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17 fascinating tech pioneers who are not Steve Jobs

Contrary to what Mac lovers may think, Steve Jobs wasn't the most important person the tech world has ever seen

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Topic: Developer
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1 of 15 Public Domain

Heddy Lamar

Sure, the Steve Jobs movie is a Hollywood darling, and there's no doubt that the man at the center of the story revolutionized consumer tech. But, given all the hype about Jobs these days, you'd think the guy single-handedly brought us into the 21st century.

Not quite.

Take Heddy Lamar.

A bona fide Hollywood star, she also happened to invent spread spectrum technology in the 1940s, which is the backbone of wireless communication today. Not only was she ahead of her time with her design, by all accounts she came up with the idea in a bar, writing it on a cocktail napkin. Now that is startup ... before startup was even a word.

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2 of 15 Public Domain

Radia Perlman

She hates being called "the mother of the Internet," but everyone calls her that anyways, and she's earned it: She developed the algorithm behind the Spanning Tree Protocol, which allows network traffic to scale. So, yes, Radia Perlman invented the Internet, not Al Gore.

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3 of 15 Mariana Bazo/Reuters/Corbis

Jorge Heraud

Heraud is the CEO and co-founder of Blue River Technology, which looks to "make farming more sustainable through robotics and computer vision." Heraud and his company are attempting to take the large chemical component out of farming and hand it over to ... the robots. Green through machines? Sounds counter-intuitive, but if they're successful, it could drastically change the world of agriculture.

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4 of 15 David-Hevia/Demotix/Corbis

​Lila Tretikov

Lila Tretikov oversees and runs Wikipedia, the largest free repository of information on the web. But before she, you know, volunteered to pretty much be the one person standing between intellectual freedom and the NSA, she co-authored several software patents.

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5 of 15 Adafruit Industries

Limor Fried

An electrical engineer who was the first woman to appear on the cover of Wired, Fried's passion for all things tech led her to found Adafruit Industries, an online space for people of all ages to learn electronics and buy products for die-hard makers.

More importantly, she's been at the forefront of the open-source hardware scene since the start, as one of the first participants at the Open Source Hardware Summit, and by also writing the very definition of Open Source Hardware.

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6 of 15 Girls Who Code

Reshma Saujani

Her mission? To close the gender gap in the computer science industry. Her national non-profit, Girls Who Code, was one of the first organizations to encourage young girls to consider careers in tech and science.

With only 12 percent of engineers being women, and 26 percent working in the area of computing, it's clear Reshma and others like her are spearheading a much needed gender revolution in tech.

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7 of 15 Ramin Talaie/Corbis

Mitchell Baker

She's the woman who runs Mozilla Firefox, whose Internet browser is the brainchild of a non-profit. Oh: And she played a huge role in legitimizing Open Source Internet applications, proving that awesome clients could come from the Open Source community, and opening up a whole new world of clients for multimedia and email.

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8 of 15 Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg

He founded Facebook. You know: Facebook. The way that we all socially interact online today. Sure, there was MySpace and uh ... other things, but Facebook was simple to look at and simple to use, and those two reasons are why it's now the leader in social media today.

Like Jobs, he's had a movie made about him, so he can cross that off his list. But beyond that, the Zucks recently wrote a public letter to his newborn daughter, in which he and his wife pledged to put 99 percent of their Facebook shares toward the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a philanthropic organization which works to "[advance] human potential and [promote] equality."

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9 of 15 Ramin Talaie/Corbis

David Karp

David Karp founded Tumblr, which revolutionized short-blogging, making it way easier to upload different kinds of media as well as interact with other blogs. In short, he brought blogging to the masses, making it a breeze for non-tech minded people to pour their hearts out to the world (and look good doing it). And who knows what else this tech genius will achieve? Before Tumblr, he also founded the successful site 9gag ... and he's only 29.

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10 of 15 Facebook

Sheryl Sandberg

She runs a little company called Facebook, but with her national bestselling feminist book Lean In, Sandberg ushered in a new era of feminism in the tech and business world.

Pointing out that male-dominated spheres of business literally creates an environment unfriendly to women may seem obvious, but until Sandberg said it, no one was really talking about it in the mainstream.

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11 of 15 Bumble

Whitney Wolfe

Co-founder of Tinder, Wolfe broke off and formed her own company around the newest dating app on the scene: Bumble. Bumble hasn't really changed the game of dating apps as a platform. Where it's shaking things up is at the core concept: allowing women (and only women) to make the first move. With more than 5 million conversations since its launch, it's definitely changing the way we date.

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12 of 15 Lucas Jackson/Reuters/Corbis

Jack Dorsey

Along with Facebook and Instagram, Twitter, which Dorsey co-founded, he helped to create the 20th/21st-century phenom of the "social persona," and turned the number sign into the hashtag.

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13 of 15 James Leynse/Corbis

Sergey Brin and Larry Page

The founders of the search engine-cum-tech-behemoth Google, they founded the company with this simple motto: Don't be evil.When Google came on the scene, it differed from other search engines by analyzing the relationships between websites ... instead of how many times a search term appeared on a page.

Nowadays, with tech so intertwined in our everyday lives, we can't live without it (think how much you use Google: Google Maps, Gmail, Gchat, YouTube).

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14 of 15 J. Emilio Flores/Corbis

Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel

Who would have thought people would like a short-video social platform whose core tenet is founded on ephemerality? Don't people want to record every little thing they do forever? Apparently they don't, and that exclusivity is changing the way we tell stories on social media, being one of the first big platforms to just be on mobile.

As for Snapchat's co-founder and current CTO Bobby Murphy, he's been described as a paragon of self-control by Snapchat's first employee David Kravitz, who said to Fortune, "I'd describe him [Murphy] almost like a monk. I don't think I've ever seen him upset."

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15 of 15 Consumer Physics

Dror Sharon

One of the founders of Consumer Physics, the Israeli inventor has developed a handheld spectrometer, called the SCIO, that, when pointed, can measure the molecular composition of items. The potential of the scanner could completely change the face of consumerism, making the product's makeup much more transparent to the buyer ... with one simple scan.

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