Elegy For The Founders

The founders have died when their creations were rising… It’s not the first or the last phrase of a famous novel, even tough it could be because this is precisely what happened during the last days. So the founders of some companies died right when their creations were everywhere. Which founders? What battle?
Let’s stop for a moment and analyze what happened during the last days. Please bear with me even tough it will be hard to recite the names and remember what they have done.
Of course we have to start with Steve (died on the 5th of October). He was instrumental in bringing the digital electronics era to the post-PC age into the land of the greatest consumer electronics ever created. He was so good at what he did that a one year old now thinks that a magazine is just a broken iPad (if you don’t believe this please write magazine is broken iPad). Everybody heard about him and we don’t have to wonder why he was so important. He did not eradicated some maladies like his old frenemy Gates, but he created a world in which technology can be used by everbody. He also helped creating the digital music market which he controlled for the past years.
Robert W. Galvin (died 11.10.2011) was the head of Motorola from 1959 t0 1988 and Chairman for another 2 years. Under his leadership Motorola developed into a global leader in the semiconductor business but also into the company who pioneered the mobile phones. Maybe he was not Jobs, but his influence is still felt around the world. How would you feel today without a mobile phone?

Then there is Dennis Ritchie. R.I.P. Dennis (09.09.1941-12.10.2011). In case you wonder who this guy was it’s enough to pronounce 2 words: C and Unix. The programming language and the operating system. If I will also pronounce Space Travel, you will realise that this guy was also important into bringing games into the digital age. Suffice to say that the PC had not one but 2 killer apps: one was the spreadsheet and the other was the ability to play electronic games and you will clearly see that Ritchie was one of the two guys who hold the keys to the future of the digital age back in the ’70s. The fourth thing I will pronounce when it comes to Ritchie is The C Programming Language. Still the best introduction to programming, still the most imitated. If anything, he and Ken Thompson are responsible for bringing programming and the digital age to the masses. The other 2 important persons that finished this process were of course Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Without them the world would have been uglier. The fact that 2 of them died at a distance of only several days is one of the reason why I wrote this elegy in the first place.
Three founders. Not necessarily of big companies but of a way of life. Three of the founders of our modern digital life. All connected by the passion for technology and death (within several days). And not only their death but also the death of a technology they helped destroyed: film. Yes. Old film camera are now retired. All the remaining producers of film camera (Arri, Panavision, Aaton) announced in the same time that they will let go of their old film camera business. Hollywood is entirely digital anyway. There is no need to go on. Now please go back and read the first phrase. Try to complete it…You will notice it’s very hard to do it for the simple fact there is no greater honor than to die when you have prevailed. So here’s to the crazy ones who believed in a better life: may you all rest in peace. You will be forever missed, even tough we as humans have short memory.

This entry was posted on Sunday, October 16th, 2011 and is filed under Business, Internet. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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