Make: Pioneer – Limor “Ladyada” Fried On WIRED Cover

Engineer, kit maker, entrepreneur, MAKE advisory board member, open source hardware pioneer Limor “Ladyada” Fried is on April’s WIRED cover. This is the first female engineer to appear WIRED’s cover (as well as the first female engineer to appear on such a high-profile tech publication that I can recall).

I met Limor exactly five years ago at South by Southwest. She’s one of the most talented people in the world, she works harder than anyone else I know, she puts more value in the world than she takes.

Limor, everyone at MAKE is so happy for you. This is a milestone for makers, for women, for engineers, and anyone who makes things for a living. No one deserves the recognition and accolades more than you for all you’ve done and will do.

If you look at the media landscape at the moment, it’s interesting to see who we hold as heroes and role models. I took this photo in the bookstore, seeing Limor on the cover makes me think we collectively have a shot at making the world a better place, if we try.

“We are what we celebrate” – Dean Kamen.

54 thoughts on “Make: Pioneer – Limor “Ladyada” Fried On WIRED Cover

    1. It was looking pretty scary in the 90’s, though. Ham radio was dying and it didn’t look like anyone was interested in doing much except assembling their own PCs. Glad to see the soldering irons plugged in again and loads of small suppliers catering to the Makers of the New Century. And unlike the 70s, there are now nerds of both genders! Makes you feel better about our future…

  1. Thank you, Limor. Thank you WIRED. Thank you, Phil for sharing the pic and the story with us. It’s a perfect representation of why it is so very awesome. 476 Ways To Look Great Everyday – really?!

    PS. Snooki…boo. Snooki straddling a rocket > makes sense – but

  2. Congrats to Limor, but that is one nastily airbrushed image. Wired, seriously? Oh, you can’t be a female role-model, geek or otherwise, without looking like you’re made of plastic

    1. hi reece, that’s not accurate. i was at the photo shoot with limor and jill greenberg the photographer uses light and camera unlike anyone i’ve ever seen, her images are amazing and almost glisten – the wired photo is very very close the original, the background was changed to red and the tool in limor’s hand was added (it was a wrench). but other than that – when you have lighting, makeup and really dramatic lighting, this is how photos (can) look – i love it, i think it looks great and captured the moment perfectly.

        1. Grats to Limor! I have no doubt there was some photoshop trickery added (what cover photo isn’t?)… But this is the name of the game when it comes to selling, like it or not: Sex Sells. Wired has a history of this (in their defense sometimes there’s a legit reason ie: the recent “boob” cover talking about breast cancer)… but almost every issue sent in the mail to subscribers also contains a advert with a naked Jennifer Aniston. Sorry… I got off point… I just wanted to mention that this exact issue was also brought up on “Good magazine’s” blog:

      1. Even if it isn’t photoshopped I still don’t think it is very representative. Look at her skin, it is perfectly smooth and blemish free. I bet 99% of the women in the world don’t have skin that good.

        To be fair it isn’t really anything to do with Limor being a woman; they do the same to men. Still just as bad though. It isn’t a bad idea for an image, obviously influenced by propaganda from WW2 when women had to take on manufacturing and engineering jobs traditionally done by men.

        What I do find interesting is the social aspect of hobby electronics and how she has been at the forefront of that. No-one really predicted the rise of internet social movements (including MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and the rest). Before this movement most sites were “look what I did” affairs, where as now we have a community that is more interested in sharing ideas and making technology accessible to people. I think it is fair to say that few can claim to have done more than Adafruit in this area.

  3. I would have preferred a lab coat, the glasses AND the lip ring. Oh well… sex sells I guess.
    Congrats Limor AND Phillip. (You are part of the team that is Adafruit after all. :) )

  4. It is unfortunate, but if Limor looked like your typical model she would have been on the cover a long time ago…

  5. It is unfortunate but if Limor looked like Jessica Biel, she would have been on magazine covers a long time ago…

  6. Big congrats to Limor, I really can’t think of a better spokesgeek for the current DIY/Maker revolution going on. First the FastCompany props and now the cover of Wired what’s next for the hat trick? My guess: a profile in The Economist’s next tech quarterly, they already did an impressive cover story on 3-D printing I would think interviewing the founder of Adafruit industries is logical follow up in stories on grassroots engineering.

