We all have people who shape our lives. Most people cite their parents, family, teachers, friends…you get the gist. It’s often times people close to us. Although these are the people who likely influence our lives the most, we still have people, whom we have probably never met, who play a big part in shaping our aspirations. I would like to share mine. This list might not be full of names you have heard of, but I promise they mean a lot to me and have played a significant role in shaping my life.
This is the guy. Whenever anyone asks who my hero is he always comes up. He was such an amazing human being. He pioneered the transmission of AC current which is used in all homes with electricity. Some of his theories and designs are JUST NOW being put to use. I mean he had the wireless transmission of power figured out way back in the early 1900’s. I mean listen to this story. During the time of the AC vs. DC wars, Tesla and his AC method got the bid to light the World’s Fair in Chicago. The problem is Edison (a huge proponent of DC) owned the patent for lightbulb manufacturing. What did Tesla do? GIve up? Hell no, he came up with a new method of making lightbulbs that not only was in no violation of Edison’s patents, but was actually more efficient to make. What a guy!
He was the pioneer of all modern electrical engineering and the reason I decided to get into engineering. He should be taught extensively in every history book. He is a constant inspiration and there is not enough words to thank him for his contributions to engineering and science as well as my life. Please, I implore you, if you get the chance read up on him. Here is a link to his wiki.
The “Woz” as he is known, is a legend, more than a legend, this might be the most influential person in the creation of modern computers. An electrical engineer by trade and education. He has a natural talent for electronics. I have read stories of his incredible understanding and ability to optimize things other people just can’t fathom. He is probably best known for co-founding Apple computers, but what is underlying in that is the computer itself. The Apple II. This introduced the personal computer. The way we interact with a computer today with a display and input device was his brainchild. He introduced the idea of normal people wanting to use computers in their daily lives. He is and forever will be my hero. Fun loving and genius. This guy deserves more praise than he is already given. Without him I would not be anywhere I am today. Thanks Woz!
You have all heard of Nintendo, but I am sure you have not heard of this gentleman. You should know him though. He was one of the reasons Nintendo is as big of a success as it is today. He is the mind behind the Game Boy. The story goes that he was watching a businessman play with his LCD calculator and got inspired. Thus the Game Boy was born. A system which used outdates (even for the time) part to accomplish a task inexpensivly. That’s why I love the guy and Nintendo as a company. The mentality is that you don’t need the best of the best to compete. You need to approach the problem from a lateral perspective.
In comes the Virtual Boy though. I don’t even know if all of you remember the Virtual Boy, but it came out in 1995. In the 90’s virtual reality seemed like the next logical step in video games. I mean you would be IN the game. Nintendo tried to capitalize on this in their own way. Enter Virtual Boy. It was an affordable home console with the heart of VR. It took the same approach as the Game Boy and took older technology to create a new experience at an affordable cost. Sadly, the Virtual Boy was a failure and Gunpei took most of the heat. He left the company in 1996, but still did consulting work for them. The worst part is in 1997 while changing a flat tire a car ran into him killing him. It was a tragic accident and he will forever be missed.
The Game Boy will forever be his legacy and it is an amazing one at that. His use of seemingly deprecated technology to create fun and useful devices is why this guy is one of the good ones.
What can you say about Mr. Miyamoto that hasn’t already been said? He is the heart and soul of Nintendo. He brought us Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Star Fox. He is a fountain of creativity. He is constantly bringing new an great ideas to video game design and furthering the medium with everything he graces. The fact that he pioneered not only modern platforming with the Super Mario Bros. series, but also made the first really cohesive 3D platformer with Mario 64 would be reason enough to love him, but how he can take something like a childhood backyard and turn it into a masterpiece like Pikmin is profound. He is already a legend, and has so many more stories and ideas to give us.
The father of the PlayStation. He vaulted Sony into the video game industry with his incredibly successful console the PlayStation. He is an electrical engineer by education which is already enough to love the guy, but to transform a situation such as Nintendo bailing on you for the CD-I (what were they thinking!) and turn it into one of the best selling consoles in history really says something. He also designed the PlaySation 2 from the ground up. 10 years later and the PS2 is still around. That is a testament to your genius. He also created the PSP and PS3. Wow, Ken you are the man!
These are just some of my heroes. The ones that stick out. There is many more, but I would just like to say thanks to all of them. Without them I wouldn’t be able to do what I do today. They are and were amazing people and I highly suggest you read up on them. I would love to hear some of your heroes. Please leave a comment, tweet, or post a Facebook reply. I am really interested.