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GirlGeek of the Week
April 2001

Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse

Margaret's story begins with a bout of geekiness unfulfilled. She tried mightily in a college programming class 20 years ago, only to find that her punch cards produced little more than little red slips of paper reading, "Fatal Error." It was an error message she found scary and downright mean. She knew software writing would not figure into her future.

But she did not give up on computers altogether. Margaret says, "I left the compute lab, became a math teacher, and waited patiently for the Internet." When the global network arrived, her math know-how paid off, not because of the numbers, but because of the lingo. Margaret understood how students were intimidated by the cryptic vocabulary. As a trainer and staff developer, she was able to guide people through the maze of technology-related terms and got a kick out of sharing the secrets behind the E-I-E-I-O's of tech talk. "JBOD — Just a Bunch of Disks? Geek talk is FUNNY!"

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

About five years ago, I was told that I was seriously in trouble when I decided it would be very cool to dress up as the Blue Screen of Death for Halloween.

My biggest geek compliment came a few weeks ago when I was asking my husband (a very talented Webmaster) a question about relational databases and my oldest daughter said "You know, that didn't even sound like English".

How do you earn a living?

I am the assistant editor for a Web-based tech encyclopedia called whatis.com. I have the greatest job in the world! I get to seek out the latest, coolest tech terms and create plain-language definitions for the millions of users who visit our Web site.

This year, I'm able to telecommute to work each day from our house on a lake in upstate New York. My company, TechTarget.com, is located outside Boston; they build IT-specific search engines to help professionals in technology find the information they need to be successful in their jobs. I've been very fortunate to find employment with a company whose vision I believe in.

Do you consider yourself a Geek?

Absolutely — and proud of it!

What is your favorite Website?

  1. whatis.com (of course!)

  2. quickbrowse.com (This metabrowser saves me a lot of time when I'm surfing the Web for information)

  3. techtarget.com (the search-specific engines are a big help when I'm trying to find Web sources for very specific terminology)

What do you do when you are not working?

I read, nag my children, kiss my husband, and volunteer time helping with our local high school's Web development class. Next summer I want to take a class in XML.

What's your motto?

Believe

Who would play you in a movie about your life?

Haley Mills — if you have to ask, you're too young or you're a guy.

What would be the title of your autobiography?

Live The Life You've Imagined

Who is the person you most admire?

Number one? My mom. Absolutely. Lowell Thing, the creator of whatis.com, would be next on the list. Third would be Paul Gillin, VP of TechTarget. Both Lowell and Paul dreamed about building Web sites to target specific IT professional's needs and then made their dreams come true in a big way.

When and where were you the happiest?

Right here...right now. Can I add my sisters, husband and three children (Lisa, Kira and David) to that list of people I admire?

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

I would want to be able to wish myself wherever I wanted to go (and be able to take someone with me) — to travel like Samantha and Endora on Bewitched. Wouldn't it be cool to just pop into your favorite restaurant in Paris for lunch? Hmmmm...there should be a word for that, shouldn't there?

 
 
 


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