What’s the going price for lunch with one of Silicon Valley’s most powerful women on the campus of an Internet company trying to sputter back to life?
In the neighborhood of $90,000.
Turns out, lunch with Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer at Yahoo headquarters in Sunnyvale is a bit more of an investment than a trip to Panera Bread. About an hour before the auction closed today on Charitybuzz.com, an auction website that raises money for good causes and nonprofit organizations, the highest bid stood at $90,000.
But there’s more than a sandwich at stake. The winner also gets to chat up Mayer about life at Yahoo and all the commotion she’s caused there (no working from home!), her many other leadership roles (with Walmart, the San Francisco Ballet, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and others) and her past successes at Google, where she made a name for herself in the high-powered tech world.
Mayer is raising money for Aspire East Palo Alto Charter School, a K-6 public charter school that prepares kids from high-poverty communities to go to college and ensures that graduating seniors have been admitted to a four-year university.
Mayer is the latest Silicon Valley superstar to join the charity auction craze, where the high-powered tech folks can have their egos soothed and bask in the flattery of people shelling out their retirement funds for a lunch date, and, oh yeah, raise money for a worthy cause at the same time. And the auction website gives Mayer et al. a few days in the limelight, to let admiring fans fight over them and thumb their nose at their rivals while watching the dollars flow in.
And since this is a contest (right??) Mayer can celebrate that she handily beat Jack Dorsey’s charity auction last month, which helped fund entrepreneurship education for at-risk high school students. Dorsey, the CEO of mobile payments company Square and founder of Twitter, had a winning bid of $31,600. The winner, a venture capitalist based in Belgium, got to bring seven of friends to eat lunch with Dorsey at his San Francisco office.
Mayer also left Elon Musk in the dust. A meeting with the Tesla CEO and space explorer went for approximately $20,000 on Charitybuzz, and the money was donated to the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights.
But Mayer didn’t come close to the highest bid for Tim Cook’s coffee auction — $610,000 to sip a cup o’ Joe with the big boss of Apple. Cook’s fundraiser also went to benefit the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights.
Round two, anyone?