• Charlie Whitfield

Limor Fried on Conceptualizing Adafruit

Engineering, throughout the years, has always been perceived as a predominantly male major and job. I believe that it is high time for women to push the barriers against this stereotype. Luckily, Limor Fried did just that, and even while she was still a student in college.

Adafruit is an open-source hardware company that was founded in 2005 by Fried. Its name comes from “Ladyada,” a nickname that Fried used to have online. It also pays tribute to the the 19th Century female mathematician, Ada Lovelace.

The funny thing about Adafruit is that it never always started from millions. It may be earning that amount today, but it was something that Fried had to really strive for, as most of the funding came directly from her. Yes the company is making a bountiful of millions, but money is not the primary goal that Fried has set for her company.

“We didn’t create the community and open source hardware to make money,” Fried said in a Wired cover story in 2011. “We do video shows and tutorials and teach people, and then there’s a gift shop at the end.”

The tutorials mentioned by Fried are simply being shown to introduce people to the company’s products and how to use them. There are a ton of ways to learn DIY from the company as well. You can find more videos online through the company’s YouTube channel. There, the company features segments and shows that cater to all audiences including children to introduce them to the world of tech.

Adafruit was not founded on tech alone as well. Fried started through blog posts or rather side projects that Fried had while she was still in college at MIT. She posted these projects on her student webpage. By adding a Paypal feature, she notes, she got funding for her soon to be million dollar company.

As a young CEO, Fried also has the goal of keeping close watch of her employees. She aims to permeate a family atmosphere as she quite literally resides within the comforts of her office. She wants to take the lead being a leader who works side by side her team rather than one who dictates. This is a basic attitude that she has set forth in order for a team to work even tightly together, especially in a demanding and large company such as Adafruit.

Fried still has more ideas up her sleeve, such as now wherein the company is currently working on wearables. There are two starting platforms for it called FLORA and GEMMA, as well as a blog post to complement it.

Fried has undoubtedly revolutionized the tech industry in her own way. She managed to build an empire, while at the same time staying down to earth. She had her dreams set for her even as a young girl, and they did not fail her. Today, she stands as one of the most successful female engineers and continues to rise in her platform. Let her success be an example to women everywhere.


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