The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) held its annual CT Hall of Fame in New York on Wednesday night, honoring the difference-makers in the industry.
This year’s inductees included: John Briesch, who led Sony's launch of the CD; Dr. John Cioffi, the father of DSL; Robert Cole, founder of World Wide Stereo; Richard Doherty, journalist and industry analyst; Peter Lesser, founder of X10 Limited; Mike Romagnolo, founder of DOW Stereo; Edgar Villchur, inventor of the acoustic suspension speaker and independent suspension turntable and co-founder of Acoustic Research; Kathy Gornik and Jim Thiel, founders of Thiel Audio; and the Skype Team of Swede Niklas Zennström, Dane Janus Friis, Jaan Tallinn, Priit Kasesalu and Ahti Heinla.
Before recognizing “the best and brightest” who’ve all been “willing to take risks to bring new technologies and business strategies to market,” as CTA president/CEO Gary Shapiro said, the crowd at Capitale paid a moment of tribute to industry icon Joe Clayton, who passed away on Nov. 3. Clayton was known to many of us for his “pure marketing genius,” noted Shapiro.
The inductees’ remarks carried a similar theme of humble appreciation for being recognized; admiration for the teams they’ve worked with through the years; and respect for having the opportunity to participate in a field that’s evolved from simply bringing music into homes to being able to change people’s lives, as World Wide Stereo’s Cole said.
Advised Sony’s Briesch: “If you have a passion or a dream, find a team and have confidence you’re on the right track. With that, you can change the world.”
U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, a 2017 CT Hall of Fame inductee, also made a surprise appearance. Issa, co-founder of Directed Electronics, good-naturedly sparred with Shapiro about past CES-es, noting that “one or two consumer electronics shows made all the difference in getting people and companies to learn about [Directed].”