When I first started my career as correspondent at Business Week’s Tokyo bureau in 1982, writing an article still meant banging away on an old manual typewriters. I remember the day they installed our first Wang word processor and put the old manuals in the hallway for the cleaners to take away. (I grabbed a couple of them and still have them in my garage!) I never missed the old typewriters, although I silently cursed when stories would mysteriously disappear from my word processor. And as great as it was to be able to move paragraphs around on a computer screen, we still had to print out the finished stories and hand them to an assistant who would retype the entire story into a teletype machine to send it to New York, where yet another assistant would retype it into Business Week’s publishing system. If somebody liked a story in our magazine, they would take a pair of scissors, cut it out, put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it and take it to the mailbox.
At the time, IBM was the king of computing, and I remember covering the frustrated efforts of Japanese companies to copy or steal IBM’s technology so they could continue manufacturing IBM-compatible mainframes. When I had breakfast with Bill Gates at the Okura Hotel one morning in 1983, I had no clue of how quickly his company would overshadow IBM as the dominant player in the computer business.
In the three decades since, of course, we have seen IT transform every area of our lives. Today most journalists file their stories straight from their laptops, and can reach a global audience in the blink of an eye. As incredible as the progress has been, the speed with which IT changes the way we do things continues to accelerate, fueled by ubiquitous new tools like sleek smartphones, wireless networks and web-based applications. One of the great joys of being editor of Seattle Business magazine has been the opportunity to follow Washington state’s tech-savvy community as it introduces products, services and business models that revolutionize one industry sectors after another from health care and education to retail and entertainment.
This year, Seattle Business magazine launched the Tech Impact Awards in cooperation with the Washington Technology Industry Association because we believe it’s important to honor the companies in our region that are having such a large impact on business and society. We received more than 100 nominations from companies across Washington and in a broad range of industries. The winners were selected by a judges’ panel that included Bharat Shyam, Washington state’s chief information officer; Sujal Patel, the president of EMC Isilon; Peter Wilson, engineering director at Facebook Seattle; Matt McIlwain, managing director at Madrona Venture Group; Elon Gasper, Senior Director of Research at Corum Group; Benjamin Beberness, CIO at Snohomish County PUD; Patti Brooke, former asst. director, Washington State Department of Commerce; and Ed Lazowska, chair of the University of Washington Department of Computer Science & Engineering. You can see the finalists here.
The winners will be announced at a gala event on the Skybridge at Washington State Convention Center on September 25. You can contact email@example.com for tickets, or look for the winners in our October issue.