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.
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.
The most severe criteria were:
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.
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.
I have been alerted to the following persons among others:
(In alphabetical order.)
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]