Business Insider takes a detailed look into the working life of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. One choice excerpt:

When people ask Mayer why she joined Google after getting her masters in symbolic systems at Stanford, she likes to tell them her “Laura Beckman story.” It’s about the daughter of her middle school piano teacher, Joanne Beckman.

Mayer begins: “Laura tried out for the volleyball team her junior year at high school. At the end of the tryouts, she was given a hard choice: bench on varsity, or start on JV.

“Most people, when they’re faced with this choice, would choose to play – and they’ll pick JV. Laura did the opposite. She chose varsity, and she benched the whole season.

“But then an amazing thing happened. Senior year she tried out and she made varsity as a starter, and all the JV starters from the previous year benched their whole senior year.

“I remember asking her: ‘How did you know to choose varsity?’

“And she said, ‘I just knew that if I got to practice with the better players every day, I would become a much better player, even if I didn’t get to play in any of the games.’”

The moral of Mayer’s story is that it’s always better to surround yourself with the best people so that they will challenge you and you will grow.

“My quest to find, and be surrounded by, smart people is what brought me to Google,” she says.

“The turning point for me,” she says, “was realizing that I would learn more at Google, trying to build a company, regardless of whether we failed or succeeded, than I would at any of the other companies I had offers from.”

Read the entire biography here.

  • Anittah Patrick

    This anecdote seems a bit suspect to me. (a) Varsity and JV generally practice together. (b) If you’re benched during game time, that’s X fewer minutes x 17 games a season that you’re playing. How is that making you better? (c) Finally, who ever heard of offering a high school junior a choice regarding which team they’re on? Generally, you can play JV or Varsity simultaneously — some games they might suit you up for JV, some for Varsity. If you’re not doing squat for the Varsity team, most coaches are going to want to use you to help the JV boost their record.

    (Also, FYI, there’s a typo in your article title — it’s Varsity not Varisty.)

    • Sasha

      Thanks for the typo find! Every once in a while, one gets away from us. 🙂

      P.S. I played softball all through high school and JV never once practiced with Varsity except for the odd scrimmage or during try outs.

      P.P.S. You would still practice with the older kids on Varsity and get better that way – 70% of your time on the field is practicing, not playing games. Just because you sit on a bench for a game does not mean you sit on the bench during practices or scrimmages as well.

  • Anittah Patrick

    Copying and pasting someone else’s content is good work?

    • Katastrophe

      Creating an article with good sharable content I otherwise would have never read is good work. No need to be nasty.

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