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GirlGeek of the Week
September 2000

Areewan Phichitphichetkul

Joanna Pineda

As a freshman at Stanford University Joanna Pineda was part of a movement that continues today and has moved beyond her alma mater’s Palo Alto, CA confines. Joanna sums up that movement: “If you go to college in the San Francisco Bay Area, you develop some sort of interest in computers and working for computer companies.” Feeding the trend were the then new and revolutionary Apple Macintoshes, sprinkled all over campus. Indeed, in every job she took after college, Joanna was considered the “computer expert” and resident girl geek.

After grad school Joanna headed to Washington where she added interface design, database development, object-oriented programming, and Web design to her geeky repertoire. Armed with these skills she later started her own firm, Matrix Group International, where she continues to make technology fun, accessible and applicable to everyone looking for a new way to do business.

When did you first discover your love and/or obsession with computers and technology?

As a grad student, I bought a 286 and just spent hours playing, trying out new programs, fighting with DOS, adding fancy charts and other graphics to my papers.

How do you earn a living?

I run Matrix Group International, which is a full-service Web solutions provider in Alexandria, VA. We partner with companies to help them develop and implement their Web action plan. My job has changed a lot in the past year. I'm less techie and more management, but I still love to surf, play with new programs, learn from the developers, sit in on client meetings and play with my cool, new gadgets.

Do you consider yourself a Geek?

I think I'm a geek wannabe. I'm not a programmer, but I read voraciously about technology, and I know enough about databases, HTML, DNS, and Cold Fusion to be dangerous. I'm perhaps more of a gadget freak nowadays. I have version 1.0 of so many things: Palm, eBook, CrossPad, wireless networking.

What is your favorite Website?

Not sure I have a favorite, but I use the following ALL the time:,,,,,

What do you do when you are not working?

I cook gourmet meals for my husband and guests, read fantasy books, or go to concerts.

What's your motto?

"Do or do not; there is no try."

Who would play you in a movie about your life?

Julianna Margulies from ER.

What would be the title of your autobiography?

"Standing Outside the Fire." At a company retreat this month, everyone on staff was asked to come up with their theme song and I chose "Standing Outside the Fire" by Garth Brooks. It’s about taking risks, experiencing life fully and not just standing outside the fire.

Who is the person you most admire?

My mom. She raised four kids as a single mom and we're all doing well. I'm also a history and civil war buff, and have always been fascinated by President Abraham Lincoln for his handling of the civil war, the hardship and sorrow he endured in his personal life, and his courage.

When and where were you the happiest?

I'm happy a lot, so this is a tough one. Getting married last January was definitely one of the happiest moments of my life. Creating Matrix and being profitable in our sixth month (last year) was definitely a high point that made me very happy.

If you could have one super power what would it be?

The ability to read people's minds. Some people are really hard to read and it would be great to know what they are thinking and feeling.


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