We finally met Google’s Marissa Mayer last night.The occasion was Fortune’s 40 Under 40 party.
(The music? Imagine a deck party on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. The food? Mac & Cheese cubes, delicious lamb lolly-pops. The decor? A sometimes honking car, from sponsor Buick, parked in the corner.)
We found Marissa midway through the party.
Used to seeing her in glamorous, touched-up magazine shots – like the Vogue photo the right – we were shocked to learn Google’s first female engineer is even more charming in person.
(He wasn’t there, but we’re also sure Marissa’s husband, San Francisco banker Zack Bogue, is likewise even more The Bachelor-esque in real life than he is in the society photos.)
Marissa was just promoted to Google’s operating committee – known internally as the “OC” – and moved from her perch overseeing search products to one ruling over Google’s move into local and location. So of course, the first thing was asked was how does she like Foursquare.
She’s a fan of the service, is how she puts it. She’s not that into broadcasting to everyone where she is at the moment. After a few early check-ins made it into her Twitter stream, she turned that connection off. She likes it for the sense accomplishment it gives her – how the service will tell her “only six days till you’re Mayor!”
Mid-conversation, Coca-Cola SVP of marketing Wendy Clark – “I sell happiness!” – asked Marissa to demonstrate Foursquare.
She pulled a phone out of her purse. Thumbswiped through two pages of apps. Tapped on Foursquare, found the “fortune 40 under 40” location Drop.io’s Steven Greenwood created earlier that night, and checked-in.
At first, we had to grip our drink in an effort to overcome the urge to geekswoon – but then, suddenly, our reporter’s instinct kicked in.
Marissa checked-in not with a Nexus One, not with a Droid, not with any kind of Google Android phone. She checked in with an iPhone – the product of Google’s most heated/hated rival, Apple.
We leaned in and asked Marissa, “Aren’t you using the wrong kind of phone?”
“I have lots of phones.”
Marissa has had to answer this question before.
Later at the party, we managed to introduce Marissa to Mr. Foursquare himself, cofounder and CEO Dennis Crowley.
We told him all about how Marissa was raving about his service and the way it gave her a sense of accomplishment. We told her that Dennis would probably sell for $500 million – but that she should offer $650 million just to be safe.
That got the famous (infamous?) laugh going. Geekswoon. Again.
Marissa said, “I’ve read what you’ve written about that. I think somebody has a little bit of a vested interest.”
(We don’t! Well, except that we want deals to happen so we have something to write about.)
Marissa and Dennis got to talking about the service. One thing she doesn’t like: Marissa stopped Foursquare from sending check-ins to her Twitter followers – (there go our headlines) – but Foursquare kept on tweeting about Foursquare badges she’d unlocked anyway. She told the story about how this caused an awkward situation one time when she check-in from three separate locations one Friday night and managed to unlock the “Bender” badge. After hitting Twitter, the news spread fast.
“Yeah, I think that’s a bug,” said Dennis. “We need to fix that.”
We think so too. We can think of 1,000,000,000 reasons why.