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The i-Technology Right Stuff

Searching for the Twenty Top Software People in the World

 

Stewart Brand

 

Brief Description: Cofounder in 1984 of the WELL bulletin board

Further Details:

Famous for coining the phrase "Information wants to be free," Stewart Brand founded, edited, and published the original Whole Earth Catalog (1968-72).

A typical Brand approach to things was demonstrated in 1971, when he designed and co-organized with Scott Beach the "Demise Party," which celebrated the end of Whole Earth Catalog with 1,500 guests at the (then) new Exploratorium in San Francisco, and turned over $20,000 in cash to the audience to do good with. Debate lasted till dawn.

The Last Whole Earth Catalog, published by Random House, sold 1.5 million copies and received a National Book Award.

 

Brand, who had graduated in 1960 (in Biology) from Stanford, moved effortlessly from the world of print to the world of online when in 1984 with Larry Brilliant he founded The WELL (standing for "Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link"), a computer teleconference system for the San Francisco Bay Area that is now owned by SALON. It now has 9,000 active users worldwide and is considered a bellwether of the genre (others involved in starting The WELL were Larry Brilliant, Matthew McClure, and Kevin Kelly.)

Far from done with innovating, in 1988 he co-founded the Global Business Network with Peter Schwartz, Jay Ogilvy, Napier Collyns, and Lawrence Wilkinson. GBN explores global futures and business strategy for 90 multinationals such as Ford, Bechtel, Shell, Morgan Stanley, Hewlett Packard, Swedbank, Dupont, Federal Express, along with government clients such as DARPA.

From 1990-1994 Brand was a member of the Board of Directors of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization which supports civil rights and responsibilities in electronic media. He is currently the president of The Long Now Foundation (which is building a 10,000-year Clock and Library).

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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