Dances with Words:
My Life as a Technical Writer

Martha J. Kolman-Davidson -
236 West Portal #143; San Francisco, CA 94127; (415) 648-4232

What Colleagues Have Said About Me

“You are a really good writer — even better than we expected when we hired you.”

“When we demo our software to prospective customers, they're impressed by the documentation we show them. You really make us look good.”
—Alberto Savoia, Founder and CTO, Agitar Software (2003, both comments made in casual conversation)

“I found the tutorial not just good, but excellent. It tackled a realistic, representative problem. It did not trivialize the concepts, nor did it ask the user to do steps without explanation. It kept me interested because I was learning as I went along. I found myself wanting to go to the next section. In my experience, tutorials tend to be lacking in that after you compete it, you’re not sure what you just accomplished or how it applies, or where to start. Not so with this tutorial. Good job!”
—Patrick Smith, Sales Engineer, Agitar Software (2003, in an email message with comments on the Agitator tutorial)

“You are also the best technical writer I've ever worked with.”
—Jerry Rudisin, CEO, Agitar Software (2004, in casual conversation)

“Our tech writing dynamo, Martha, is working on completing the doc updates for 2.1. The 2.1 release doc set will be comprised of 8 books totaling approximately 1,000 pages, an increase of about 200 pages for 2.1.”
—Curtis Olson, Chief Development Officer, Modulant (2002, for company newsletter)

“Sometimes your level of geekiness is scary.”
—Bian Tan, Senior Software Architect, Modulant (2002, in casual conversation)

“I'll miss Martha's jargon-blasting abilities when reviewing documents and presentations.”
—David Marks, Software Architect, Modulant (2002, from his farewell email when he left the company)

“[Martha's] edits of a complex document written for programmers were the most useful, insightful, and comprehensive edits that I have seen in my writing career.”
—Ruth Stento, Director of Technical Publications, Persistence Software (2001, in a letter of reference)

“This Quick Reference is impressive; we should give a copy to every student in our training classes.”
—Mike Ehling, Product Marketing Manager, Synon (1998, in an email message)

“Martha is the best technical writer I've ever met.”
—Betty Bloom, Director of Consulting Services, Natural Language (1991, on introducing me to the newest tech support engineer)

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