Sunday, July 01, 2012

Notable Canadians in Digital Media & Technology

In honour of Canada's birthday, I'm updating my list of Canadian individuals and companies who contributed to digital culture or technology.

My goal is to document an aspect of Canadian history and culture that is overlooked. I'm loose in my definition of what constitutes a person as Canadian. Some people or companies got their start in Canada, but were acquired or lured to the United States. Some innovations were done by Canadians while abroad.

The point is not to debate citizenship, but rather to document innovations and their Canadian connections to demonstrate that Canada has made and continues to make a significant contribution to digital media and technology.

  • Parham Aarabi, professor and inventor of imaging and internet advertising software
  • Lorne Abony, e-Business (Petopia), gaming (FUN), and digital music business leader (Mood Media)
  • Melody Adhami, co-founder of Plastic Mobile and leader in mobile app development
  • Chris Albinson, venture capitalist, co-founder of C100, expat Canadian tech network
  • Ronald Baecker, computer scientist and HCI researcher
  • Jim Balsillie, co-founder of Research In Motion
  • Michel Beaudet, creator of online humour videos Têtes à claques
  • Gilles Brassard, co-inventor of the first quantum cryptography protocol, BB84
  • Alexander Graham Bell, original telecom inventor
  • Tim Bray, father of XML co-founder of Open Text
  • Rhiannon Bury, academic, studies women and online fandom
  • Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of Flickr, pioneer in use of tagging
  • Bill Buxton, principal researcher for Microsoft, pioneer in human computer interaction
  • Garrett Camp, co-founder and CEO of StumbleUpon
  • Dave Carroll, creator of "United Breaks Guitars" video meme
  • Ann Cavoukian, privacy czar, promotes greater privacy in social network sites and privacy by design
  • David Cheriton, computer scientist, mentor and initial investor of Google - now billionaire
  • Vincent Cheung, creator of image software Shape Collage
  • Geof Collis, accessibility advocate and publisher of accessibility news
  • Michael Cowpland, founder of Corel tech eccentric
  • William Craig, founder of iCraveTV, first company to stream television over Net
  • Cassie Creighton, 5-year old co-creator with dad, Ryan Creigton, of a popular online game
  • David Crow, organizer of tech events, DemoCamp and StartUpNorth
  • Douglas Coupland, author of tech-themed novels Generation X, Microserfs, JPod, etc.
  • Ronald Deibert, researcher and campaigner against Internet censorship and cyber-espionage
  • Peter Deutsch, leader of the team that invented Archie, the first Internet search engine
  • John Demco, creator and first registrar of the .ca domain
  • Hossein Derakhshan, influential Iranian blogger
  • Sara Diamond, academic leader founding Banff's New Media Institute and Mobile Experience Innovation Centre
  • Cory Doctorow, tech blogger and co-editor of Boing Boing
  • Timo Ewalds, creator of social networking website Nexopia
  • Caitlin Fisher, digital artist and augmented reality innovator
  • Markus Frind, founder of popular dating site Plenty of Fish
  • Ganz Sam and Howard, founders of children's virtual world, WebKinz, pioneered toy with virtual counterpart concept
  • Michael Geist, prominent Internet law scholar
  • William Gibson, author and visionary of cyberculture, coined term "cyberspace"
  • Murray Goldberg, developer of WebCT one of the earliest and most popular e-learning platforms
  • James Gosling, inventor of Java programming language
  • Calvin Gotlieb, "father of computing in Canada"
  • Kunal Gupta, founder of mobile app. agency, Polar Media
  • Jeremy Gutsche, futurist and founder of TrendHunter
  • Kevin Ham, world leading domainer
  • Caroline Haythornthwaite, researcher on social networking, online collaboration communities
  • Graham Hill, founder of environmental blog site, TreeHugger
  • Geoffrey Hinton, computer scientist in area of artificial intelligence
  • Cory Horner, early DIY programmer, leader in government transparency, launched How' in 2005
  • Tara Hunt, online marketing and communities expert
  • Glenda Hyatt, accessibility advocate and blogger
  • Mathew Ingram, tech journalist and co-founder of mesh conference
  • Donna Jodhan, campaigner for web accessibility, launched the first federal court case demanding greater accessibility of government websites
