40 People Who Changed the Internet
The world has become tightly connected since the internet. The web itself has replaced the practice of reading newspaper. Most of us now communicate through e-mails instead of paper and pen. We now watch networks or movies online, it has even become a wide business venture, so much so we can now make purchase and pay our bills through the internet. The web has also transformed friendships through various social media. It also provides us the possibility to reconnect with people from our childhood and it can be a life changing event.
Having a great idea is one thing. Turning that idea into a booming company through innovation and execution is what that matters most. Here, these are the people who have the biggest impact on the direction of the web: past, present, and future. They changed the internet and revolutionized the way we lead our lives today. Just imagine the world without internet. You can’t because it has become our daily life.
Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn
Father of the Internet.
The Father of Internet Vint Cerf, together with Bob Kahn created the TCP/IP suite of communication protocols. a language used by computers to talk to each other in a network. Vint Cerf once said that the internet is just a mirror of the population and spam is a side effect of a free service.
Inventor of WWW.
Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. He wrote the first web client and server and designed a way to create links, or hypertext, amid different pieces of online information. He now maintains standards for the web and continues to refine its design as a director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
Father of Email.
Programmer Ray Tomlinson, the Father of Email made it possible to exchange messages between machines in diverse locations; between universities, across continents, and oceans. He came up with the “@” symbol format for e-mail addresses. Today, more than a billion people around the world type @ sign every day.
The birth of eBooks.
Michael Hart started the birth of eBooks and breaks down the bars of ignorance and illiteracy. He created the Project Gutenberg and was considered world’s first electronic library that changed the way we read. The collection includes public domain works and copyrighted works with express permission.
The first Email spam.
Spamming is an old marketing technique. Gary Thuerk, sent his first mass e-mailing to customers over the Arpanet for Digital’s new T-series of VAX systems. What he didn’t realize at the time was that he had sent the world’s first spam.
The first emoticon.
Scott Fahlman is credited with originating the first ASCII-based smiley emoticon, which he thought would help to distinguish between posts that should be taken humorously and those of a more serious nature. Now, everybody uses them in messenger programs, chat rooms, and e-mail.
Netscape Navigator. (wikipedia)
Marc Andreessen revolutionized Internet navigation. He came up with first widely used Web browser called Mosaic which was later commercialised as the Netscape Navigator. Marc Andreessen is also co-founder and chairman of Ning and an investor in several startups including Digg, Plazes, and Twitter.
Internet Relay Chat, IRC. (wikipedia)
Jarkko Oikarinen developed the first real-time online chat tool in Finland known as Internet Relay Chat. IRC’s fame took off in 1991. When Iraq invaded Kuwait and radio and TV signals were shut down, thanks to IRC though up-to-date information was able to be distribute.
Robert Tappan Morris
First Worm Virus.
The concept of a worm virus is unique compare to the conventional hacking. Instead of getting into a network themselves, they send a small program they have coded to do the job. From this concept, Robert Tappan Morris created the Morris Worm. It’s one of the very first worm viruses to be sent out over the internet that inadvertently caused many thousands of dollars worth of damage and “loss of productivity” when it was released in the late 80s.
David Bohnett founded GeoCities in 1994, together with John Rezner. It grew to become the largest community on the Internet. He pioneered and championed the concept of providing free home pages to everyone on the web. The company shut down the service on October 27, 2009.
The first Wiki.
American programmer Ward Cunningham developed the first wiki as a way to let people collaborate, create and edit online pages together. Cunningham named the wiki after the Hawaiian word for “quick.”
Sabeer Bhatia founded Hotmail in which the uppercase letters spelling out HTML-the language used to write the base of a webpage. He got in the news when he sold the free e-mailing service , Hotmail to Microsoft for $400 million. He was awarded the “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Draper Fisher Jurvertson in 1998 and was noted by TIME as one of the “People to Watch” in international business in 2002. His most exciting acquisition of 2009 was Jaxtyr which he believes is set to overtake Skype in terms of free global calling.
