4. Who has been the most influential person in your life? Why?
Impossible to answer. My mother, who was an energetic entrepreneur;
my dad who is a fearless negotiator. My philosophy professor at
taught me scepticism. My first boss at the BBC - Piers Plowright -
took risks. My first husband who was never afraid. My friends who have
me going. David Wetherell who learns faster than anyone on the planet.
first CTO who taught me everything I know about technology. My family
are forgiving but don't accept excuses. W.H.Auden and his fascination
how things work. Dickens and his insight into how things don't work.
Beethoven and I.M. Pei who both understood that simple is the hardest
5. What lessons have you learned that would be valuable to women beginning their careers in technology?
- It isn't about what's right and wrong in technology - it is about
- There will always be trade offs - mostly between perfection and
timeliness. Get used to it.
- Users can't see the technology.
- The PC doesn't know you're a woman.
- Women have incredible endurance and technology doesn't happen
- You can do it.
6. What new technology do you believe will have the most positive impact on the world in the next 20 years? The most negative impact?
All great things have a down side. The printing press permits
pornography and hate propaganda. The radio makes dumb talk and bad music
ubiquitous. Cars have wrecked our environment. Planes destroy community.
happens. There is no such thing as the unambivalently good technology. I
don't think it's a fruitful way of looking at the remorseless
Margaret Heffernan answers these questions:
1. What was your first job in technology?
2. Who has been your most significant mentor? Why?
3. What has been your greatest challenge and what strategies did you use to overcome obstacles?
4. Who has been the most influential person in your life?
5. What lessons have you learned that would be valuable to
women beginning their careers in technology?
6. What new technology do you believe will have the most positive
impact on the world in the next 20 years? The most negative impact?
On the lighter side:
1. If you could have dinner with any 2 people (living or not),
who would they be?
2. What was the last book you read? What books do you love to recommend?
3. If you were to choose a different profession, what would it be?
4. What is your definition of success?