Interview with Dame Stephanie Shirley
I had the great fortune to interview Dame Stephanie “Steve” Shirley for the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley. A child refugee from Nazi Germany, she went on to found a feminist software startup at a time when few people even knew what software was, and even fewer cared about feminist business models that put women’s needs first. She and her mostly-women employees wrote some of the most important software for 20th century British industry and government–including programming the black box flight recorder for the Concorde. She eventually became a billionaire and now focuses on philanthropy–particularly autism related causes. She was also the founding donor of the Oxford Internet Institute. Listen & watch here or read the transcript here. The interview was conducted over video link between her home in London and my home in the US. It runs about an hour.
For a much longer and more exhaustive oral history (many hours) check out Dr. Tom Lean’s interview with her for the British Library Oral History “voices of science” collection.