Her Name is Skud

Posted Friday, October 7th, 2011 at 7:24 am

Skud has been involved in Open Source, and in activism and advocacy, for years and years. She does a little of everything, having coded, written docs, managed developers, and spoken out on important topics.

She has been, or is currently, a contributor to projects ranging from Eureka to Perl to Xen to HTML::Mason.

Way back in 2007, I saw that a company named Metaweb was looking for coders for a project called Freebase. Tim O’Reilly said the Metaweb people were “building new synapses for the global brain” and the project looked cool as hell. I looked at their hiring criteria, and was scared off by the problem that involved writing some code to populate a directed graph without allowing closed cycles to form. I wish I’d at least tried; maybe I might have gotten hired.

In which case, I could have met Skud when she started working there, later in 2007. And now maybe I’d have an “I know Skud” button. Regardless, I was totally unsurprised to learn, recently, that Skud had worked at Metaweb. She’s got the kind of talent and skill that I expect would make her a natural there. (And I confess to a certain bit of envy, that she got to work on such a cool project.)

But that’s not all. She also founded the Geek Feminism wiki and built it up into the self-sustaining thing it is now. That wiki has been an invaluable resource in various things I’ve needed to write, and the Who is harmed by a “Real Names” policy? page was a superlative argument in the NymWars discussion on Google+ — back when I was still there.

Of course, Skud herself was also a major player in NymWars. Aside from writing about her experience, and noting when Google started gagging its own employees, she also performed an informal survey of people suspended from Google+, thus providing some solid data to add to the discussion.

And now she’s moving into music, which may take her outside the Ada Lovelace Day’s “women in STEM” boundaries… but when I think of women in tech, Skud is still one of the biggest names that comes to my mind.

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