Thursday, 27 January 2022

The Journey of Susan Wojcicki


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The Journey of Susan Wojcicki

Mission to acquire You Tube - ‘I saw an opportunity to combine the two services,’ Wojcicki said. She worked up some spread sheets to justify the $1.65 billion purchase price and convinced the founders. In 2006, despite board members finding the growth figures ambitious, she got Google the green light to purchase YouTube.....

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This is an amazing journey of a woman from a garage owner to Google’s 16th employee and CEO of You Tube. Susan Diane Wojcicki is a Polish-American business executive who is the CEO of YouTube. She has been in the tech industry for over 20 years. Wojcicki was involved in the founding of Google, and became Google's first marketing manager in 1999.

Susan Diane Wojcicki was born on July 5, 1968 to Esther Wojcicki, an educator of Jewish descent, and Stanley Wojcicki, a Polish-American physics professor at Stanford University. She has two sisters: Janet Wojcicki, (PhD, anthropologist and epidemiologist) and Anne Wojcicki, founder of 23andMe. She grew up on the Stanford campus with George Dantzig as a neighbor. She attended Gunn High School in Palo Alto, California, and wrote for the school newspaper.

Wojcicki's first business was selling "spice ropes" door-to-door at age 11. A Humanities major in college, she took her first computer science class as a senior. Wojcicki studied history and literature at Harvard University and graduated with honors in 1990. She originally planned on getting a Ph.D. in economics and pursuing a career in academia but changed her plans when she discovered an interest in technology.

She also received her Master's of Science in economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1993 and a Master of Business Administration from the UCLA Anderson School of Management in 1998.

It all began here. Upon completing her MBA in 1998, Susan Wojcicki bought a house in Menlo Park, California for $600,000. To help pay her mortgage, she rented out her garage to Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who were developing their new search engine – Google.

‘When Larry and Sergey would be there, and I would come and talk to them, I did realize what they were working on. I realised like wow, this is really making a difference and it can help me find information, Wojcicki said in an interview.

Realizing it to be a compelling concept, in 1999, Susan joined Google as its 16th employee – and its first marketing manager. One of her early projects was to liven up the Google logo for holidays and special events.

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In 2003, she suggested Google’s ad offering not only be available within search but also on websites across the internet, and AdSense was born – that drastically increased Google’s advertising potential. Today, over 39 million websites use AdSense, as per BuiltWith. Google’s total ad revenue in 2020 was over $146 billion.

Next from Google Video to You Tube. Wojcicki saw how user-generated videos could spark emotions after launching Google Video, a free video-sharing website, and hearing her kids’ reactions. But the user-generated content wasn’t immediately available on Google Video and by the time the design flaw was fixed, You Tube acquired a significant chunk of market share but had no resources to keep up with the demand.

Mission to acquire You Tube - ‘I saw an opportunity to combine the two services,’ Wojcicki said. She worked up some spread sheets to justify the $1.65 billion purchase price and convinced the founders. In 2006, despite board members finding the growth figures ambitious, she got Google the green light to purchase YouTube.

In 2010, she was promoted to one of the eight Senior Vice Presidents of Google and by 2014, she replaced Google’s 9th employee Salar Kamangar, as the CEO of YouTube. Under her leadership, YouTube has grown to over 2 billion monthly logged-in users, with people watching over a billion hours of video, generating billions of views every day.

In 1999, Wojcicki became Google’s first employee to go maternity leave and during her first year as YouTube CEO, she took another maternity leave. ‘Support for motherhood shouldn’t be a matter of luck, it should be a matter of course,’ she wrote in her op-ed, advocating that the US become a leader in maternity leave benefits. She helped lead the charge on family leave at Google for new mothers and fathers.

She has been an outspoken proponent.  ‘Tech is an incredible force that will change our world. If that force is only 20 to 30% women, that is a problem,’ she said in 2018.Susan has been active in various initiatives like voicing the plight of Syrian refugees, countering gender discrimination, and prioritizing coding in schools. She wrote and published pieces like – How to Break Up the Silicon Valley Boy’s Club.

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Strange New Year Traditions

*In India and other places a giant old man made of hay, etc and dressed in old shirt and pant is burnt at the stroke of midnight, signifying the end of the old year and the beginning of the New Year.

*In Bolivia, Venezuela, men wear new underpants on New Year’s Eve – red underpants for love and yellow for money.

*Spaniards eat 12 grapes at midnight; each grape symbolizing one month of year.

*The Filipinos wear polka dots and arrange round fruits on the dinner table. Polka and all things round signify coins, hence prosperity.

*In Scotland, the townsmen walk around with giant fireballs hoisted on long poles (resembling the sun) to purify the coming year.

* The Danes break glass dishes on the doors of neighbours and friends.

*Estonians eat seven times on the first day of the year to ensure abundant food throughout the year.

*Unmarried Irish girls place mistletoe leaves under the pillow to catch a good husband.

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