Picking the candidates was guaranteed to create controversy among the staff, and then there was the matter of convincing the inductees themselves to show up for the awards ceremony.
I still remember spending one dinner at the Computer History Museum sitting between Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak and spreadsheet wizard Dan Bricklin, feeling both star-struck and utterly out of my realm. Or, another time, convincing one not-so-nice inductee not to leave during an especially long speech.
During the years I have been blessed to meet so many people who have truly transformed the industry - and who also turned out to be super-approachable people.
My most memorable encounters of this sort have included:
- Pixar founder Alvy Ray Smith (astonishingly sweet)
- Speech recognition and artificial intelligence pioneer Ray Kurzweil (mind-blowingly smart)
I was thrilled to learn last year that after a hiatus of several years, tech industry association CompTIA has revived this annual tradition. Even more thrilled when they asked me to help think of great nominations for the future.
I've managed to nail down three of them for certain, but I'm working on even more.
So, here's a challenge: If you know someone who deserves recognition as a pioneer of the high-technology, I encourage you to bring that person to my attention.
Being that the Hall of Fame has been around for close to 20 years now, take a moment to check the list of past inductees to see who has already been inducted.
You'll notice that the Hall of Fame doesn't just focus on technologists, developers or engineers. We are also looking for business model innovators, too.
Last year's inductees for that category are great example - they were the inventors of a peer community that gave small technology resellers a bigger voice with the vendors they were representing. The concept they created has now become the powerful VentureTech Network, representing hundreds of computer VARs, systems integrators and managed service providers who bring technology solutions to small and midsize businesses.
Have an idea for someone worthy? Send me a personal email with your rationale.
Looking forward to your suggestions!