One giant leap

One giant leap

How one small step for a man can make a giant change in someone's life

In the late 1960s, I was just a 4-year-old toddler and couldn't even imagine where technology would take us. One night, my mom woke me up and said, 'Hey, come see this on TV. History is happening, and you can't miss this moment.' It was July 20, 1969. The Eagle had landed. That was an event that undoubtedly shaped the rest of my life.

The landing on the moon by the Apollo 11 mission was the culmination of at least a decade of innovation and cutting-edge technology development. The Apollo program marked a remarkable era in human history, driven by the race to the moon between the United States and the Soviet Union. It was President Kennedy's ambitious call in 1961 that set the stage for this extraordinary journey, declaring, 'I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.'

Among the numerous technological advancements led by Project Apollo that changed people's lives, the transformation in computing technology was ultimately what impacted my life the most. At that time, the word 'computer' sounded like magic to me. Even without understanding what it was, I spent the rest of my childhood dreaming about computers.

In most movies from the 1960s and early 1970s, computers were portrayed as large steel cabinets with thousands of little lights flashing and rolls of magnetic tape spinning back and forth. I remember that, until I was about seven, as I fell asleep, I used to imagine a trapdoor in the floor of my bedroom leading to a secret basement where my computer was located. There I sat in an office chair in front of those cabinets full of blinking lights, much like Batman's computer in the bat cave.

Eventually, the dream came true, but that's a story for another time.