50 Who Make a Difference

The people portrayed in this article represent a diverse group selected by Baseline readers and editors for their contributions to the world of information technology. In some cases, those contributions have been made over the course of more than a generation; in other cases, in recent years.

Take, for example, Vint Cerf, co-designer of TCP/IP protocols and co-architect of the early Internet. With decades spent in the IT field, he continues to seek out new technologies and business models as Google’s vice president and chief Internet evangelist. Then there’s Adrian Holovaty, who is four decades younger than Cerf. He’s co-creator of the Django Web framework and CEO of EveryBlock, a network application for collecting and disseminating local news.

Let’s not forget Al Gore, who was derided for saying he “took the initiative in creating the Internet.” But Cerf and TCP/IP co-creator Bob Kahn said Gore did play a critical role in promoting the creation of a national information infrastructure.

Others who connect across time and space include Steve Jobs, who was kicked out of Apple, founded NeXT and later rejoined—and rejuvenated—Apple. Half a world away, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web and built the first-ever Web site on his desktop NeXTCube.

And consider the outstanding work done by CIOs such as FedEx’s Bob Carter—work that would not be possible without Cerf and Kahn’s protocols, Marc Andreessen’s browser core, Berners-Lee’s tagging system and Linus Torvalds’ code.

The world of information technology is one of innovation, leadership and collaboration, and the 50 individuals profiled in this article have played major roles in getting us where we are today—and they’ll no doubt help us get to where we want to be in the future.