  • Mitch Joel, digital marketing expert
  • Brian Kernighan, computer scientist, creator of "Hello, world" program, popular for training programmers (the first code I wrote)
  • Asif Khan, founder of Location Based Marketing Association, blogger on locative technology and marketing
  • Deidre LaCarte, creator of Hampster Dance, believed to be first Internet meme
  • Lake Minnewanka Squirrel, Internet meme of scene-stealing rodent
  • Mike Lazaridis, founder of Research in Motion
  • Rasmus Lerdorf, creator of PHP and open source advocate
  • Pierre Lévy, academic, developed notions of collective intelligence
  • Bruce Livingstone, founder of leading stock photo service, iStockPhotos
  • David Lyon, researcher on technological surveillance
  • mafiaboy, prominent website hacker
  • Amber MacArthur, tech journalist and podcaster
  • Steve Mann, inventor and researcher, pioneered fields of wearable computing, mobile blogging, and sousveillance (reverse surveillance)
  • Don Mattrick, founder of Distinctive Software (predecessor of EA Canada) at 17, now Microsoft's President of the Interactive Entertainment Business
  • Marshall McLuhan, communications theorist and tech visionary
  • Mike McDerment, co-founder of invoicing web-service FreshBooks and co-founder of Mesh conference
  • Sid Meier, game developer of the Civilization series, second inductee into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame
  • Lane Merrifield, co-founder of Club Penguin and developer of children's virtual worlds
  • Michael Mulley, DIY developer of government transparency website,
  • Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, co-founders of role-playing gaming company BioWare
  • Ryan North, writer and creator of online comic Dinosaur Comics
  • David Ossip, founder of Workbrain, efficiency software
  • Emma Payne, author and founder of Wired Women
  • Rob Pike, co-creator of UTF-8, a unicode standard
  • Kate Pullinger and Chris Joseph, pioneers in transmedia storytelling, incl. Interactive Alice
  • Simon Pulsifer, prominent and prolific Wikipedia contributor
  • Jade Raymond, gaming executive for Ubisoft
  • Andrew Rivkin and Mark Rivkin, founders of online gambling tech company, Cryptologic
  • Rafal Rohozinski, cyber security expert
  • Mark Rzepka, pioneer of online pharmacies
  • Robert J. Sawyer, scifi author, including his recent WWW trilogy
  • Gerri Sinclair, founder of Canada's first multimedia research centre
  • Jay Steele, founder of Viigo, a news aggregator app
  • Jeffrey Skoll, co-founder of eBay
  • Star Wars Kid, another Internet meme star
  • Jennifer Stoddart, Canada's privacy commissioner, investigates practices by social media companies and mobile users' practices
  • Don Tapscott, tech culture visionary and author of Wikinomics
  • Clive Thompson, journalist has written for Shift and Wired
  • Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of tech incubator and innovation centre, MaRS
  • Jutta Treviranus, researcher on web accessibility, lead author of authoring tool accessibility guidelines
  • Barry Wellman, academic, pioneer in studies of online communities social networking
  • Beatrice Helen Worsley, computer pioneer - possibly the first woman to earn a PhD in computers and her dissertation was first on modern computers
  • Tim Wu - Internet governance and policy scholar, coined term "network neutrality"
  • Michel Vulpe, inventor and founder of i4i, successfully sued Microsoft for patent infringement
  • Bob Young, founder of micropublisher, Lulu and former CEO of Red Hat
Companies or Projects
This list is not exhaustive - but has been exhausting to put together. Please help me out by letting me know of any additions.


Connie Crosby said...

Very interesting list!

As far as I know I'm the only Canadian author in the Neale-Schuman Publishers' award-winning Tech Set series, an imprint of the American Library Association. My book is Effective Blogging for Libraries, published in 2010. It is a growing series--now up to 20 books.

Just in case authors count! :)

Happy Canada Day, Glen!

Jason Boies said...

Thanks for including us in your list, Glen. :)

And a belated Happy Canada Day to you.


Jason Boies
Community Engagement Team, Radian6

Unknown said...

great list. thanks for sharing.

Media Monitoring

Glen Farrelly said...

Just read that the 56K modem was invented by a Canadian, Brent Townshend in 1996.