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Meet Susan Wojcicki: the new head of YouTube
Rented her garage to Google founders back in 1998
Helped start Google Images and Google Books
Mother-of-four makes sure she spends every evening with family
YouTube has a new boss and she has a “healthy disregard for the impossible” – according to Google CEO Larry Page.
In that case, 45-year-old Susan Wojcicki has quite the job ahead of her. Not least of which, trying to work out how the video-sharing giant should display advertising on its website – and get online viewers to watch it.
Before she was head of YouTube, Wojcicki was senior vice president of advertising and commerce at Google – the company, which instead of trying to compete with the popular video-sharing website, decided to buy it for $1.65 billion in 2006.
Ok, so apart from disregarding impossible things, what do we know about the highest-ranking woman at Google? Tip: there’s your first clue.
Google started in her garage. Cast your mind back to 1998. Steve Jobs had just introduced the world’s first iMac, the internet still had a dial-up tone, and a couple of computer-savvy Stanford University students were setting up a search engine in Wojcicki’s Californian garage. Those students were Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and their search engine would eventually become the multi-billion dollar global technology company we know today: Google.
She’s part of the Google dynasty. Since she first rented her garage to Brin and Page to help pay her mortgage 16 years ago, Wojcicki has been deeply rooted in the Google Dynasty – yep, such a thing exists. She was the 16th person they hired and is married to fellow Google executive Dennis Troper. Her younger sister Anne married Google co-founder Sergey Brin, and her teacher and journalist mother Esther has consulted the company on education issues.
She was four months pregnant when she joined Google. Wojcicki’s friends told her she was crazy when she left her job at Intel to join the start-up company while pregnant with her first child. Today, Wojcicki says it was one of the best decisions of her life. Family remains incredibly important to the mother-of-four, who always tries to be home in time for dinner and tells colleagues not to contact her between 6pm and 9pm when she’s with her children.
As a kid she wanted to be an artist. “In some ways I think that’s what actually led me to technology,” Wojcicki told Makers.com. “I thought: ‘This is like a new way of making things.’” One of three sisters, her father is Stanford University physics professor, Stanley Wojcicki, and her mother is journalist and educator, Esther Wojcicki. Susan is also a huge supporter of girls in technology – you can read her open letter on the subject here.
She’s behind Google Images and Google Books. When Wojcicki joined Google in 1999, she became the company’s first marketing manager, later leading the initial development of high-profile projects like Google Images and Google books. As senior vice president of advertising and commerce, she was responsible for the company’s advertising products – accounting for 87% of its revenues in 2012. And when Google bought YouTube eight years ago, she was right behind it – which seems all the more fitting, considering her new position.