Today is Ada Lovelace Day. If you aren’t familiar with the name, Ada Lovelace was the first computer programmer — ever. In the 1840s, Lovelace wrote programs for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine (the first computer). Ada Lovelace Day is meant to commemorate her contributions to technology, as well as offer an opportunity to recognize women in technology.
I wanted to take a moment to recognize the women that have helped me to find my way to where I am today: I know that I could not operate my business or work with even half of my clients without the technology that I rely on heavily. I’ve learned so much from women I’ve had the opportunity to connect with online, from how to use tools like Twitter to how to connect with clients. I’ve had a hard time deciding just who I wanted to write about.
But in the end, my decision was easy. My grandmothers, between the two of them, influenced the way I view and use technology more than any other people I know. One of my grandmothers made the switch from paper records to PC to handle the books she kept for her business and my grandfather. I remember her sitting at one of those beige machines, complete with a black screen and green letters when I was working on learning how to read. Twenty years ago, she was already a computer whiz.
My other grandmother was just as much of an early adopter. When I was discovering the wonder of email in middle school, she laughed and told me that she had given email up in 1991. I thought it was a joke at the time, but when she retired from her position at Iowa State University’s library in 1991, my grandmother had been dealing with email for years.
I’ve never worried that I wouldn’t be able to figure out some piece of technology, never been scared to try out something new. I don’t know where I would be without the mindset that I inherited from my grandmothers, but I bet it wouldn’t be nearly so far.
I know others are taking time today to talk about women in technology — you can find out more about Ada Lovelace Day on the findingada site.