• Mark Losh

Gratitude to the Founders of Tech


I'm grateful to those who proceeded me.

Today's tech "Rock stars" are multi-Billionaires and receive 24 hour, always-on, social media "Likes," "re-tweets," and cable news network notoriety - they should. But I'd like to hit the "pause" button, for just a moment, and say, "Thank You" to the people who invented, developed, and cultivated the various technologies, markets, and business models which have led most of us to livelihoods and professional experiences unimaginable in preceding generations.

I don't pretend to know all, (and by making a list, I'm certain I'll leave out many worthy of praise, and tick off others) but here's a short list of folks that come to mind when I reflect on such:

Inventors:

Robert Noyce - Co-Founder of Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957, and Intel in 1968

Gordon Moore - Moore's Law has been a driving force behind economic expansion since 1965

Grace Hopper - Led the team that developed COBOL, team member that developed UNIVAC-1

Martin Goetz - Awarded first software patent; Father of "Third-party software market"

Edgar "Ted" Codd - IBM Scientist who invented the relational model for database management

Robert Metcalfe - "Father" of Ethernet, Co-Founder of 3Com

Martin Cooper - "Father" of the mobile phone - could he possibly have imagined the impact?

Vint Cerf - "One of the Fathers of the Internet", advocate for humanitarian causes (yeah!)

Timothy Bernes-Lee - Inventor of WWW (World Wide Web), proposed HTTP protocol

Business Leaders:

Thomas Watson, Jr. - Led IBM into the mainframe computer business; oversaw IBM/360 project

"Ross" Perot - Founded Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in 1962, and Perot Systems in 1988

Andy Grove - Engineer turned CEO who helped drive the chip and Wintel to mass production

Dave Packard & Bill Hewlett - Fathers of "The HP Way" - a culture respecting its employees

Bill Gates - Understood the value of OEM SW licensing & dominance in Wintel market

Steve jobs - The relentless pursuit of perfection made nerdy cool

Larry Ellison - His shear force created 2nd largest ISV and dozens of successful entrepreneurs

James Clark & Marc Andreesen - Commercial browser created Internet boom; nearly toppled MS

Venture Capitalists:

Georges Doriot - ARDC Founder, considered Father of venture capital

Arthur Rock - NY native, relocated to CA in 1961. Funded Intel, Apple, National Semi, Teledyne

Laurence Rockefeller & Venrock - Pioneer in venture capital using Rockefeller family resources

Bill Draper lll - Co-Founded Draper & Johnson in 1962. Founded Sutter Hill Ventures in 1972

Eugene Kleiner, Tom Perkins - Co-Founders of Kleiner Perkins in 1973

Don Valentine - Founded Sequoia Capital in 1972. In 1978, invested $150K in Apple

Market Disruptor Extraordinaires:

Jeff Bezos - Transformed retail through continual innovation and investment in technology

Marc Benioff - "No more software" battle cry in 2002 transformed Enterprise Software

In December of 1985, I was nearing graduation from Purdue. I made a decision to pursue work for Applied Data Research (ADR). I wanted to work for the man, Marty Goetz, and the Company (ADR), that started the software industry. I was fortunate that Don Graham, then Mid Atlantic, Regional Vice President at ADR, took a chance on a "kid from college" and hired me into an Account Manager position - unheard of at the time. "Thank You, Don." I've been fortunate in the 30 years since - I've met or talked with nearly half of these luminaries or their proteges.

Many of these men and women have passed. Most are retired. A few remain active. They all deserve rest and our sincere appreciation.

In no small way, I'm grateful to those who laid the groundwork as pioneers, visionaries, mentors, and friends to so many of us.

Not that today was special - I just hit the "pause" button and gave thanks. Perhaps you can do the same - an email, phone call, LinkedIn message, or just look to the heavens and say "Thanks."

As always, I'm interested in your experiences, thoughts, and continued success to all!

#Leadership #Mentors #Visionaries

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