Life- and work lessons from Marissa Mayer.
“I’m half Finnish. My mom is all Finnish,” said Marissa Mayer from the Women in Technology Forum main stage in Helsinki, her mother and cousins among the audience.
As a young girl Mayer had a plan. She’d go to Stanford. She’d study biology and chemistry, enter medical school and become a pediatric neurosurgeon. She’d live in Boston or Chicago. But almost none of it happened, she said. “Life happened and opportunity came knocking.”
Mayer says her philosophy changed by meeting a postdoctoral researcher at science camp named Zoon. Zoon gave them brain teasers and riddles. She was fascinated by Zoon. And she never forgot how someone at camp described Zoon’s strengths: It’s not what Zoon knows, it’s how Zoon thinks. The phrase stuck with her.
Fascinated by Zoon’s world, she decided to follow her passion. She gave up medicine and studied symbolic systems – how people reason, learn, and express themselves. It lead her to computer science, and the realization of an important life skill: Knowing when and how to change your plans. And that you can.
On the stage of Women in Tech, she shared some other advice with participants:
Text: Scott Diel
Picture: Salla Merikukka / Merikukkanen
Owner of the photos: Technology Industries of Finland