November 18, 2008

Lessons from Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, U.S. Navy

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper was an amazing pioneer and futurist of computers, and here are some lasting lessons.


Computer was the first device to assist the power of the mind rather than the strength of the arm

We’re only at the beginning…


We have to build for problems and with the equipment of the future and not with what you have today.

How do you determine priorities? Instead of giving top priority to the senior squeaky wheel, base decisions on what information is most valuable.

How do you determine what information is most valuable to decision makers? 1) Time to act 2) number of people affected 3) amount of dollars involved.


We’ve got to move to the future and recognize what we can do with computing.

Ask what the cost is of not doing something.

We have got to get new ideas moving and be willing to fight for them and push them.

Never take first no as the answer. Always go back and ask again. Some people always say no the first time.

Instead of saying “but we’ve always done it that way”—listen to your dreams.


We manage things, but we lead people.

No matter what you do or what you got, you have to do it with people.

It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.


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