I just came across this infographic on the evolution of Computer Science and the Internet. It made me think about the parallels between the disciplines that have shaped my career, and my personal and professional trajectory.
When I was born in 1972
- Intel’s first widely-available microprocessor, the 4004, had been in the market for less than a year
- The C programming language was introduced
- There were no pesonal computers, games consoles or any programmable electronics in anyone’s home
As I was growing up
- I was 3 when Pong came out. I did play a later clone at a classmate’s house some years later. Not frequently: he was very possessive of his little console
- I was 5 when the Apple II was launched, never heard of it at the time
- At 9, when MS-DOS came out, I did know. The music school bought an IBM PC and they let me use it once, mostly to see whether I could figure out what was it for
- The Commodore 64 came out on my 10th year. Later, a very good friend bought one and used it to compose music. He’s still at it, on a Mac and his wind instruments, all these years later
- I was 12 when the Mac was launched. I saw it on TV, I seem to remember. Didn’t think much of it
- At 14 I managed to convince my parents to buy a home computer. It was an Amstrad CPC 6128, complete with floppy disk and green screen. It’s fair to say I spent quite a few hours on it – learning BASIC, playing games, trying to write music and writing a lot of school assignments and my own little attempts at creative writing
- I went to University to study computer engineering.
- We were taught using the PDP-10 as a reference, a 1966 mainframe
- Our programming lab was made up of 10 original Macintosh computers connected over AppleTalk to a central file server
- Photoshop was 3 years old, Mosaic was being developed
- The very first Web Forms were being developed using Perl/CGI. Java and PHP didn’t exist
- When I started my career at the head of Nokia.com, Netflix didn’t exist, Amazon was 2 years old and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was 12. 12!
- My qualifications: degree in technology, built webpages for personal project while at Uni. Side projects were important even then!
- There was no such thing as the cloud: the entire global Nokia web estate was running on a computer under my desk. If the server slowed down, I just turned the computer off and on again
Along the way, I have been lucky enough to introduce a few world firsts. It’s what you do, almost without noticing, when you’re blazing a trail and creating an industry that will take over the world.
- 1997 – World’s first graphical drop-down website navigation. Nokia.com homepage
- 1999 – World’s first WAP site. WAP was what phone manufacturers and telcos thought people wanted from the internet on their phones. You have never heard of it because Apple thought different…
- 2006 – Online check-in, speedy boarding, dynamic packaging, daily deals… Travel will never be the same again
- 2009 – First online insurance brand in key Eastern Europe markets
- 2012 – World’s first Picture Meter Reading app
- 2016 – World’s first Alexa Energy Company skill
While it’s nice to look back and see the road travelled, my focus remains on road to travel ahead. I’m looking forward to a few more world firsts!