Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

Today (March 24th) is Ada Lovelace day. It’s a day to remember that chicks dig technology and you don’t have to have a penis to be a geek. Mom, I know you find that hard to believe but it’s true.

So part of Ada Lovelace day is to blog about women in technology. I love technology. I love women. I have a daughter named Ada whom I love. So it seems like I am more qualified than most to blog about women in tech. I was going to blog about my wife who blogs not only on our family blog but also has a very successful law blog that garners over 5000 reads a week (not bad for a blog about how not to be a prick as a client). But given that I type this blog under a nom du clavier I can’t really talk about my wife(s). So, I have to dig a little deeper.

Mary Shaw

Mary Shaw

Given that only one woman has read posted a comment on my blog, I have to give a shout out to Mary Shaw. Ms. Shaw posed a comment to an earlier post of mine where I quoted her. It turns out that she has been active in technology for longer than I have been able to legally drink alcohol. Professor Shaw has an interest in the topic of Value Based Software Engineering which appeals to me as an economist. The general idea behind VBSE is that software engineers should have an objective function that incorporates cost concerns along with functionality and feature concerns. Yeah, I know, if you are an economist this seems like a no-brainer. But as someone who has led software development teams I can attest that this mindset is not typically taught to technical students. I had to teach my developers the meaning of the term “marginal” in the context of effort and costs. At first they thought I meant marginal, as is “of minimal value.” So Iam glad that folks like Prof. Shaw are helping the smart kids at Carnegie Mellon University to think a little like economists. Because I’ve spent a lot of my career learning to think a little like a software engineer.

Side note: When Mary Shaw posted the comment earlier on this blog I thought at first it was this Mary Shaw, the suffragette and woman’s libber, who had come back from the dead to haunt me for being a misogynist drunk. Scared me so much I almost dropped my beer.

And since I know Prof. Shaw has a very good Google vanity search in place let me be the first to say, Thanks for being a women in tech, Prof. Shaw. When my daughter is older I hope she has role models like you. Right now she’s 19 months and just learned how to take a CD out of the CD player and put a new one in. But she has a keyboard, mouse, and an old Blackberry that she loves to play with. One day she’s going to be a women in and of technology too.

I also can’t resist mentioning Kathy Sierra on Ada Lovelace Day. I can’t say anything about Kathy that has not already been said dozens of times by others. Plus my wife thinks I have a crush on Kathy so I gotta watch myself. One of the many things I dig about Kathy is that she gives a presentation titled “How to Kick Ass.” Exactly! Keep kicking ass Kathy. And keep on twittering… it allows me to e-stalk you without my wife getting jealous.

One Comment

  1. Mary Shaw says:

    Why, thank you very much!

    As for the age of the 10% observation, remember that in Mythical Man Month Fred Brooks said there’s a factor of three difference between a program and a product (and another factor of three to get a system).

    Mary Shaw

    (yes, my husband has a Google alert out on me)

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