The individuals on this list represent examples of some of the brightest, most creative minds during the advent of the computer age, popular technology, and beyond. They either created a new technology, added to existing technology, or promoted/manipulated our collective use of technology in ways so profound that the thought of life without it would be virtually inconceivable. To be clear, this list is not closed and/or final by any means. We chose these people as the inaugural class to a Hall of Fame that will grow immensely larger over time. It’s true that these people have profited handsomely from their work, however, it is a pittance when compared to how much our world has benefitted because of it. Please enjoy the nods!
#11. Sean Parker / “Napster”
Sean Parker was a co-founder of the highly controversial, and establishment challenging music file sharing site ‘Napster‘. After the long and protracted legal battles over the site, Sean went on to become the first president of the wildly popular site known as ‘Facebook‘. In addition, he was a cofounder of sites such as ‘Plaxo‘, ‘Causes‘, and ‘Airtime‘, among others. Sean has been nothing if not an admirable internet renegade, and visionary.
#10. Richard Branson / “Virgin Group”
‘Sir’ Richard Branson has always been at the forefront of cutting edge business. His brain child and multi-national conglomerate ‘Virgin Group‘ has grown into over 400 different spin-offs of the brand. This success has made him worth an estimated $5 Billion. His Branson School of Entrepreneurship has helped fund hundreds of internet start-ups. In addition Branson has worked tirelessly to use new technologies to help grow a ‘post-carbon economy’. Richard Branson is one of the more dynamic men to have lived.
#9. Elon Musk / “Tesla” & “Space X”
Elon Musk is a great many things, among them the CEO of ‘Space X‘, in addition to being the creative force, creator and CEO of Tesla Motors, the electric sports car line. He is also the acting chairman of ‘SolarCity‘. His ‘Space X‘ program centers around the manufacturing of advanced rockets and commuter spacecraft travel. Exciting stuff.
#8. Jack Dorsey / Christopher Issac / Evan Williams / “Twitter”
This is the trio of men who have made a contribution to social media that is profound. Since it’s July 2006 launch, ‘Twitter‘ has arguably become as much a part of everyday American life as our daily meals. It’s existence has given every user an 140 character voice (tweet) with a potential world-wide audience. The ‘everyman’ now has a virtual microphone, and the famous can interact with their fans without the usual barriers. Jack Dorsey, Christopher Issac, and Evan Williams have changed the world, and mostly for the better. #Awesome.
#7. Tim Berners-Lee / “The World Wide Web”
Ironically, it would be easy to overlook the English Computer Scientist, responsible for the invention of the World Wide Web as we know it. Tim Berners-Lee is the otherwise unassuming man who changed the way humanity communicates. That is no small accomplishment. He first proposed his ‘Hypertext Transfer Protocol‘ (HTTP) means of client and server communication in March of 1989. The world was to be changed in ways that imaginations could hardly grasp. Somehow ‘Thank you’ doesn’t seem enough does it?
#6. Larry Page and Sergey Brin / “Google”
If information is power then ‘Google‘ has given the world virtually unlimited access to it. By extension that means we all owe Larry Page and Sergey Brin an immense debt of gratitude. It could be argued that ‘Google‘ is among the greatest inventions of all-time. It would run neck and neck with the ‘wheel’, and as a benefit one could learn the entire history of the wheel using ‘Google‘. That’s true for the ‘wheel’, or with anything else of interest under the sun. We’ve come a log way from the Dewey Decimal System, huh?
#5. Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce / “The Micro-Chip / Integrated Circuit”
The heartbeat of computer activity is the ‘Microchip‘. The inventors of this critical piece of hardware are Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce. In 1958 these two electrical engineers engineered the first integrated circuit while working for Texas Instruments Jack Kilby was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in December of 2000. Though not as famous as the other people on this list, their contributions were no less important, relevant, or groundbreaking.
#4. Martin Cooper / “The Cell Phone”
Martin Cooper is the man responsible for making pay phone booths obsolete, as well as the life or death need for ‘landlines’. He is the man responsible for the Cell Phone that you might be reading this article on, and the reason that there are more cell phones in existence than human beings on the planet earth. There is no way to overstate the way cell phones have changed the course of mankind, and it’s ability to communicate effectively, and immediately. For the record the point of demarkation was 1983.
#3. Mark Zuckerberg / “FaceBook”
Fact. Human beings like FaceBook, a lot. Mark Zuckerberg created the most popular and widespread social media application in world history. Not a bad accomplishment for the Harvard University dropout. Their loss was humanities very public gain. Mark is a computer programmer, and among the most successful Internet entrepreneurs of all time, as co-founder of Facebook, it is estimated that his personal wealth hovers somewhere around $46 billion. That’s enough money to buy…well basically anything, except health, for now.
#2. Steve Jobs / “Apple”
At the time of his death in October of 2011, Steve Jobs was a legendary technology entrepreneur, and creative. He was the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc, and the largest shareholder of Pixar Animation Studios. A member of The Walt Disney Company‘s board of directors, as well as the CEO of NeXT Inc. Did you get all of that? Steve Jobs was an amazing technology icon the likes of which might never be seen again. It would be difficult to overstate the impact of Apple products such as the I-Phone, and MacBook Pro laptop computers have had on society. His contributions to technology will be felt for decades to come, and easily define Steve Jobs a true American visionary, and profound success story.
#1. Bill Gates / “Microsoft”
In 1975 Bill Gates along with partner Paul Allen founded the iconic Microsoft corporation, which went on to become the world’s largest, and most successful computer software company the world has ever known. As of 2014-2015, his estimated wealth of $100 Billion earns Bill Gates the title of ‘Richest man in the world’. The saying goes that if Mr. Gates were to stop to pick up a $20 bill, that he would in fact lose money for the effort. Wether this is true or not, what cannot be disputed is the world-wide impact of Microsoft. In addition to his business success, Bill is also at the helm of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation whose philanthropy is widely acclaimed, and making a difference in the world.