The Vosko Award for
Young Network Warriors 1996

These Net Pioneers have shed blood, sweat and tears but now their efforts cause billions of bit movements a day over the digital highways. Besides the already existing transportation of goods, bit transportation becomes a measure for success. These Network Warriors are leading the way for us and are therefore the Netherlands' hope for light in the darkness.

1. About the award

On June the 5th 1996 I fulfilled my promise. Directly after delivering my Inaugural Lecture at Delft University of Technology I presented the yearly temporary trophy and an amount of money to the best "Young Net Warrior". And the winner was Jaap van Ganswijk.

In the past months a great number of young heroes and heroines have been nominated for the award, among others after my announcement via the Net. People with stamina in sorrowful circumstances who have done beautiful things on the electronic highway and who are mentioned in the world with admiration, but in our country aren't known to the public at all, although the future prosperity of our country may partly depend on them. In hindsight success is evident, but now they can very well use some encouragement from their fellow countrymen.

The jury will be happy to receive recommendations from you for candidate-nominees for the 1997 Prize.

2. Criteria for the nomination and for winning

The most severe criteria were:

3. About the award

The Vosko Communications company in Waddinxveen, supplier of data communications networks has donated the temporary trophy plus a yearly amount of Dfl 10,000.- (about $6000).
Their motive is the affinity with successful battling in the network industry, as they know from experience. Vosko has started around 1977 with the sale of the TILLEGRAAF baseband modem and PLECTOR local multiplexer that I had developed during my time with AKZO. These products are still being sold. Currently there are about 20,000 and 3000 each of them in use. Partly because of that success Vosko was able to gain a great share of the market of LAN's, routers and interlocal data network systems.

4. Background information and motivation

In the past years in the Netherlands, one could hear ever more loudly the cry: "Where are the innovations?". The cause for this is the sometimes sudden disappearance of until that time abundant success stories. The corks on which the Netherlands was floating suddenly seemed to disappear. Stagnation and sometimes even the demise of old institutionalized industrial fortresses caused within the government and investors a slight feeling of panic. Urgently the men at the stockmarket ask: Where are the new corks, the new pullers of the industry? Now they suddenly want new success. Who are the 'coming generation'? From TIRED to WIRED!!!

Well, they are here! They are right under the noses of the panicking investment bankers. They just didn't look well enough and they looked at the wrong places. The error they made, was that they assumed, that innovations can be grown from one day to the next. Overnight they must be ready to mass-produce products like in earlier days cars, TV's and washing machines. Identical industrial products in big numbers. Well, they also exist in the information industry: Fax, mobile phone, MS-DOS, Internet browser.
But innovations need a development period of about 20 years.
When you are looking for future success stories you shouldn't look at the absolute numbers in sales, but at the 'catchiness' of something new: How fast does the number of users double, however small that number may be.
And only early in the development stimulation is useful. They also looked at the wrong and too obvious places: At big old companies or people that already were successful. No, the most promising hits will arise from unexpected places and from people, that have to fight for their ideas and products. Often they are hindered by all kinds of things: Unwillingness, disbelief and so on.
Often they also have a track record of failures and misfortunes. Because innovations often mean a change of the existing services or products real change can't be expected from large organizations. Scale size is often a handicap for flexibility and originality.
Small and exploding till far over the borders! That is the image that I see, when I look at what the nominated innovators have in common and they are struggling.
Strangely enough they generally are already known worldwide before they are known in their own country. The public at large here has never heard of them. It isn't new. Van Gogh never sold any of his paintings in our country during his lifetime. Rembrandt, although successful, was still regarded in his time as a maker of strange group portraits that didn't depict everyone as well.
Therefore it's time to acknowledge some of the 'young network-warriors' and to encourage them to go on! They get that recognition by their nomination. One of them will annually get the temporary trophy and the price. With young is meant, that they recently developed their activities on the Network.
There are a lot of examples of comparable pioneers that preceded them, but that can't be classified as young, like:


Comparable net warriors that have build or are still building networks within their organizations won't be mentioned, although they deserve our respect for often breath taking accomplishments. Also against them works the very Dutch taboo on appraisal, but I don't think I should do it, but leave it to the companies they work for. I am available to give supply names to those companies.
For successful young enterprises there already exists other awards. Blue Wire is an example of such an enterprise.

