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:
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
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!