On Ada Lovelace Day, many inspirations

Suw Charman-Anderson has provoked a wonderful outpouring of appreciation today for pioneers in technology (broadly defined) who have two X chromosomes. You can find details of this great idea at FindingAda.com.

I’d like to honor several women’s contributions. All of them inspire me.

Nicole Lazzaro not only designs emotion into games and offers useful models like her 4 Fun Keys, she also is incredibly generous with her time and thoughts. Sometimes that means hosting an afternoon playing the Cash Flow Game (wish I’d played that four times when I was a teenager!), other times it means listening and offering feedback on career ideas. Oh, and she’s an incredible photographer.

Mary Hodder may not have all the answers, but she asks great questions, and she has great perspective, all of which she demonstrated on a recent podcast she did with me about whether there’s a big collapse coming. After consulting to Technorati and other techie firms, Mary launched her own startup. Mary’s always looking to make sure women are represented properly at tech conferences, and she won’t mince words about it. Right on.

Kaliya Hamlin is just a few years ahead of the rest of us. As IdentityWoman, she is helping several identity management communities move forward; as an open space facilitator, she is helping groups understand that self-organization actually works. I remember the first conversation I had with her, when she pulled book after book out of her backpack, much in the style of the people who used to cram phone booths or VW bugs decades ago. Yet the books she pulled out were mostly books I’d not hear of, and all of them were interesting.

Jill Bolte Taylor‘s TED talk, My Stroke of Insight, still reverberates for me. It has many high points, but for me the peaks are when this wonderful neuroanatomist’s arm disappears into her bathroom wall, when she realizes that her left hemisphere is this chatty presence (that she doesn’t miss at all when it shuts out) and when she relates her experience of universal oneness — of bliss. I’ve heard her book about the incident is fantastic.

Esther Dyson has laser focus, breadth of insight and enough playfulness to take a turn at perhaps being a cosmonaut. She was also my mentor for five and a half years, giving me all sorts of leeway to find interesting things to write about, then holding my feet to the fire of practicality and profitability, where being “innovative” just isn’t interesting enough. Thank you, Esther!

About Jerry Michalski

Lateral thinker, itinerant troublemaker, convener, idea mill.
This entry was posted in tech and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to On Ada Lovelace Day, many inspirations

  1. Pingback: sacha chua :: enterprise 2.0 consultant, storyteller, geek » Ada Lovelace Day linkfest and wrapup

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