The Drudge Report. (wikipedia)
Matt Drudge started the news aggregation website The Drudge Report. It gained popularity when he was the first outlet to break the news that later became the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin
Larry Page and Sergey Brin changed the way we search and use the Internet. They worked as a seamless team at the top of the search giant. Their company grew rapidly every year since it began. Page and Brin started with their own funds, but the site quickly outgrew their own existing resources. They later obtain private investments through Stanford. Larry Page, Sergey Brin and their company Google, continue to favor engineering over business.
Bill Gates founded the software company called “Micro-Soft”. a combination of “microcomputer software.” Later on, Bill Gates developed a new GUI (Graphical User Interface) for a disk operating system. He called this new style Windows. He has all but accomplished his famous mission statement, to put “a computer on every desk and in every home”. at least in developed countries.
Steve Jobs innovative idea of a personal computer led him into revolutionizing the computer hardware and software industry. The Apple founder changed the way we work, play and communicate. He made simple and uncluttered web design stylish. The story of Apple and Steve Jobs is about determination, creative genius, pursuit of innovation with passion and purpose.
David Filo and Jerry Yang
David Filo and Jerry Yang started Yahoo! as a pastime and evolved into a universal brand that has changed the way people communicate with each other, find and access information and purchase things. The name Yahoo! is an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle,” but Filo and Yang insist they selected the name because they liked the general definition of a yahoo: “rude, unsophisticated, uncouth.”
Brad Fitzpatrick created LiveJournal, one of the earliest blogging platforms. He is seen on the Internet under the nickname bradfitz. He is also the author of a variety of free software projects such as memcached, used on LiveJournal, Facebook and YouTube. LiveJournal continues today as an online community where people can share updates on their lives via diaries and blogs. Members connect by creating a “friends list” that links to their pals’ recent entries.
Shawn Fanning developed Napster, a peer-to-peer file-sharing program designed to let music fans find and trade music. Users put whatever files they were willing to share with others into special directories on their hard drives. The service had more than 25 million users at its peak in 2001, and was shut down after a series of high-profile lawsuits, not before helping to spark the digital music revolution now dominated by Apple. Napster has since been rebranded and acquired by Roxio.
Peter Thiel is one of many Web luminaries associated with PayPal. PayPal had enabled people to transfer money to each other instantly. PayPal began giving a small group of developers access to its code, allowing them to work with its super-sophisticated transaction framework. Peter Thiel cofounded PayPal at age 31 and sold it to eBay four years later for $1.5 billion.
Pierre Morad Omidyar
Pierre Omidyar set up an online marketplace that brought buyers and sellers together as never before, and pioneered the concept of quantifying the trustworthiness of an anonymous user. In building his auction empire, Omidyar counted on the power of the individual. Omidyar’s greatest strength is his insight into human nature. He understood that people would buy just about anything. one man’s junk is, in fact, another’s treasure.
Jimmy Wales founded the world’s largest encyclopaedia which carries articles that can easily be edited by anyone who can access the website. It was launched in 2001 and is currently the most popular general reference work on the Internet.
Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake.
Photosharing website has become a part of everyday online life for millions of people. Stewart Butterfield, who with his wife Caterina Fake created Flickr that was born out of an online multi-player game that seemed to sum up everything the Web 2.0 people were trying to do. Flickr came along with an idea that you no longer had an album. Instead, you had a photo stream. Yahoo later on acquired Flickr in 2005.
Jonathan Abrams built Friendster, together with Cris Emmanuel, offering many tools to help members find dates. He took the idea from Match.com. It’s the first social network to hit the big time and go mainstream. Members create profiles listing favorite movies and books (and dating status) and link up to friends, who linked to their friends, and so on.
Niklas Zennstrom co-founded the fastest growing communications trend in history called Skype. It offered consumers worldwide a free software for making superior-quality calls using their computer and expanded its offering for Linux, MAC & PC and mobile/ handheld devices.
Bit Torrent. (wikipedia)
If Napster started the first generation of file sharing , Bram Cohen changed the face of file sharing by developing BitTorrent which has a massive following of users almost instantly. It uses the Golden Rule principle: the faster you upload, the faster you are allowed to download. BitTorrent breaks up files into many little portions, and as soon as a user has a piece, they instantly start uploading that part to other users. So almost everybody who is sharing a given file is simultaneously uploading and downloading pieces of the same file.
