What do you want the first Finding Ada event to be?

Now that Ada Lovelace Day is behind us, it’s time to think about how to go about nurturing women working in technology. There are many groups already doing this, but I think it’s fair to say that it’s not a saturated market. I have already set a date with NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, for our first event which will be on June 10th.

My question to you is, what event would you like to see? My current ideas are:

  • Meet the Conference Organisers: A short talk on what conference organisers are looking for in a speaker, how to bring yourself to their attention and how to get the right experience, followed by a “speed dating” session women can meet the different conference organisers.
  • Meet the Press: A discussion about the way that women in technology raise their own profile in the media, a few tips on dealing with the press, and a chance to talk to different tech journalists.
  • Presentation Skills: A talk on how to give good presentations, followed by lightning talks (strictly 5 minutes each) or PowerPoint Karaoke.

Which of those ideas do you most fancy? Or do you have other ideas that you’d like to float, whether for themes or session speakers? I’m hoping to make a decision on this very soon, so please chip in!

Ada Lovelace Day round-up

Wow, it’s a month since Ada Lovelace Day, and I’m still rather amazed at how well it went. My personal life has been incredibly hectic, with moving house and a trip to the US getting in the way of my finding the time to write this post. But sitting on a plane back to the UK seems like a good time to write a round-up!

Ada Lovelace Day was a phenomenal success, which it wouldn’t have been without you! We ended up with 1,980 people signed up to the pledge, well over 1,100 blog posts in the Collection and countless more scattered across the internet. Over coming weeks I’ll be tidying up the database, removing duplicates and deleting the spam that it has sadly attracted. At the moment, the top four women were:

  1. Ada Lovelace
  2. Grace Hopper
  3. Hedy Lamarr
  4. Barbara Liskov

But that might change when we’ve cleaned things up!

We also received a phenomenal amount of media attention, including a lot of coverage in the press:

Plus Computer Weekly put Ada Lovelace their cover, I appeared on Radio 5 Live and the BBC News Channel (video to come – it’s currently stuck on the hard drive of a non-functional computer).

Overall, I think we can count the first ever Ada Lovelace Day as a massive success! But I could not have done it on my own. I really do need to thank:

We will certainly be running another Ada Lovelace Day next year, and I hope that we will reach even more people. But that’s not the end of things. We have teamed up with NESTA to put on an event, currently scheduled for June 10th, which I’ll be blogging about forthwith. Keep an eye on our Twitter account or join our mailing list to keep yourself up to date with all our news.

An interview with Ada Lovelace

This morning, I went to the Science Museum to talk to Ada Lovelace herself about Charles Babbage, his computing machines, and her vision and brilliance.

Ada was a most fascinating lady, and I hope that because of today, more people will know not just about her, but about all the other amazing women in technology.

I’d like to thank Steph Troeth and Steph Booth for helping me with Ada Lovelace Day. Both of them helped me to figure out what shape the campaign was going to take and were then invaluable in kick-starting it. Without their help and encouragement I’m not sure that Ada Lovelace Day would have happened at all. Thanks also go to Vicky Riddell at the BBC for deciding to run with the story on the BBC News Channel and doing such an amazing job of getting so many smart techie women on the news.

I also need to thank two men, firstly Tony Kennick, who very kindly cobbled together the Ada Lovelace Day Collection mash-up, and who put up with my last-minute-ness with grace and good humour.

And secondly, my wonderful husband Kevin who has provided me with endless support and help over the last three months, who shot the video above, and who came with me to BBC Television Centre this evening and helped me calm my nerves before my interviews.

Thanks are also due to everyone who has taken part. Ada Lovelace Day was a community effort, with everyone playing an important role in making it the success it is.

But it’s not over yet! We have another 15 hours before the day that is Ada Lovelace Day is finally over as midnight arrives in the Baker Islands, and we have a lot more blog posts still to be added to our Collection.

Even then, it’s not over. We have our first event booked at NESTA for 10th June – on which more to come – and I have a few other ideas up my sleeve too. So don’t go away – keep FindingAda.com in your RSS reader, or follow us on Twitter, and keep up-to-date with our news.

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Ada Lovelace Day has begun in Kiribati!

It’s 3am in Kiribati, 2am in New Zealand and 1am in Fiji, which means it’s now 24th March and Ada Lovelace Day has started!

Some people have already blogged, and we’re beginning to see posts trickling into our Ada Lovelace Day Collection mash-up. We have pins on our map from New Zealand, Israel, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK! When you have published your contribution, please add it to our database.

You can view the posts on the map, in a list, by language, or by subject, i.e. the woman or women blogged about. It’s going to be fascinating to see how this shapes up over the course of the next 47 hours – due to various international date line shenanigans, one day lasts 50 hours online!

In other news, Ruth Wilson of the UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology emailed me to let me know that their guest blogger from today is the great-great-great niece of Ada – Honora Smith, Operational Research and Management Science at the University of Southampton.

If you’re going to the Game Developers Conference, look out for Celia Pearce and her colleagues at Ludica who have created an Ada Lovelace badge that they’ll be giving away throughout the event. The badges (or buttons, if you’re American!) are free but they are accepting donations to cover the cost. You can also buy online.

NetBehaviour are inviting all women who work in media arts and net art to join their email list for a week between 23rd and 30th March to talk about inspirational women. At the end of the week they will collate all of the posts in the thread and feature them on Furtherfield.org.

And there’s more from the Science Museum on Ada Lovelace Day:

Finally, if you signed the pledge but don’t have a blog of your own, please feel free to write your piece in the comments on this Finding Ada blog post, which we’ve set up specifically for your convenience:

Don’t forget to add your comment permalink, found by mousing-over the comment timestamp, to our mash-up.

We have 1,527 people signed up to the pledge so far, which is a lot more than I ever imagined would take part. Thank you all for supporting Ada Lovelace Day – it wouldn’t have happened without you!

Ada Lovelace Day home for lost posts

If you don’t have a blog of your own, but you still want to take part, please feel free to leave your post here, in the comments. We want to provide an opportunity for everyone to participate, regardless of whether or not you have your own blog!

Don’t forget to add your comment permalink (which you can find by mousing over the timestamp of the comment once you’ve published it) to our Ada Lovelace Day Collection mash-up. The mash-up will let you view the posts on the map, in a list, by language, or by subject, i.e. the woman or women blogged about. We already have pins on the map from New Zealand, Israel, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK!