March 24th, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day: Celebrating Portland women in technology

Ada LovelaceToday is Ada Lovelace Day, a day to celebrate women who are excelling in the world of technology.

Who was Ada Lovelace, you ask?

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace was born on 10th December 1815, the only child of Lord Byron and his wife, Annabella. Born Augusta Ada Byron, but now known simply as Ada Lovelace, she wrote the world’s first computer programmes for the Analytical Engine, a general-purpose machine that Charles Babbage had invented.

That got me to thinking. I’m incredibly lucky to get the chance to work with a number of extremely talented and technically adept women. And I get the chance to work with many of them on a weekly basis, which is awesome. Many of you are just as lucky as me.

So I thought I’d list some of the cool female geeks in Portland whom I am proud to know:

Selena Deckelmann

She’s the co-founder of Open Source Bridge, has had code committed to PostgreSQL, attends and speaks at any number of conferences, served as one of the original board members for Legion of Tech, and provides some exemplary guidance on killing chickens.

Audrey Eschright

She’s the other co-founder of Open Source Bridge, a founding member of Legion of Tech, a celebrated Rubyist, the driving force behind Calagator, and one of the most creative thinkers in the Northwest.

Dawn Foster

She’s a wizard with Yahoo! Pipes, a sage with community development, a hardworking startup type with Shizzow, one of the founders of Legion of Tech, and from what I understand, one mean werewolf player.

All of these women have been an absolute inspiration for me. And I’m truly honored that I get the chance to work with them on a regular basis.

And just as I’m in the midst of writing this post, I see a tweet come across from Steven Walling, validating my choices—and adding Amber Case, who is amazing in her own right.

Steven Walling Ada Lovelace Day recommendations

But for as much as I love the local scene, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention two other incredibly inspiring women in the tech scene who have gained—and will continue to have—my utmost admiration.

Kathy Sierra

She’s an incredible speaker and thought-provoking writer whose Creating Passionate Users completely changed the way I thought about marketing and writing—and was a direct inspiration for Silicon Florist.

Beth Kanter

She’s taught me how to think about the power and the promise technology holds for doing good. And her Gnomedex performance, last year, remains one of the coolest technological experiments I’ve ever seen—even though it had very little to do with technology and everything to do with people.

Which women are excelling in technology in your world?

If there are women in technology who inspire you, I’d love to hear about—and I’m sure they would, too. Who are the other women in Portland technology or Silicon Forest technology who deserve some recognition? Why not take a few minutes to write something up? There’s still time.

(Image courtesy Anyaka. Used under Creative Commons)

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5 Responses to “Ada Lovelace Day: Celebrating Portland women in technology”

  1. Christina Viering says:

    Cool article.

  2. Thanks for the shout out, Rick.

    My quick list of ladies who inspire me (that aren’t on your list):

    Gabrielle Roth, @gorthx – Portland, bikes, perl, PostgreSQL, data networking
    Brenda Wallace, @br3nda – New Zealand, gadgets, Drupal, programming, conference wrangling
    Sarah Sharp, @sarahsharp – Portland, Linux kernel hacker, biker, lover of pie
    Deb Nicholson, @eximious ( – Boston, Free Software Foundation, bacon, user groups
    Sheeri Kritzer Cabral @sheeri – Boston, MySQL, DBA

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