There are countless dreamers out there, but very, very few actually manage to make their bold dreams come true. These are the hard working visionaries, who believe in themselves and in their projects enough to face all obstacles. Their creations change the world that we live in, and we are happy to celebrate them here. These are ten of the world changing inventions of the modern era.
1. Nicholas Negroponte – One Laptop Per Child
Nicholas Negroponte is the founder of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program which put approximately 2 million laptops in the hands of poor children from developing countries like Peru, Rwanda and Ghana. His aim was to make this world a more informed and connected one and give the impoverished youth of the world a chance to learn and stay in touch with the continuously changing world via Internet. Two laptop prototypes have already been created for OLPC and the third one will most probably have a tablet form.
2. Steve Jobs – Apple
Steve Job’s life has been one of overcoming obstacles and achieving spectacular successes. In addition to his professional challenges, there were some serious health problems that he had to face, but nothing could keep him down. Today some of the most fascinating devices on the market are there thanks to his genius and resilience. Computers, smartphones, tablets, all these and more are now a natural part of our lives thanks to Jobs.
3. Jimmy Wales – Wikipedia
Thanks to Jimmy Wales and his team of visionaries, Wikipedia is one of the most important internet communities of today: it’s a place where information doesn’t cost a dime. Constantly updating, changing and growing, this immense online encyclopedia can be accessed and modified by anybody. What’s noteworthy about Wikipedia is the fact that it never accepted to bend under government censorship, thus celebrating freedom of speech.
4. George Lucas – Lucasfilm
Is there anyone out there now reading this article who has never heard of Star Wars? We seriously doubt that there is, so it’s pretty clear why George Lucas is one of the innovators to have made it here on our list. His great imagination brought to life one of the most fascinating modern stories and it changed the world of science fiction forever. When he decided to give up his director’s fee in exchange for the licensing rights to the film, many believed he was making a huge mistake. Well, today it’s pretty obvious that his decision was a truly wise one.
5. Larry Page and Sergey Brin – Google
It all started with a brilliant and innovative idea for a PhD thesis. Larry Page and Sergey Brin used to be colleagues at Stanford University and their brilliant Google idea was actually born in a dorm room. Other search engines of the time were based on a different algorithm, one that made it difficult for searchers to find the most relevant web pages. By introducing a new algorithm, Page and Brin unleashed a new Internet force, called Google. Fast, accurate, relevant and free, this search engine is currently unrivalled on the Internet. This is what turned two talented PhD students into billionaires.
6. Elon Musk – Tesla Motors
Before Tesla Motors, it was very difficult to merge one’s passion for high-speed supercars with one’s love for the environment. Usually the only solution was to make a compromise: it was either speed and power, or environment consciousness and zero emissions. Today however, Tesla Motors (founded by Elon Musk and Martin Eberhard) is a perfect synonym for green awesomeness in cars. As if all this wasn’t a big enough achievement for one person, Musk is also the CEO of SpaceX (an American space transport company) and the co-founder of PayPal. Not bad at all for one lifetime.
7. Jeff Bezos – Amazon.com
Amazon.com is the largest online retailer in the United States. It all started in 1995 as an online bookstore, but as time went by, demands diversified and Amazon began selling CDs, DVDs, video games, computer software, electronics, furniture, apparel, toys, food…almost anything one could ever need. But the product with the largest impact on the world (especially on the environment) is the Amazon Kindle. Currently the best e-book reading device on the market, Amazon’s Kindle makes reading e-books just as pleasurable as reading real paper-and-ink books. The device does that while reducing considerably the need for paper, thus saving millions of trees.
8. Andy Rubin – Android Mobile
Gadget geeks know very well what Android is and they all love it. It’s the awesome (and most popular) OS for mobile phones and Andy Rubin is its developer. He founded Android Inc . in 2003 and a couple of years later Google acquired the company, as it understood the huge potential of the new mobile phone software stack. Today Android is the most used OS in the world and it’s better than both Blackberry and Apple. Following on Google’s footsteps, Android is making a true revolution in the world of communication.
9. Bob Moog – Synthesized Music
Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Parliament Funkadelic and pretty much every musician of the modern era owes a big part of their success to Mr. Robert Moog. Moog was a pioneer of electronic music and the inventor of the famous Moog synthesizer. Before his inventions, music synthesizers were immense and very difficult to use, because they required more insight into mathematics and physics than most musicians had. Now creating music is easier than ever (on mobile phones or computers), even for those who have no idea about how to use a classic music instrument like a violin or piano. So thank you, dr. Moog (pronounced to rhyme with “vogue”).
10. Sir Richard Branson – Virgin Group
The ruler of a true empire, Sir Richard Branson has achieved his first significant success at age 16, when he created the “Student” magazine. Now his list of accomplishments is huge and it contains names like Virgin Records, Virgin Mobile, Virgin Air, Virgin Galactic and lately Virgin Oceanic. But all these accomplishments were not enough for Mr. Branson, whose adventurous spirit has led him to achieve other notable successes too. Hot air balloon travelling, speed sailing, acting, all these and more are no longer “virgin” territories for him. He is passionate about exploring the world that we live in and he loves to share his discoveries with everybody else.