We’ve all heard of tech giants Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), and Elon Musk (Paypal, SpaceX, Tesla Motors). They seem to be at the forefront of all cutting edge software, their names and faces on every technology news article.
While it might seem like these big names are running the show when it comes to modern innovation in the tech world, there are men who have had a far greater impact on the development of modern technology, but whose names you never see on magazine covers. These men were shaping the future of technology since before Mark Zuckerberg was born.
Before the word “internet” was invented, German businessman and philanthropist Hasso Plattner co-founded multinational software corporation SAP in 1972, today one of the largest and most influential software companies in the world. Though far from a household name, Plattner was recognized by Time Magazine Europe as the #1 most important and influential IT personality in 2001. His venture capital fund Hasso Plattner Ventures supports up-and-coming entrepreneurs in developing new software, with 17 companies currently in its portfolio.
Entrepreneur and computer scientist James Clark developed one of the first 3D computer graphics programs in 1979 called the Geometry Machine. He also launched Netscape, one of the world’s first internet browsers, setting internet surfing standards we still adhere to today.
Howard Tullman has founded over a dozen high-tech companies that went on to revolutionize fields from PC games to educational software. He specializes in revamping struggling high-tech companies, and has served as CEO at Xceed Group, Tunes.com, Career Network, and now 1871.
Paul Graham launched a software revolution by starting the first software as a service company, Viaweb, in 1995. He continues to have an influence on the development of new technology today through his company YCombinator, which has founded such startups as Reddit, Airbnb, and Dropbox.
Through their founding leadership roles in various tech companies and their generous philanthropy, these four men have had an inestimable impact on the development of technology in the past several decades.
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