    So am I the only one that doesn’t recognize anyone else on the other magazine covers?



    Also what the hell is a Snooki? Or am I better off not knowing?

  7. …and which of the 6 people (oops! 5 people and one Snooki) would be most useful in a post-apocalyptic world? Now that’s a rhetorical question! Although Jeter might be somewhat useful for clubbin’ them zombies…and Snooki would be safe from them (no brains)

  8. So I have to read the magazine to read about what wired means by the DIY revolution I guess. DIY has always existed, and always will exist, DIY in itself isn’t revolutionary. With respect to Limor, Women DIYers, outside the “womanly” crafts is nothing really new. Limor, Jeri Ellsworth, and others are at a time the internet allows easy self publishing, wide distribution.

  9. Isn’t the first step to true equality not playing up our gender? I get these vibes like they’re saying “look, a girl can do it too”

    1. really? she’s the one of the top engineers in the maker world, regardless of gender. it’s still a wonderful milestone to celebrate that she’s on the cover.

    2. I’ve not read the piece (I’ve been looking for it on news stands in Ireland since last week), but I don’t those vibes at all. None of the text seems to indicate that, and the homage is iconic to both feminism and industry.

      I think when you’re next to magazines like Aprils Wired is that vibe is inevitable. Simply put, the same photo put on the cover of a magazine has different vibes when put on a newspaper cover or a book cover, because its surrounded by other magazines. Judge for yourself.

  10. I’m a little saddened to see the amount of male commenters clamouring to have their say on LadyAda’s appearance without showing any acknowledgement or interest in why she’s famous enough to be on the woman on the cover of a hacker tabloid. Y’know. Working smarter and harder than anyone else.

    She’s as close as you’ll get to meeting Tony Stark – only without all the string of character defects.

    Is a woman acting like a woman that unforgivable???

    1. Hmm, if anything I’d say that more female engineers (including Limor) could do with acting a little MORE like a woman. I speak from experience, many of the female engineers I worked and attended school with did not even try to look like women…

        1. Unfortunately, it is still the case where girls are not encouraged to pursue careers in science and engineering. Those that do are considered to be the “nerdy ones” who in many cases perpetuate the stereotype of the typical engineer.

          I do wish that one day we can look into a Social Sciences classroom and into an Engineering classroom and not be able to tell what kind of class it is just by looking at the students…

  11. I totally agree! I always feel sad when I hear young girls admiring models, or celebrities without any balancing role models for doing good work and learning how to think. As a maker myself, it gives me hope that more women will get recognition in the media. I really did think of “Wired” as a boys club sometimes. We really do have to encourage everyone to make and recycle if our world is going to change in any real way.

  12. I don’t have many heroes, but LadyAda is one of them. I’m certain she’ll one day be regarded as one of the great engineers and educators of our time. The fact that she’s female and attractive is completely beside the point.

    Limor has made a tremendous effort to help us all, through extensive, patient explanations that demystify technology, through loving workmanship and attention to detail, through excellent and accessible design, and by just caring enough to be involved in what matters. I’ve built almost all of her projects and taken her many lessons to heart, and I just want to say “Thank you LadyAda, you’ve made my world a better place!”

  13. What we all need to do is to encourage our children (both boys and girls) to pursue the sciences and engineering. I can’t stand it when I hear parents say “oh but I was terrible at math and science too, that’s why she’s like that. But she’s a great athlete!”. Ugh.

    1. I think encouraging kids to do what they want, regardless of whether its ballet or nuclear physics, might be a better philosophy. When I see manic eyed parents dragging young girls to pagents and saying things like “Off course she loves it! I did it when I was her age and I loved it!” the primative part of my brain that still worries about sabre-tooth tigers kicks in and tells me “Get away, danger, DANGER.”

      I’d like to see more women in engineering, but I think there’s a danger of arbitrary judgement kicking in and young women going into a field they aren’t passionate about for the wrong reasons. That isn’t an improvement.

      Showing them why its awesome and inviting them to join in on the other hand, and then letting them decide for themselves (the hard part), and you never know. We might wind up with affordable flying cars yet : )

  14. I just found this article.
    She is an example for all girls. I am going to show this article to my maker daughters (both love the Maker Faire in Detroit).

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