When I went to check out the site, I saw that of the ten members already inducted, I had met one, Grace Hopper. I was lucky enough to have dinner with Admiral Hopper once when I was a kid, and I can report that she made one heck of a dinner guest.
Hopper cracked jokes, told funny stories, and kept my pre-teen short attention span from wavering. Far from being solely interested in COBOL, she talked about current events of the day, military policy, and my burgeoning social life (or lack thereof). In short, the lady was entertaining.
My experience with Hopper made me rethink the way I was going to cast my ballot. Sure, Steve Case may have made it easier for millions of Americans to get online, but would I really want to sit down to a meal with the guy? So, I considered not who was the most influential programmer or greatest businessman when I voted, but rather who was the most interesting person. Who would I like to have over for a dinner party?
I voted for Woz and not for Jobs because I was afraid he might yell at me if I didn't ship the corn fritters to the table on time. I voted for John Perry Barlow, not because of his work with EFF, but rather because I'd like to hear what it was like to hang out with the Grateful Dead in the 1960s. I voted for Linus because I've heard he's funny. I cast one for Stevie Wonder because, come on; "I Just Called To Say I Love You"? Great song.
But once I'd cast those ballots, I found the rest of my choices a little lacking. Sure, they were Ubertechs all. But I wouldn't even want to have lunch with most of these folks, much less dinner.
So I came up with my own nominees, which I've listed below. Feel free to post your own choices as well.
Pamela Anderson Sometimes-Lee -- For outstanding contributions to digital video.
Mahir Cagri -- For the best personal home page ever. And because I'm pretty sure he owes me a kiss.
Captain Crunch -- So we could call up all of our friends free of charge.
Teri Hatcher -- Who really invented the Internet.
Justin Hall -- For making diaries cool again. And for his star turn in the movie Home Page.
Shawn Fanning -- Because parties suck without a DJ, and I'm fairly certain Mr. Napster probably has a pretty good music collection.
Timothy Leary -- For dying on the Net, even if he didn't. And because I'm guessing the good doctor could liven up any party.
Seth Warshavsky -- But not for the pictures, for the articles. Only for the articles.
Lara Croft -- Because, well, you know, hubba-hubba.