Thank You Apple For Making Mummy the Head of Engineering. WWDC 2017



Beyond Apple HomePod. Beyond higher RAM capacity in the new iMac. Beyond the speculation that Apple Watch will be a secondary display for a dexcom glucose monitor.

The greatest announcement in Apple’s WWDC keynote is the inclusion of a female CEO and “mummy” as the head of engineering.

When Toby Patterson who heads iPad’s software engineering began to demonstrate including a hypothetical app sales projection in his daughter’s assignment, which is about finding an idea for an app, I got excited not because users can now insert inline drawings into a typed note. At frame 116:25, under the “management team” header, Jacqueline (Toby’s daughter) is listed as the CEO and “Mummy” is listed next to Engineering and “Daddy” heads Sales & Marketing. The moment lasted fewer than 20 seconds but in those seconds, I envision a world where women are founders and are leaders in engineering. In that world, female founders and engineers are prevalent. It is the norm.

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 4.06.45 PM
Screenshot taken during the iPad demo

No, it is not about using deep learning technology to recognize handwritings and indexing it in spotlight.

The subtle implication of strategically titling these characters (Jacqueline, Mummy, etc) has a far reaching effect on women around the world. It tells a tale of when curiosity of knowledge is encouraged and shared among everyone, men and women. When women read, hear, or meet other members of the tech community that look like them and come from similar circumstances as them, they will add diversity to STEM fields and entrepreneurship. I caught the subtlety in the demonstration because I care about having higher representation of women in tech and in entrepreneurship. Apple used it as an example because it wants me to know that it, too, cares.

Last night, I was at an event hosted by a VC firm for the CEOs of its portfolio companies. The men to women ratio there was around 45:1. There were four females at the event in total. Only one of them was CEO. I was alone and it wasn’t a great feeling.

I believe that increased female empowerments today will speed the pace of innovation. In a world that Apple and other technology giants are building, we will look back and see that, not so long ago, female founders and engineers seemed all but alone, with STEM fields of study stereotypically assumed to be masculine spaces. But by allowing women see that, yes, they do and can have a seat at the table, the next generation of founders and engineers will continue to better reflect the world that they are seeking to understand.

CEO of Pathover. Forever an engineer at heart.

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