It's February, and it's Black History Month. As a Community Manager creating content for developers I am always exploring how technology and people overlap. It is the human factor that makes tech. interesting.
In that light I was researching video game history, and I came across Gerald Anderson "Jerry" Lawson who I had not heard of. He worked at Fairchild Semiconductor, the "mother" of all Semiconductor companies. Jerry was a creative, tinkerer and he went on to design the Fairchild Channel F video game console. Some of have called him "Father of Modern Gaming. Regardless, it was he and his team that developed the commercial video game cartridge.
In our modern technology filled world, we take so much for granted. In fact an appreciation of things sometimes only happens when there's an accident, or something is down. It is easy to remember the names of famous innovators, but it is difficult to know and or remember the folks who make our amazing world possible. It reminds me of Issac Newtons quote “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”
Next time you play a video game on your PS5, Xbox, Switch, phone, computer, or in the cloud, say a prayer for Jerry Lawson (who passed away in 2011). Of course there are so many other Black scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs without whose inventions we would not have certain hardware, software, languages, apps and more. We live in a truly inter-dependent world.
I will leave you with a quote from Harriet Tubman which speaks to every innovator “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
Photograph via Wikipedia by "Unknown, but currently held by Museum of Play / Estate of Jerry Lawson", distributed under a CC-BY 2.0 license.