African Americans have always been at the forefront of technological advancement—from developing the first stoplight to perfecting the long-range telephone transmitter. And the Black Digerati we feature here are no exception. Working on the cutting edge of technology, this bumper crop of scientists, researchers, and techpreneurs are continuing a tradition of technological excellence. They represent a new breed of high-tech navigators, charting new courses in fields as varied as aerospace engineering, biotechnology, and entertainment—all with the goal of making these space-age technologies more accessible to businesspeople and consumers.
The rise of these innovators should come as no surprise to those who’ve witnessed the trails blazed by past Digerati: IBM’s Mark Dean developed the PCAT, the basis for desktop computers; Faye Briggs was one of the original creators of the Sparc processor, the brains behind Sun Microsystems’ workstations and servers; and IBM’s Sandra Johnson Baylor, who holds 10 patents, served on the team that developed the prototype for the Deep Blue Supercomputer. The accomplishments of these men and women have added untold value to consumers and businesses—helping to propel multibillion-dollar industries to a global scale—and, in the process, changed the way we work and live. As this brave new world evolves, despite slumps in the tech and telecommunications sectors, these entrants to the Digerati ranks are poised to lead the latest technological advancements.
Cedric & James Gore
Ages 33 and 31, respectively /
Co-founder and Vice President, respectively / Javakitty Media
When brothers Cedric and James Gore began shopping their Bandlink-CD Intelligence software to record industry execs, they didn’t have to worry about being rejected. The two Atlanta-based executives have invented a way to make artists, record labels, and consumers happy—all at the same time.
How did they achieve such a feat? Bandlink, an application embedded on music CDs, allows fans to connect with the artist whose music they’ve purchased. The software enables record labels to track usage for target marketing and sales efforts. The brothers’ innovation could result in huge cost savings for record companies that need to determine the “next big hit.”
“There’s a huge disconnect between artists and their fans,” says Cedric. “The fans have spoken in the last few years, and they’re not happy with the old value proposition. They’re not buying music.”
According to a Forrester Research study, the combination of peer-to-peer music downloads and more artists opting to distribute their music independently will cost the record industry roughly $3 billion. It makes sense then for labels to seek out the Bandlink option. When a consumer purchases a record and pops it into a PC, he or she is instantly logged into the artist’s chat room. Users can browse photos, view tour dates, and occasionally chat with the artist. Moreover, they can connect with other fans and even share listening experiences. Toni Braxton, Santana, and TLC are among the artists whose CDs feature the Bandlink technology.
With Bandlink, the Gores’ Javakitty Media—which grossed about $200,000 in 2002—will continue to make its own sweet music.
Age 39 / Occupation Department Head for Software and Modeling / Ford