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

Published on: June 11, 2012

If you have been loyal reader of my blog, you know who 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 (yes, I am honored to be the 3rd).

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 article, I would like to finally give credit to the person who is long overdue for recognition – my mom. We men just don’t give enough credit to women in technology. Maybe more women would be more likely to enter technology AND stay there, if we were more professional with them and also respected and gave them credit when it is truly due (want to get worked up, like I did last week, just read NYT-“MEN invented the internet”). In my case, my mom is the reason I love technology.  I proudly consider myself a geek, and throughout my entire career I used technology as a major tool while improving companies.

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 then went on to get two PhDs, one in aeronautical engineering and one in 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 12 or 13 and hand me stacks and stack 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 very few professors in the medical field at the time to use Harvard Graphics instead of good ol’ paper, protractor, and compass.

Memories of that fluorescent green and black screen and saving data on the often 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”. Only recently have I truly realized that I grew up not only with a mom geek, but also that her fellow female geeks helped me really fall in love with technology and the potential it has to make our lives so much better.

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 just procure a picture of my 70+ year old mom with her iPad, Asus netbook, Mac laptop, workstation, and mobile data hotspot.

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