Hard Work – from Melissa Mayer

By Shlomo Maital


   In our Coursera on-line MOOC (course), “Innovation Lessons from a Master”, my friend David (Dadi) Perlmutter offers 10 life lessons on innovation, based on his 34 years as a leading innovator at Intel, ending with his job as Executive Vice President, with 50,000 people reporting to him.

     His last lesson in the course: The theme is “work hard”.   Sometimes, perhaps, we do not sufficiently explain and emphasize how hard it is to launch and build a startup, and how long the hours are.

     Here is what Melissa Mayer explains – she was a Google founder, and now is CEO of Yahoo, guiding the company through difficult times:

   “The Yahoo CEO reminisces about her crazy work schedule in Google’s early days and where she sees herself in five years (everyone’s favorite interview question).

     Something that gets overlooked in the Google story, she says, is the importance of hard work. “The actual experience was more like, ‘Could you work 130 hours in a week?’ The answer is yes, if you’re strategic about when you sleep, when you shower, and how often you go to the bathroom.

   The nap rooms at Google were there because it was safer to stay in the office than walk to your car at 3 a.m. For my first five years, I did at least one all-nighter a week, except when I was on vacation—and the vacations were few and far between.”

If you’re not truly prepared mentally, to do all-nighters, or if your significant others may resent it deeply, or if you haven’t prepared your loved ones and family for such absences…   perhaps you should reconsider.