• 12/15/2006
    3:50 AM
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In Memory of Al

Floppy disk pioneer was as flamboyant as he was innovative
5:50 PM -- I have lost count how many times a vendor has uttered the words "innovative" and "unique" during their conversations with me over the past few years. One marketing veep even had the chutzpah to prattle on about the "elements of genius" within his product.

Sadly, Al Shugart, someone who truly earned his reputation as both innovative and unique, passed away earlier this week. The 76-year-old founder of Seagate and former IBM and Memorex exec helped usher in the era of the floppy drive, which revolutionized computing. Without the floppy, would we now have USB drives, iPods, and all the other weird and wonderful portable media? (See Lexar Locks Down USB Storage.)

I regret never having the chance to interview Shugart. In an industry where so many key players spout platitudes straight from their MBA tutor, the flamboyant, Hawaiian-shirted surfer sounded like a breath of fresh air. How many people in your office would run their dog for Congress?

Godspeed, Al.

James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Lexar Media Inc.
  • Memorex Products Inc.
  • Seagate Technology Inc.
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