Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due – How I Fell in Love with Technology

by Jun 11, 2020Lessons Learned

Suppose you have been a loyal reader of my blog. In that case, you know whom I give credit to for my iron business ethics standards and love for growing businesses – my father, Apolinaras Sinkevicius II – diplomat, journalist, TV executive, and entrepreneur.

For those of you who may have missed it, here are the top two posts I would love you to read:

12 Rules of Business I Learned From My Father

Leadership Lessons I Learned at My Father’s Funeral

However, in this post, I would like to give credit to the long-overdue person for recognition – my mom. I do not think she ever realized how those early days in front of the 286 doing charts for her had set a path for my career. I may not be a software developer, but I have been heavily reliant on the technology being my “exoskeleton.”

My mom was equally as accomplished and as bright as my father. After high school, she decided she could care less about stereotypes and chose to study aeronautical engineering. Her specialization and thesis focused on black boxes, otherwise known as flight recorders. Yep, those indestructible gadgets you wish were never necessary. My mom was at the top of her class and was one of two women in the entire program. Then, to challenge herself, she chose to start from scratch and then go on to go all the way to Ph.D. and habilitated doctor in high-risk obstetrics. It is very likely some of you are alive because of her research.

To this day, she still keeps the ruined punch cards my siblings and I used to grab off her home office desk and chew, draw, and otherwise damage. Yes, I am talking about Fortran punch cards

But what I remember even more clearly is that she used to take me to her office right around when I was 10-ish or so and hand me stacks and stacks of data. I then entered all this information into the Harvard Graphics program and made her charts in exchange for just a little bit of time to play Test Drive (boy, did I love that game). She was one of the very few professors in the medical field to use Harvard Graphics instead of good ol’ lined chart paper and drafting pen.

Memories of that fluorescent green and black screen (and ratty color CRT later) and saving data on the unreliable 5-inch floppies are my roots in tech. Later she would take me to her colleagues in other departments at Vilnius University. I got to play with mainframes, laser rigs, and other cool stuff. It was fun to do homework and get pointers from her university friends. 

So the next time you ask me why I love tech and why I get pissed off when my fellow men spout crap like “women are not good in tech,” I should probably procure a picture of my 70+-year-old mom with her iPad, Asus netbook, Mac laptop, workstation, and mobile data hotspot. Even when she was in her final days in hospice, that iPad and iPhone got a heck of a workout. 

I also need to thank my math, chemistry, physics, and programming teachers – all women. Thanks for not cutting me any slack and putting up with me being the class clown. I was class valedictorian because of you all.

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