Having survived and thrived through more than two decades of tremendous changes in how women in the workforce are seen and treated, these four Internet Hall of Fame inductees offer their advice for women rising in the technology field today:
- Susan Estrada: Find your power. You are smart or you wouldn’t be in tech. You are tolerant or you wouldn’t be able to cope with your coworkers. You are a person who dared to be one of a minority – you already know you have power and confidence. Embrace your power. Find a colleague, male or female, who can be a supporter, a challenger, one that helps you embrace your power. They are out there, although sometimes they might be hard to find. In my case, I had two male bosses at different points of my career who guided me, encouraged me to make my own decisions and take the risks and rewards that were part of those decisions. People may not want you to succeed – some because you are a woman. And, if you are able to hire people, make sure that a fair amount of them are women. And, be good to your sisters in tech.
- Dorcas Muthoni: It is what it is. A largely male tech world. Take it as it is and ensure you build your relationships and support across men and...
Tracy LaQuey Parker was a young, rising female star with Cisco in the early 1990s when, in the company’s hospitality suite at an important industry conference with her CEO and several senior male executives, she got up for coffee and – without thinking – asked if anyone else wanted one.
“I realized immediately what a big mistake I had made,” she said. She had automatically put herself in a position that reinforced traditional gender and age roles, even as she was working to position herself as an equal. “But I just gave up and decided to go all in.”
She was saved, she said, when her very astute CEO stepped up and “said very clearly, ‘Thank you, Tracy, but I will get my own.’ And then he made a point of walking across the room to the drink area.’”
“It might seem like a little thing,” she said, “but it was a huge statement that he made as the CEO. I was so grateful he had awareness to do that.”
For much of their careers, the early female tech pioneers say, “giving up and going all in” was just what they did on a regular basis.
But with awareness and the right mentors, they said, women can overcome the hurdles and continue paving the way for progress and more gender equality.
Like Parker, Susan Estrada, who in 1988 founded CERFnet, one of the original regional IP networks, credits an...
A leading cybersecurity expert is bracing for a data-driven day of reckoning.
A 2014 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Paul Vixie is the founder and CEO of the California-based Farsight Security, which uses real-time contextual information about domain usage and the registration of domain names to detect threats and prevent potential cybercrimes.
Even with his company’s six-year database of more than 13 billion domain name systems to help keep personal information safe, Vixie said in a recent interview with the Irish Times that the sheer amount of data available online has the developed world on track to have some painful privacy conversations in the near future.
“America had its day of reckoning with Big Tobacco and we’re going to have to have it now with Big Data,” he said. “I don’t love that we’re having this problem but I do love that everybody finally wants to talk about it, because it’s been clear for a long time that we’re on the slippery slope toward losing the...
Although Alan Emtage was a crucial player in developing search engines and helping the Internet Society interact with commercial players as the Domain Name System was developed, he gave it up for a quieter life in the late 1990s.
“I stopped that in ‘96 because I kind of got burned out,” he said. “I was traveling 160,000-170,000 miles a year. That’s really no way to live…I remember waking up in a hotel and I honestly could not tell you what city I was in.”
Since 1998, he has been a partner at Mediapolis, Inc., a small web development company based in New York City, although he spends much of his time today in his home of Barbados.
“It’s what I call a lifestyle company,” he said. “I love to travel and love to work remotely. My parents are in their late 70s and early 80s and I want to be able to spend some time here with them.”
Now when he travels it’s for fun and to take photographs, which is his new passion.
When people find out why Alan Emtage was inducted into the Internet Society’s Internet Hall of Fame, they wonder why he’s not one of the world’s richest men. He certainly would be if he got even a penny every time someone clicked on his invention.
Known as the father of the search engine, Emtage created the first tools for helping researchers find programs on the Internet. He then went on to co-found the company that created the world’s first commercial search engine, Archie, which pioneered many of the techniques used in the public search engines most of us use multiple times every day.
Today he says, “The No. 1 question I get is why I am not a bazillionaire.” He went on to say, “But that’s not what it was. [The Internet] wasn’t a commercial entity. Nobody was making any money off the Internet. If anything, it was a huge sink. We were fighting the good fight. We knew there was potential. But anybody who tells you they knew what would happen, they’re lying. Because I was there.”
“There” was the late 1980s, when Emtage was studying computer science at McGill University in Montreal. While working on his masters, he also became part of the computer science department’s technical support staff, which he said consisted basically of five students.
With no professional IT staff and no money for new hardware and software, he said part of his responsibility was finding software on the Internet.
Emtage said he knew there were anonymous...