The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

Walter Isaacson

Language: English

Pages: 560

ISBN: 1476708703

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Following his blockbuster biography of Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson’s New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed The Innovators is a “riveting, propulsive, and at times deeply moving” (The Atlantic) story of the people who created the computer and the Internet.

What were the talents that allowed certain inventors and entrepreneurs to turn their visionary ideas into disruptive realities? What led to their creative leaps? Why did some succeed and others fail?

The Innovators is a masterly saga of collaborative genius destined to be the standard history of the digital revolution—and an indispensable guide to how innovation really happens. Isaacson begins the adventure with Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s. He explores the fascinating personalities that created our current digital revolution, such as Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, John von Neumann, J.C.R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Robert Noyce, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Tim Berners-Lee, and Larry Page.

This is the story of how their minds worked and what made them so inventive. It’s also a narrative of how their ability to collaborate and master the art of teamwork made them even more creative. For an era that seeks to foster innovation, creativity, and teamwork, The Innovators is “a sweeping and surprisingly tenderhearted history of the digital age” (The New York Times).

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He wrote a simple software script that automatically converted his posts into the proper format. It was a little hack that had a transforming effect. “The idea that I could have a thought and I could type in a form and it would be on my website in a matter of seconds completely transformed the experience. It was one of those things that, by automating the process, completely morphed what it was I was doing.”68 He soon began to wonder whether this little side dish could become a product of its.

453–56, 485 Google founded by, 458, 460, 462–64 hypertext limitations and, 456–57 PageRank and, 458–62 Web crawler of, 457–58 PageRank, 458–62 Palevsky, Max, 188 Palo Alto Community Center, 273 Papadimitriou, Christos, 330 Papert, Seymour, 284 PARC Universal Packet, 293 Pascal, Blaise, 19–20, 22, 33, 90 Patent and Trademark Office, U.S., 120, 121n, 179 patents, 121, 215 tension over, 176–77 Paterson, Tim, 358–59 Pathfinder, 420, 421 PC, 362 PC-DOS, 360 PC-Link, 399 PDP-1.

Resignation letter to Kelly. “Before that there was an excellent research atmosphere here. . . . After the invention Shockley at first refused to allow anyone else in the group to work on the problem. In short, he used the group largely to exploit his own ideas.”44 Bardeen’s resignation and Brattain’s complaints did not help Shockley’s standing at Bell Labs. His prickly personality meant that he was passed over for promotions. He appealed to Kelly and even the president of AT&T, but to no avail.

Midlife crisis. After helping his wife fight ovarian cancer, he left her while she was in remission and found himself a girlfriend, whom he would later marry. He took a leave from Bell Labs. And this being a classic midlife crisis, he even bought a sports car, a green Jaguar XK120 two-seat convertible. Shockley spent a semester as a visiting professor at Caltech and took a gig consulting with the Army’s Weapons Systems Evaluation Group in Washington, but much of the time he traveled the country.

And Space Division, which built submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and Westinghouse, which produced tubes and transformers for the missile systems. Neighborhoods of tract houses sprang up to accommodate young engineers and Stanford junior professors. “You had all these military companies on the cutting edge,” recalled Steve Jobs, who was born in 1955 and grew up in the area. “It was mysterious and high-tech and made living there very exciting.”48 Sprouting alongside the defense contractors.

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