Is Marissa Mayer, Google's cupcake princess, driving away talent with her icy indifference and utter lack of management skills? One ex-Googler says yes. Here's Anne Halsall's tale of getting dissed by Mayer at a meeting:
Since assuming leadership of the consumer web team, I started attending the legendary weekly UI review meeting. I did this both as a representative of the web group, and also to help keep my team on track with what Marissa and her team expected of us. By this point in my career I had worked with her many, many times, and I had been attending the review regularly for a couple of months. She had even shaken my hand once to thank me for launching a particularly big and difficult campaign.
One of the last times I sat in that meeting, as we were dispersing, she looked right at me and asked her assistant to "cut down on the number of guests - there are too many random people here." I knew then that despite all the work I had done for her team, she didn't recognize me at all. I had earned no influence. I stopped going to the reviews after that.
A few weeks later, after thinking about my experiences and opportunities there, I decided to resign.
Halsall then calls for a change in Google's "creative leadership" — a veiled way of asking for Mayer's head on a platter.
Her tale comes after Doug Bowman, Google's top designer, criticized Google's obsession with numbers in making design decisions, a strategy advanced by Mayer. Another former designer, Kevin Fox, now at a startup called FriendFeed, doesn't wholly agree with Bowman — but notes that Google's design group has "had a glass ceiling from the very beginning." That, too, seems like a veiled reference to Mayer's iron grip on the look and feel of Google's consumer Web products. It doesn't take a degree in visual design to notice a pattern here.