Several years ago, I took my first stay-cation in July. Little did I know it would become a tradition that I look forward to each year.
I was up early and found myself watching the Tour de France. I love sports but I am not a cyclist and knew absolutely nothing about the race. Being a runner, I appreciate contests where the fastest person wins. Oh, but was my view narrow.
Technology as a teacher
While it’s true that the Tour is a race from point A to point B, I didn’t understand how much it was a team sport, how the weather was a critical factor, and how riders used crucial energy conserving strategies. So I used technology to learn. I watched the race with my iPad, researching “What is a peloton and how does it aid in conserving energy?” I acquired history lessons as I looked up the chateaus and landmarks the cyclists passed, learning the geography of the countries as the race progressed.
Of great interest to me was discovering how much technology was being used within the race. Everything from the bicycle frame to the cages that hold the water bottles are carefully crafted to reduce weight. Textile science plays a role in designing aerodynamic materials for uniforms. Cyclist’s shoes must be stiff as they lose energy with the flex of the sole.
Wind is the number one enemy of a cyclist and being as aerodynamic as possible drives success. Visualizations such as Eurosport’s Cycling with Cross Winds helped me understand the strategy of cross winds in this year’s, 162km stage 11 from Carcassonne to Montpellier.
This year’s Tour was all about data in motion. Dimension Data’s mobile data center is a great example of tomorrow’s workspace. Six million pieces of real-time data captured from a small black telemetry sensor fitted under the saddles of the race’s 198 riders provided a rider’s speed at any moment, the distance between competitors, the composition of groups on the road, and local weather conditions. Technology helped me understand and appreciate history, geography, fashion, marketing, analytics, mathematics, and physics through this amazing race.
Diversity brings humanity to technology
While technology pulled me deeper into the Tour, it’s the human factor that continues to bring me back year after year. It’s still a person on that bicycle who has the courage to hurl themselves down a mountain at 60 mph, who trains for a role that best benefits the team, and who has the endurance to travel over 3500km in 21 days. Cross discipline practices are advancing technology for the Tour but technology cannot forget the importance of the humanity that interacts, uses, and creates it.
What brings humanity to our technology teams is diversity. This week, I will be attending the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) for Women in Computing founded by the Anita Borg Institute. More than 15,000 women, students, professors, and professionals will gather to affirm the notion that women are vital to building technology and driving the innovation the world needs.
I am proud to say that my company, Thomson Reuters, is a Premium Partner of the Anita Borg Institute. This year, ABI named Thomson Reuters to the 2016 Top Company for Women Technologists Leadership Index as a leader in recruiting, retaining and advancing women in technical roles.
As I prepare for GHC 2016, I cannot help but reflect on the intersection of my passion for sports and technology and how the connections have broadened my appreciation and understanding for history, geography, fashion, marketing, analytics, mathematics, and physics. Fifteen-thousand fellow women technologists, celebrating diversity in technology, gives me hope in the humanity across those disciplines.
At Thomson Reuters, we believe our strength as a business is derived from the talents, ideas and experiences of our people. Read more about our commitment to attracting and retaining diverse talent and building an inclusive workplace.
The Anita Borg Institute’s Top Companies for Women Technologists Leadership Index identifies U.S. organizations who are leaders in recruiting, retaining and advancing women in technical roles. See why Thomson Reuters is included.