Sunday, January 16, 2005

Letting an Online Diva Really Talk

A couple of months ago I attended a presentation entitled 'Online Divas' which was ostensibly about women driving innovation in the online technology arena.

At the time I expressed disappointment that the youngest and most technical of the online divas, Google Director Marissa Mayer, was given short shrift, theorizing it was because the moderator "related" to her least.

Well, this blogger has a terrific recap of what happens when you hire Mayer to speak, and actually let her speak.

Two interesting things we learn from his recap:

1. Google prizes innovation and gives their employees the freedom to innovate. Imagine being told that 20% of your time at work should be devoted to messing around with your own ideas! Now, granted, that only works if you have enough resources to hit your roadmap milestones and meet your customer commitments too. Google happens to be in a business where the "customer commitment" side of it is rather murky. I mean, now they have services where you could say there are customers in a more traditional sense, such as AdWords and GMail, but their original business wasn't quite the same.

2. Customer comfort ranks higher than logic or necessity sometimes. Sure no one really uses the "I Feel Lucky" button very often. But apparently, people like to see it there. And the bareness of the home page is intentional, but it used to be even more bare. User labs showed that people didn't quite feel the page could be done loading when so bare, so they added some language at the bottom that isn't needed and no one reads, but that signifies that the page is complete.

And there's more. Sounds like she gave an interesting presentation. Kudos to Alan for a great recap, and thanks to Scoble for the link to Alan.

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