The Most Important Women in Mobile Tech 2011

Weili Dai
Co-founder and Vice President and General Manager of Communications and Consumer Business, Marvell

Though you may not know it, Marvell’s products probably drive at least one of the pieces of technology you own. Maybe it’s the processor in your eReader, the wireless radio in your phone, or the hard drive in your laptop. And Weili Dai has been instrumental in driving Marvell from the very beginning. She immigrated to the U.S. to study at Berkeley, and in 1995 she co-founded Marvell with her husband and brother-in-law. Since then she’s helped build the company into one of the world’s largest semiconductor players.

The University of California, Berkeley named the Sutardja Dai Hall for Dai and her husband, Sehat Sutardja, for their long-term contributions to the university and commitment to education.

The Most Important Women in Mobile Tech

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  1. Claire Boonstra Says:

    Many thanks for putting me on this list! I’m actually co-founder of Layar, the Augmented Reality platform and browser. SPRXmobile was our previous company and not active anymore.

    Regarding the lack of women in tech and in leadership positions: please read reflections on the World Economic Forum in Davos – the last paragraph is on the big changes which are up ahead: lead by women!

    It’s not a question of ‘if’ anymore; rather ‘how fast’ the change will happen. Modern leadership is feminine (or has a lot of typical feminin elements which also ‘real men’ can possess). Traditional companies and old fashioned leadership styles (driven by power and control) are bound to loose the game…

  2. Techy Says:

    I think the main reason why women aren’t assoicated with C level technology jobs is the fact that not many girls (at least at my school) ever go pass iPods/Phones and barely do anything more on a computer than iTunes/Facebook.

  3. Chris (not really) Says:

    Jo Harlow should be on this list. She is after all in charge of making Nokia’s smartphone partnership with Microsoft a success.

    To quote the link above:
    Smart Devices will be responsible for building Nokia’s leadership in smartphones and will be led by Jo Harlow. The following sub-units now in Mobile Solutions will move under Smart Devices:
    – Symbian Smartphones
    – MeeGo Computers
    – Strategic Business Operations

  4. Chris (not really) Says:

    Oops I missed the next sentence if that quote:
    “To support the planned new partnership with Microsoft, Smart Devices will be responsible for creating a winning Windows Phone portfolio.”

  5. K. T. Bradford Says:

    @Techy: “not many girls (at least at my school) ever go pass iPods/Phones”


    Also, please watch the video on Sheryl Sandberg’s page. It will give you greater insight on the issue beyond what you’ve observed at school.

  6. K. T. Bradford Says:

    @Chris (not really):

    This list was put together before the Nokia/Microsoft partnership. Beyond that, our (admittedly self-imposed) limit meant we left many awesome women off the list. We could easily have added 10 more and still had a strong pool to draw from.

  7. Daniel Says:

    @K.T. Bradford No Carol Bartz? President and CEO of Yahoo? That’s a pretty important figure head in the role of feminine positions within the technology industry and just as much in the category of mobile tech. She also attended Obama’s recent tech dinner with all the other important technology figureheads of this era along with Marissa Mayer who also attended.

    @Techy Actually at my college (United Kingdom, so high school to all you Americans) there are quie a few girls who do the same course I do which is called IT Practitioners and consists of software design/development, web design/development and computer systems/networks and they all seem to be just as good as the guys if not better than quite a lot of them so your just generalizing on a presumption and essentially a stereotype. How do you know they aren’t elite hackers, developers or budding and upstart online entrepreneurs when outside of school surroundings?

  8. K. T. Bradford Says:

    @Daniel, we focused pretty heavily on the mobile field and felt that Yahoo and Carol Bartz didn’t fit as well given that restriction. But certainly a list of important women in tech in general would definitely include her.

  9. Daniel Says:

    @K. T. Bradford Fair enough, as I know Yahoo has been hovering around status quo for some time now and even declining in market share compared to that of their competitors such as Google and Bing as to why Bartz was brought in. Although I don’t think Yahoo has been sitting idle in the mobile tech field either as they have managed to concentrate on optimizing a lot of their sites and features for mobile platforms and devices with their mobile site and apps as I was wanting them to bring a mobile version of Yahoo Answers for ages and now I can finally access a quality mobile version of it. Bartz was also at Mobile World Congress last week to showcase Yahoo’s Livestand of their further development of mobile computing and optimization for mobile platforms and was also giving her vision of where mobile computing will go. Okay so they don’t have a device, OS or full retail product range out but it shows their actively doing something for mobile tech hence the reason why I personally thought she should have been included in your list. But any which way its good to see a growing female presence in this industry, although what I would like to see next is more tech figures from the black community emerging.

  10. K. T. Bradford Says:

    @Daniel, I completely agree on your last point. I wanted to include Xerox CEO Ursula Burns on this list, too, but again as far as mobile tech we felt that these women & their companies had a stronger presence. But I definitely made an effort to seek out women of color in the mobile field who were possible contenders, and will continue to do so.

  11. Daniel Says:

    @K. T. Bradford Sorry I should enunciate myself. I meant I would like to see more tech figures from the black and other ethinic communities in general whether male or female (so outside of your list). Although it is good you tried making the effort for female names of colour you could compile to your list. The only reason I say this is because been black myself and a huge fan of technology there isn’t really anybody from the black community who comes to mind as a significant tech figure or role model in the technology industry in contrast to say if you mentioned Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Ballmer. It would just be nice to see to be honest.

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