Reid Hoffman, a former executive vice president at PayPal, created LinkedIn as a professional social network allowing registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people they know and trust in business. Members can search for jobs, trade resumes, find new hires and keep up with the competition.
Matt Mullenweg founded the world’s most used open source blogging and the greatest boon to freedom of expression known as WordPress. Some of the most popular websites run on WordPress are Techcrunch, Huffingtonpost, Mashable and more.
Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim
Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim met as early employees at PayPal. They later started the internet’s most popular video-sharing site YouTube which is broadcasting more than 100 million short videos daily on myriad subjects. When creating YouTube, the three divided work based on skills: Chad Hurley designed the site’s interface and logo. Steve Chen and Jawed Karim divide technical duties making the site work. They later split management tasks, based on strengths and interests: Chad Hurley became CEO; Steve Chen, Chief Technology Officer. A year and a half later, Google acquired YouTube for a deal worth $1.65 billion in stock.
Craig Newmark started a site that dramatically altered the classified advertising universe called Craiglist. It was an object of fear for newspapers who felt threatened by the free-for-all classified advertising site. It began as an e-mail list for Newmark’s friends in the Bay Area. Since then, it has grown into an online database for classified ads for those seeking everything from housing to romance.
Julian Assange founded a website dedicated to publishing classified documents stolen from around the world. He designed an advanced software for the Wikileaks shielding the identities of the thieves who steal these documents by completely erasing their identities before spreading the stolen documents to servers ‘all over the world’. As a result, no one can trace who’s given him what or when. The site depicts itself as the “uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis” and has developed to be regarded as the most extensive and safest stage for whistleblowers to leak to.
People generally check their preferred sites every now and then to see if there’s anything new. FeedBurner founder Dick Costolo created a news aggregator that automatically downloads an update that is visible in the places that interest you. An RSS feed, short for Really Simple Syndication, delivers those latest bits of media from their creator’s website to your computer. FeedBurner was later acquired by Google in 2007. Currently, Dick Costolo is Twitter’s Chief Operating Officer making twitter the next generation RSS.
Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook to help students in universities keep in touch with friends. The “status update” started its rebirth in Facebook, where user after user tell their extended network of trusted friends what they’re doing. They also show off photos, upload videos, chat, make friends, meet old ones, join causes, groups, have fun and throw virtual sheep at one another. The site, which is believed to have 500 million registered users worldwide, has only four remaining countries left to conquer: Russia, Japan, China and Korea, according to Zuckerberg. Facebook is now twice as huge as Rupert Murdoch’s MySpace.
Jack Dorsey created Twitter to allow friends and family know what he was doing. The world’s fastest-growing communications medium let users broadcast their thoughts in 140 characters or less and repost someone else’s informative or amusing message to their own Twitter followers by Retweeting. No one thought people would want to follow strangers, or that celebrities would use Twitter to tell fans of their activities, or that businesses would use Twitter to announce discounts or launch new products.
Bonus: 3 More…
4chan message board. (wikipedia)
Christopher Poole, known online as “Moot,” started a message board called 4chan where people are free to be wrong. Unlike most web forums, 4chan does not have a registration system, allowing users to post anonymously. Moot believes in the value of multiple identities, including anonymity, in contrast to the merge of online and real-world identities occurring on Facebook and many other social networking sites.
Del.icio.us is a more sophisticated multiuser version of Muxway, wherein his first implementation of tags. Joshua Schachter began del.icio.us as a way for people to store and share their favorite Web-browsing bookmarks online. Instead of organizing them himself, or even creating a standard taxonomy of categories, Schachter used something called user tagging-people simply labeled the bookmarks by any name they wanted, and eventually the group as a whole effectively voted on them by either adopting those tags themselves or rejecting them. And now del.icio.us has been gobbled up by Yahoo, which hopes to extend the tagging principle to all sorts of its services.
Jeff Bezos founded the world’s biggest online store known as Amazon, which was originally named Cadabra Inc. He made online shopping faster and more personal than a trip to the local store. The company now introduced Kindle allowing readers to download books and other written materials and read them on this handheld device.
Author: Aurora Gatbonton
Au a.k.a. AwGatsby is a photographer and portrait artist who works full time creating web content for the Web.