James Bond plays a starring role in some of my best childhood memories, as I’m sure he does for many of you in IT. The character and the films are indeed an important part of IT culture.
I remember watching the movies with the family on Sunday afternoons, after the Grand Prix; reading the books; playing the video games; fantasizing about the cars, the gadgets, the clothes, the countries and the exotic adventures.
After talking with my CSC colleagues, I’ve learned that many are lifelong fans of 007, a character that spans more than 50 years and shows no signs of slowing down. Like me, these folks love the ground-breaking technologies imagined in the film – things like Little Nellie (the mini helicopter) in You Only Live Twice, the underwater car in The Spy Who Loved Me and the car-plane in The Man with the Golden Gun. And they like watching these ideas come to life. My Pebble watch and my Holden car that can start its engine with the press of a button always feel Bond-esque to me. (Of course, I don’t use the push-button start quite the same way he does; I find it most useful when I have to juggle two babies into the car, an adventure in itself!)
As for the characters in the films, there are many I admire and find fascinating: Money Penny, a talented organizer, multi-tasker, politician and all-round likeable person who has a worrisome (for the watcher) vulnerability about her. Then there are the evil geniuses who make up the Bond villain roster – bad guys like Jaws in Moonraker (for me, one of the scariest!), Max Zorin who wanted to blow up Silicon Valley in A View to Kill and famous female villains like Pussy Galore and Vespa Lynde.
But these characters always took a backseat to my favorite – Q. Many of you may be thinking, “Now, Sarah, did you mean M?” M is a lady, after all, and 007’s boss or, as I’d like to call it, his leader. Q is 007’s formidable brain.
M is not really an IT person, although she is very knowledgeable and a fantastic leader (For proof, see how she remains composed and fearless in that cell in The World is Not Enough.) But no, I didn’t aspire to be M as a child. It was Q I wanted to be, quirky and quick-brained, able to invent and deliver amazing technologies. With wit and knowledge, Q is also able to steer 007 in the right direction and try to keep him grounded “Try to bring this one back in one piece this time, James,” he says. This character – and the technologies he introduced – could quite possibly be what led me to this career in the first place.
But as I’ve grown in my field, I find myself becoming more like M. It’s the result of loving what I do and wanting others to succeed in the industry. With superior leadership and negotiation skills, M is able to keep the handsome 007 on task. The character provides powerful answers and tells the story in a succinct and straight-talk way, with facts and figures to back her up. If an operative is in harm’s way, she empathizes with him, showing her human side. She makes decisions only after ensuring she has all the facts, and trusts her team to do the right thing.
Without Q, M and Money Penny supporting 007, he would not survive film after film. It’s a good metaphor, perhaps, for a successful workplace that relies on cutting-edge technologies, leaders that inspire and direct success and organizational skills.
I hope over the coming years, young women and men continue to watch and be inspired by the 007 films – by Bond using the technology, M leading with it, Q inventing and delivering it and Money Penny organizing it all. And I hope, like me, they choose to grow their own skills in these different, important areas.
As for my fellow fans out there, I’d love to hear how the films inspired you. Feel free to leave a comment or send me a Tweet telling me about your favorite movie, character, villain or Bond (for me, Daniel Craig; for my husband, Sean Connery). I know you’ve got one! One more question to leave you with – is the world ready for a female 007??