Marissa Mayer

There was a lot of head scratching in Silicon Valley last Wednesday over a $6.3 million investment in Brit + Co., a shopping and crafts site whose traffic has been estimated at around 50,000 unique visitors a month, with the company saying it does somewhere north of 500,000 monthly uniques — both very modest numbers. That had people wondering if investors like Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer backed Brit + Co. because proprietor Brit Morin is married to Path CEO Dave Morin and the recipient of relentlessly glowing media coverage.

Wal-Mart announced this week the nomination of Google executive Marissa Mayer to its board of directors. Mayer, 36, joined Google in 1999 as its first female engineer and 20th employee and quickly ascended the executive ranks, first as vice president of search and now as vice president of local and maps. She also sits on Google’s operating committee, an elite group of executives that oversees every critical product launch and decision. It’s not difficult to see why Wal-Mart would want Mayer. She's a minor celebrity as a young, self-described “geek” succeeding in a male-dominated field.

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