Tuesday, March 24, 2009

All Hail the Enchantress of Numbers

An Ode to Women in Technology

This post is part of Ada Lovelace Day, in honor of women excelling in technology.

Quick. Who was the first computer programmer?


The answer: Ada Lovelace

She wrote the first "program" for Charles Babbage's analytical engine. Babbage conceived the idea only to perform calculations, but Lovelace saw beyond that purpose to the possibility that that first "computer" could calculate Bernoulli numbers.*

My decade-plus in the technology world has showered me with blessings. One of these is the women that have guided and inspired me. Here are a few that I want to thank profusely for their guidance, support, and inspiration:

Michelle opened the door.

Lisa illuminates just how big the world can be.

Liz inspires with her burning intelligence and amazing poise.

Cyd shows how art, spiritual, and professional life coexist.

Christina creates new worlds with her ability to reinvent herself.

Kit helps me see the practical path and how to plot my own.

Stephanie embodies true wisdom, creativity, and focus.

And, last, but not least, thanks to Mom for being completely open. Without her example, no doubt that it would be far more difficult to recognize the amazing women that surround me.

At the IA Summit this past week in Memphis, it was brought to our attention that the UX community is blessed to have so many women that actively lead our practice. I thank my lucky stars every day.

*The analytical engine was never built, but let's not blame Lovelace for the failure of the men around her.

Photo credit: Thanks to kpwerker for her great Flickr photo.