5. The nominees

I have been alerted to the following persons among others:
(In alphabetical order.)

Erik van Blokland and Just van Rossum, the team of, Den Haag,
leading the world in the area of digital typography: Fonts, Type tuning, moving characters.
Marcel Bullinga,
for his energetic role in starting the DB.NL, the digital citizens movement, the Dutch version of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Advocate for "teledemocracy" a.o. via the Besliswijzer (decision pointer) that is being built.
Michiel Frackers,
for starting up the internet service provider Planet Internet, with a lot of help from Maarten van den Biggelaar.
Jaap van Ganswijk,
for the development of the WWW service ChipDir, a directory of electronics chips, manufacturers and distributors; that is used by more than 15000 individuals a month and because of it's success is mirrored on about ten other sites in the world. The bit stream is about 2 giga bytes per month. The ChipDir is also being distributed on many thousands of low-cost CD-ROM's for off-line usage with the development of electronic systems.
Kees van der Griendt (Kidon),
for Medialink, the web site with lists and links to digital versions of newspapers and on-line radio and TV guides in the world. It is mentioned on many lists of frequently visited Websites.
Roger Heykoop, Interspace BV,
for the development of a fast searching program for address data in large data bases. The Vuurwerk firm uses this program to make Dutch addresses and phone numbers available on the Web as WebTel.
Erik Huizer, SURFnet Expertise Centre,
for his work in the Architecture Board of the Internet Engineering Task Force, as one of the few European representatives in the AB that rules the IETF. The IETF is concerned with important issues on the Internet like standardization.
Nils Kijkuit,
for organizing the internet service provider WorldAccess of Videotex Nederland.
Ton Koster of the TOOLnet foundation,
that via a.o. FireBridge services provides E-mail connections to and from people in developing countries to enable technology transfer.
Arjen Lentz, Amersfoort,
for the development of the two way file transfer protocol HYDRA and for his pioneering work in the area of the combination of ISDN and PC's.
Ted Lindgreen, NLnet BV,
for his pioneering work in establishing one of the first public Internet Service Providers.
Loesje in Arnhem,
whose positive ideas know no boundaries, so her partners are networking through the whole of Europe by now.
Arthur Nieuwenhuijs,
for setting up the "Bibliotheque Bajazzo", a globally distributed multi page web library with on-line experimental art.
Michael Polman,
for setting up the APC host in Nijmegen of the Antenna foundation that helps social organizations and NGO's in developing countries to get net access.
Rene Post, Leiden,
for helping to set up the successful volunteers organization DSL: Digital City of Leiden.
Victor Reijs, SURFnetBV,
for his work in the European ATM/mbone work group of TERENA (European society of Internet Service Providers for universities and the population of education and research. Members are a.o. SURFnet, Deutsche Forschungsnetz, JANET.)
Felipe Rodriquez, Xs4all,
for his important work for the Internet in the Netherlands and the internet service provider Xs4all in particular.
Ron Roozendaal, ministry of home affairs,
for his role in establishing a large number of digital government counters and documents.
Kees Schalken,
involved with setting up the DDS (Digital city of Amsterdam) and the Digital City of Tilburg, co-author of the Handbook of Digital Cities.
Jorinde Seydel and Willem Velthoven, Amsterdam,
for their role in the design and publishing of the interactive magazine Mediametic
Marleen Stikker, De Balie foundation,
for her role in starting The Digital City (DDS) in Amsterdam, the first digital city in the Netherlands.
Marc Thelosen, Rotterdam,
for his work for the "V2-Organization" that has organized the famous conferences about cultural social developments on the Electronic Highway.
Henk Wevers,
for his role in the buildup of the FidoNet and the development of point packets to that purpose.
Willem Jaap Zwart, TriMM in Enschede,
for his role in stimulating the use of the Internet in Twente (twenteweb).

Jaap van Till
Stratix Consulting Group, Schiphol, tel: +31-20-4466555
Part time professor at the TU Delft in the field of "Enterprise Networks" offered by Lacis.

[Translation of the updated May 22'th 1996 version]

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