2008-12-04

Wired's profile on Ray Ozzie

This month (issue 16.12), Wired's cover story is a profile on Ray Ozzie. Ozzie is the creator of Lotus Notes and Groove. Currently, he is Microsoft's Chief Software Architect. The last person to have that title? Bill Gates. While Steve Balmer may run the business of Microsoft, it's Ozzie who is developing the vision. Recently, Ozzie introduced Microsoft's new cloud computing initiatives and related products.

It's an interesting profile, and it offers some insight as to where Microsoft plans to go from here.

A short list of what the Internet is about today would inlcude video sharing, eCommerce, file trading, social networking, telecommuting, news dissemination, and blog based commentary. A longer list could go on for pages and encompass a range of activities legal and illegal or wholesome and seemy.

But at its core, it's about bringing people together -- about letting people be who they can and want to be without the limitations of geography, appearnce, age, or physical ability. Sometimes that gets lost in the noise coming from the latest buzz word.

This story from the article was particularly telling. The core of what network communication was about in the 70s is what it's still about today. Here is my favorite passage from the article.


One incident in particular introduced Ozzie to the magic that comes when people connect via computer. He had taken a part-time assignment helping a professor finish writing some courseware. The prof lived on the other side of town, so Ozzie collaborated with him remotely. Ozzie came to know and like his boss, save for one annoyance. "He was the worst typist ever," Ozzie says. "He was very eloquent on email, but on Term Talk [early form of instant messaging]it was just dit-dit-dit, sometimes an error, but agonizingly slow." At the end of the project, the man threw a party at his house, and Ozzie discovered the reason for the typing problem: The professor was a quadriplegic and had been entering text by holding a stick in his teeth and poking it at the keyboard. Ozzie was floored.
Plato terminals at the University of Illinois gave users interactivity.

"I remember really questioning my own attitudes," Ozzie says. "I had been communicating with him mind to mind. Technology lets you do that, unprejudiced by what anyone looks like. From that era forward, I just knew I wanted to work on something related to communications and interactive systems."

...More

5 comments:

The Hawg! said...

You know, that wasn't a bad decision on Microsoft's part at all, was it?

Hopefully, we'll see some innovation from the company again (it's been a long time).

Brian Fitzpatrick said...

That's really funny. I finally had a chance to sit down and read that article last night. :) Great article and Ozzie was definitely ahead of the curve. Not sure Microsoft will catch up, but a little competition in the marketplace of ideas is always a good thing. Thanks for the great post!

Laura-Junkfoodaholic.com said...

I read most of the article about Ozzie on Wired's site and thought it was very interesting. It's really exciting to see where things are headed - not only Microsoft but the other competitors too.

Carol said...

I think that's one of the glorious things about the internet and networking. I have noticed it in game rooms on Pogo, and genealogy sites too. We are all one color, and no gender unless we divulge that information. Our strengths and weaknesses in body might only show up in our typing. Some prejudices are irrelevant.

GAGAY said...

good day!just dropping Ecards...and fetching new infos..take care!