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20/20/20: Innovators & Entrepreneurs From the 20th Century Who Are Helping Shape the 21st

Lee Hower
January 21, 2020 · 2  min.

Welcome to 2020. I thought about writing a post looking forward into this new decade, or looking back at the prior decade (are we calling it the “teens” officially?). But instead I decided to do something a little different.

We’re now 20 years into the 21st century. 1980 and the dawn of the PC era is 40 years ago… the space race kicked off roughly 70 years ago. It occurred to me that we’re now far enough into this century that many of the entrepreneurs and innovators who are going to shape the next decade or two may have limited lived experience of the 20th century.

The 20-something or 30-something who starts a company in the next decade will have been an infant or toddler at the turn of the millennium.

So I wanted to kick off 2020 with a series of posts which shine a deserved spotlight on some of the entrepreneurs and innovators of the 20th century whose work or thinking continues to shape our 21st century today. We’ll publish these throughout the year and some will touch on several people, but we’ll highlight 20 innovators from the 20th century over the course of this year (’20)… hence 20/20/20.

Not only will we be writing about innovators whose work continues to influence the present and future, but we’ll be covering people who may be less well known despite their significant contributions to our everyday life here in 2020. We all know the names of Henry Ford or Bill Gates, but many may be less familiar with Harley Earl or Grace Hopper or Russel Ohl.

The innovators of the 20th century come from a somewhat less diverse set of backgrounds than the innovators of this century… both a reality of history but also a sign of progress. But we will strive to touch upon entrepreneurs and innovators from the 20th century who come from a wide array of backgrounds and life experiences.

Have any suggestions? Let us know on Twitter.

 

 

 


Author
Lee Hower
Partner

Lee is a co-founder and Partner at NextView Ventures. He has spent his entire career as an entrepreneur and investor in early-stage software and internet startups.