Home Finance Ex-Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer says her experience as a startup founder is inspired by her former Google bosses Larry Page and Sergey Brin

Ex-Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer says her experience as a startup founder is inspired by her former Google bosses Larry Page and Sergey Brin

by CoinNews

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Vodafone CEO Margherita Della Valle is making big moves as a new CEO, a British baroness is behind California’s social media law, and Marissa Mayer is a founder now. The Broadsheet will be off on Monday to observe Juneteenth. Have a great weekend!

– CEO to founder. Marissa Mayer has had a storied career in Silicon Valley, from employee No. 20 at Google to Yahoo CEO. But until recently, she’d never held that other lauded Silicon Valley title: founder.

Mayer has spent the past few years building what is now Sunshine, an A.I.-powered contacts tool. She joined us at a Fortune Most Powerful Women dinner in Menlo Park, Calif., this week to talk about that career pivot. Even though she hasn’t herself been a founder before now, she said, she’s spent years surrounded by them.

“My whole career has been based around my interactions with great entrepreneurs,” she told Fortune editor-at-large Michal Lev-Ram. “I got to witness and work with the best,” she said, name-checking Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.



In her executive roles at Google and Yahoo, she acquired dozens of companies, requiring her to judge what makes a good founder.

So when she landed on the idea that felt right for her, addressing a major product and design problem, she was ready to become a founder herself. She’s bringing her legendary work ethic—weekly all-nighters during her early time at Google—to a new startup with 25 employees, compared to Google and Yahoo’s thousands.

Sunshine’s platform aims to simplify and learn from people’s digital address books. The typical person has 2,000 contacts, 20% of which are usually “stale” with a nonfunctioning phone number or email address, Mayer says. Mayer’s goal is for Sunshine to learn information like which contacts are friends and which are colleagues, or even who’s a colleague who became a friend or a friend who became a colleague. The platform aims to understand which relationships are on the upswing—with increased contact—and which are trailing off. With that information, Sunshine can help people better take advantage of their networks, plan events, and more.

As a startup leader, Mayer says she’s standing by the management principles that guided her Big Tech executive days. Not all of those were popular, like Yahoo’s return-to-office mandate a decade ago. (Sunshine employees also work in the office today.) “I never ask someone to do something I wouldn’t do myself,” Mayer says. “And a lot of those values translate regardless of company size.”

Emma Hinchliffe

The Broadsheet is Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women. Today’s edition was curated by Kinsey Crowley. Subscribe here.

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com

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