MIT Corp’s Green Echoes Jobs: “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”
Diane Green’s (SM ’78) recent lecture in Kirsch Auditorium as part of the School of Engineering’s Distinguished Lecture Series was an inspiring story of her journey from childhood skipper to seasoned co-founder and CEO of a major software company, VMware.
The most striking element interwoven into all Green’s decisions along the way was a passion for what she was doing, come what may, including skipping her high school graduation for a boat race to the Bahamas and finding hidden treasure off the coast of Saipan as the computer specialist on a treasure hunt.
After high school, Green earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering. But when her post-graduation job search ended in the discovery that women weren’t allowed to work on oil rigs, she changed course, and went on to earn an SM in naval architecture at MIT. Afterward, she moved to the West Coast and worked as an engineer at high-tech companies such as Sybase and Tandem, meanwhile earning quite a name for herself, and becoming interested in windsurfing and computer science.
She followed the wind to Hawaii where she “pitched a tent” on the sand and spent most of her days windsurfing and optimizing windsurf design with her fellow enthusiasts. When her money ran out and she returned to the West Coast, she upended the windsurfing industry with some of these optimizations while working as an engineer at Windsurfing International. She earned another master’s degree in computer science around the same time at UC Berkeley, where she met her husband. A few startup teams later, Green started VMware based on the server virtualization technology her husband developed.
“If you’re doing something you enjoy, “ she said as she wrapped up her lecture, “you’ve spent your time well.” Always passionate and highly successful, Green continues to practice what she preaches.