Hear the epic true tales of how developers, programmers, hackers, geeks, and open source rebels are revolutionizing the technology landscape. Command Line Heroes is an award-winning podcast hosted by Saron Yitbarek and produced by Red Hat. Get root access to show notes, transcripts, and other associated content at https://redhat.com/commandlineheroes
Arlan Hamilton: The Investor Who's Opening Doors
If you think hard work is enough to guarantee success, you haven’t been listening. All season long, we’ve profiled Black inventors who haven’t quite been given their due. Arlan Hamilton is helping reverse that trend by leveling the playing field—and changing the venture capital game.
Arlan Hamilton’s story mirrors many we’ve covered this season—overcoming adversity to find success. But she’s also helping redefine what success can look like and, in the process, is helping change the broader tech industry. Janice Omadeke lays out how diversifying the VC community in turn leads to greater diversity among founders receiving funding. Ramona Ortega explains how traditional VC priorities often pass over startups that can be successful. And Scott Myers-Lipton discusses inequality in Silicon Valley (and beyond) and how he’s working to bring about lasting change.
Gladys Perkins: The Pioneer Who Took Us To New Heights
Is the moon made of cheese? Of course not. But can a person walk on the surface? Not too long ago, we couldn’t answer that question. But with the help of Gladys Perkins, we soon figured out that we could send a team to the moon and have them safely land on its surface.
There was a time when the United States was behind the Soviets in the space race. Everyone had their sights set on the moon. Andrew Chaikin describes NASA’s disastrous Ranger missions. Erik Conway explains how complicated the trajectory calculations were—and to top it all off, why they often couldn’t be done in advance. To succeed, NASA’s new Surveyor program would need the capability to adjust trajectory mid-flight. Gladys Perkins made those calculations possible. But her part in this story hasn’t been well documented. Our editor Kim Huang recounts how difficult it was to get details of her story. And Vahe Peroomian explains how important it is to get these histories told to inspire the next generation to take on moonshot projects.
Roy Clay: The Entrepreneur Who Transformed an Industry
Roy Clay had to chase after opportunities. But landing a promising position wasn’t the finish line. Roy Clay pushed those opportunities beyond their mandate, transforming an industry in the process.
Kathy Cotton recounts how few opportunities Roy Clay had growing up—but how, later, talk of his genius helped him get his break in the tech industry. Chuck House describes how Clay’s qualifications and experience were just what Hewlett and Packard were looking for. Bill Davidow explains how Clay made his mark at HP building a department, and shaping the strategy for a revolutionary 16-bit minicomputer. And in Clay, Ken Coleman found a role model and mentor. He followed in Clay’s footsteps, and helped expand a legacy of inclusion.
Dr. Clarence Ellis: The Developer Who Helped Us Collaborate
It’s not easy to learn how to use computers when you can’t actually touch them. But that’s how Dr. Clarence Ellis started his career of invention—which would ultimately lead to reimagining how we all worked with computers and each other.
Martez Mott describes the “Mother of all Demos” that would inspire a generation of builders. Gary Nutt recounts working with Dr. Clarence Ellis at Xerox PARC, and the atmosphere at the coveted research lab. Chengzheng Sun and Paul Curzon explain how Operational Transformation—the project to which Dr. Ellis devoted so much time and effort—laid the foundation for the collaborative tools many of us use every day. And Delilah DeMers shares how humble her father was, and how he loved teaching people that technology can be a force for good.
Dr. Marc Hannah: The Computer Scientist Who Brought Worlds to Life
Sometimes an inventor designs a device for a specific purpose. Sometimes it’s to try something new. But successful inventions often shape industries beyond those they initially intended. Dr. Marc Hannah built an invention with far bigger effects than anyone could have imagined—like bringing dinosaurs to life, building liquid robots, and letting the Titanic set sail one more time.
Raqi Syed gives some context on the evolution of special effects in the movie industry. Mark Grossman explains how the graphics world was more than ready for an upgrade. Tom Davis recounts the difficulties that he and his team had getting people to understand what was possible with the Geometry Engine. Luckily, Steve “Spaz” Williams defied his bosses and showed them its power to bring worlds to life, starting with Jurassic Park. Camille Cellucci explains that from then on, everything changed for the movie industry—and for the broader world of graphics.
Mark Dean: The Inventor Who Made the Computer Personal
Dr. Mark Dean has a superpower. He wasn’t born with it. He wasn’t exposed to high levels of radiation. It’s a power he learned from his father. And because of it, he was able to revolutionize the personal computer.
David Bradley explains how in the 1980s, IBM had a reputation for building big, enterprise mainframes. No one believed IBM could make a competitive PC. But that’s exactly what “Project Chess” was tasked with creating. Tony Hey describes the monumental shift in strategy it was for IBM to enter the PC market. Pete Martinez and Dennis Moeller recount their days working with Mark on the skunkworks project. And how IBM's strategy for creating a computer in under a year changed the personal computing industry forever—opening it to innovators outside the walls of IBM.
Mark Dean holds 3 of the 9 patents for the IBM 5150—the first IBM PC—including the revolutionary ISA bus. He then went on to lead the team that created the first gigahertz microprocessor, and eventually taught at the University of Tennessee. Mwamba Bowa shares her most cherished lesson from the inventor—how to cultivate that super power for herself.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Love this podcast
I absolutely love this podcast. Especially the fact that they are bringing to light inventors who were never recognized for their work.
Good, could be great
The podcast covers a wide and interesting range of topics. Unfortunately, it feels like the narrator is speaking to a child with her intonation and cadence. The heavy use of sound effects is also annoying - it feels like they don’t trust they can keep my attention with the content itself.