Although Alan Emtage was a crucial player in developing search engines and helping the Internet Society interact with commercial players as the Domain Name System was developed, he gave it up for a quieter life in the late 1990s.
“I stopped that in ‘96 because I kind of got burned out,” he said. “I was traveling 160,000-170,000 miles a year. That’s really no way to live…I remember waking up in a hotel and I honestly could not tell you what city I was in.”
Since 1998, he has been a partner at Mediapolis, Inc., a small web development company based in New York City, although he spends much of his time today in his home of Barbados.
“It’s what I call a lifestyle company,” he said. “I love to travel and love to work remotely. My parents are in their late 70s and early 80s and I want to be able to spend some time here with them.”
Now when he travels it’s for fun and to take photographs, which is his new passion.
When people find out why Alan Emtage was inducted into the Internet Society’s Internet Hall of Fame, they wonder why he’s not one of the world’s richest men. He certainly would be if he got even a penny every time someone clicked on his invention.
Known as the father of the search engine, Emtage created the first tools for helping researchers find programs on the Internet. He then went on to co-found the company that created the world’s first commercial search engine, Archie, which pioneered many of the techniques used in the public search engines most of us use multiple times every day.
Today he says, “The No. 1 question I get is why I am not a bazillionaire.” He went on to say, “But that’s not what it was. [The Internet] wasn’t a commercial entity. Nobody was making any money off the Internet. If anything, it was a huge sink. We were fighting the good fight. We knew there was potential. But anybody who tells you they knew what would happen, they’re lying. Because I was there.”
“There” was the late 1980s, when Emtage was studying computer science at McGill University in Montreal. While working on his masters, he also became part of the computer science department’s technical support staff, which he said consisted basically of five students.
With no professional IT staff and no money for new hardware and software, he said part of his responsibility was finding software on the Internet.
Emtage said he knew there were anonymous...
Jaap Akkerhuis, a Dutch research engineer, was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame for his leadership in the development of the Internet in the Netherlands and Europe.
Throughout his career, Akkerhuis has worked with a number of scientific institutions, research labs, Internet service providers, and registries in Europe and across the U.S., playing a key role as a global connector in the technical community.
In the late 1980’s, he worked at the Carnegie Mellon University’s Information Technology Center, sponsored by IBM, and eventually worked in the U.S. with software company mtXinu and AT&T Bell Labs.
Upon his return to the Netherlands, he joined the NLnet Labs, the first independent ISP in the Netherlands. Later he worked as a technical advisor for Stichting Internet Domeinregistratie Nederland, the registry of the .NL country code top-level domain.
Over the years, Akkerhuis has also played key roles in organizations such as the European Unix User Group, Advanced Computing Systems Association (USENIX), the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Internet Society, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Réseaux IP Européens (RIPE), and The Council of European National Top-Level Domain Registries.
Currently, he is a research engineer in the research and development group at NLnet...
Despite being 10 years his senior, Bob Metcalfe counts Apple founder Steve Jobs among his professional mentors.
Now a professor at the University of Texas, Metcalfe was part of a team at Xerox that developed what would become Ethernet, the foundational technology used to connect computers.
In an interview with CNBC, the Internet Hall of Fame inductee credited Jobs with showing him how to embrace the trial and error aspect of innovation.
"You have to constantly be making judgments about what's good what's bad and what's going to work and how's it going to play out, and in doing that, if you have high standards, you're going to break some eggs along the way,” he said.
"So a willingness to break eggs is one of the things I learned from Steve.”
Tracy LaQuey Parker had no idea what she wanted to do when she started college at the University of Texas (UT) in the 1980s.
What she did know was that “computers were going to run the world, so I figured I better get involved with that,” she said.
As it turned out, besides being good at computer science, LaQuey Parker was also good at communicating the complexities of computers to the nonscientific masses.
After graduating, she took a job with a tech company but hated being stuck in a cubicle. So, she ended up back at UT, working at the computational center, which was building networks and communications systems.
“They soon found out I could communicate with people,” she said. “They sent me around to talk to professional organizations, to get them to use the network. My manager did not want to deal with national organizations.”
As a result, at only 23 years old, LaQuey Parker found herself representing UT at meetings of the Internet Society, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and similar organizations. But she wasn’t shy or intimidated. Rather, she said, she felt “super lucky” to be around so many intelligent people who understood the potential of the Internet.
In her excitement, she once even offered for UT Austin to host the next IETF meeting without clearing it with anyone.
“I think I got in trouble for that,” she said. “But we ended...