made it, taking the biggest risk seems like the obvious choice (elon musk, anyone?)

good for her.

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> She could have run off and been a startup founder and “CEO,” but what kind of power is that, really? Running around Silicon Valley begging VCs for a handout; pitching weary journalists on another software product; building everything from the ground up and never knowing if people will actually use it. That’s not power, folks; that’s just working like a dog, and it’s a gamble at best, no matter who’s doing it.

Portraying visionary people believing in what they do are "beggars" is stupid way of explaining things.

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The elephant in the room: why exactly didn't she get a promotion to Googles top tier? Considering that she was one of the first 20 employees there has to be some reason for that. I have the impression that there is some piece missing here.

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Terribly misleading title.

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