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Sir Timothy Berners-Lee

Father of the World Wide Web

My parents were both mathematicians. They obviously had a lot of fun with math. I was the eldest. I am the eldest of four. We all grew up in an atmosphere where math was sort of interesting, it was everywhere. So making pudding or making a pie involved some calculations and things. I suppose when I was little, I had two friends in elementary school, and we would discuss science. We weren't very athletic. We would walk around the playground and talk about chemistry and biology and physics, and we would wind electromagnets by taking transformer wire and wrap it around a nail. I remember those electromagnets didn't work very well. The book said you should put the nail in the hearth, in the embers of the fire, and let it cool, so that it got the right temper -- but we didn't have a fire with embers, so that never happened. The nail would become a permanent magnet. That was the first sort of interest in, I suppose, what was to become later electronics.
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Sir Timothy Berners-Lee

Father of the World Wide Web

Later on, as I went through high school, then I came across a couple of teachers who were also great: Daffy Pernell, who taught chemistry; Frank Grundy, who taught math. Both excited, just bubbling over with enthusiasm, just so excited about the idea. So you could talk to them. Just after class, the class would all leave, and they'd continue to talk excitedly about something, maybe going out from the curriculum to something that they were actually personally more interested in. And Frank was great. When he would put a problem on the board for the class, he would say, "Okay. Work this out, for N equals 2," and then for anybody who was interested, he sort of thought, "Is that true for all N?" or "Is there a quick, better way of doing this?" Just these little teasers. Or he'd end up with having got through the algebraic with a sum, the difference between two numbers to the power of 3.5 or something, and he'd then write it down to three decimal places straight off. We thought that was magic, or he cheated, and then he'd explain how he'd use the binomial theorem or whatever it is, and have an approximation. So he was full of -- I guess it's the passion is the main thing, and just letting it radiate. So both of those were good mentors, role models.
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Yogi Berra

Baseball Hall of Fame

We played ball all the time. I played every sport there was in St. Louis. Not basketball, I was too short. I played a lot of soccer. I played football. I played softball. And, we had a game called "cartball." Did you ever play with bottle caps? We'd played with bottle caps, with broomsticks. Softball, everything. I played every sport. I actually didn't know I liked to play baseball until I was 14.
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Jeff Bezos

Founder and CEO, Amazon.com

Jeff Bezos: I was very, very lucky because in fourth grade -- which for me would have been around 1974 -- I had access to a mainframe computer. There were no personal computers in 1974, and there was a company in Houston that had loaned excess mainframe computer time to this little elementary school. And we had a teletype that was connected by an old acoustic modem. You literally dialed a regular phone and picked up the handset and put it in this little cradle. And nobody -- none of the teachers knew how to operate this computer, nobody did. But, there was a stack of manuals and me and a couple of other kids stayed after class and learned how to program this thing, and that worked well for maybe about a week. And then, we learned that the mainframe programmers in some central location somewhere in Houston had already programmed this computer to play Star Trek. And, from that day forward all we did was play Star Trek.
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Jeff Bezos

Founder and CEO, Amazon.com

Jeff Bezos: I don't know. I think it's always hard to know why you're drawn to a particular thing. I think part of it is if you have a facility with that thing, of course it's satisfying to do it and so in a way that's self-reinforcing. And, certainly I always had a facility with computers. I always got along well with them and they're such extraordinary tools. You can teach them to do things and then they actually do them. It's kind of an incredible tool that we've built here in the 20th Century. That was a love affair that really did start in the fourth grade, and by the time I got to high school -- I think when I was in 11th grade I got an Apple II Plus -- and continued fooling around with computers, and then by the time I got to Princeton I was taking all the computer classes, and actually not just learning how to hack, but learning about algorithms and some of the mathematics behind computer science, and it's fascinating. It's really a very involving and fun subject.
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Jeff Bezos

Founder and CEO, Amazon.com

Jeff Bezos: I think one thing I find very motivating -- and I think this is probably a very common form of motivation or cause of motivation is, I love people counting on me, and so, you know, today it's so easy to be motivated, because we have millions of customers counting on us at Amazon.com. We've got thousands of investors counting on us. And, we're a team of thousands of employees all counting on each other. That's fun.
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