2011: Tim O’Reilly

Honorary Fellow and Keynote Speaker Tim O’Reilly

STC is pleased to announce Tim O’Reilly as the Honorary Fellow and Keynote Speaker for the 2011 Technical Communication Summit in Sacramento, CA.

“Our bookshelves are lined with his books,” commented Phylise Banner, chair of the STC Honorary Fellow Nominating Committee. “Some of us have had the honor of writing books for his premier brand in technical publishing. Tim O’Reilly is one of the most highly regarded thought leaders in our industry, and it is with pride that we welcome him to the Society with the rank of Honorary Fellow.”

Tim O’Reilly is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, Inc., thought by many to be the best computer book publisher in the world. Many readers instantly recognize the standard images of animals used on the covers of the company’s books. According to Oreilly.com, since 1978 the core goal of O’Reilly Media has been “to be a catalyst for technology change by capturing and transmitting the knowledge of ‘alpha geeks’ and other innovators.” O’Reilly Media also hosts conferences on technology topics, including the O’Reilly Open Source Convention, the Web 2.0 Summit, and the Gov 2.0 Summit. Tim’s blog, the O’Reilly Radar, “watches the alpha geeks” to determine emerging technology trends, and serves as a platform for advocacy about issues of importance to the technical community.

“Few technical communicators have accomplished as much or have acquired his influence,” enthused Alan Houser, conference manager. “Tim O’Reilly continually encourages others to embrace the available possibilities and to invent an amazing future. He is the perfect keynote speaker for the Sacramento Summit.”

O’Reilly will speak at the Opening General Session on Sunday evening, 15 May, to kick off the Summit, so be sure to arrive early enough to attend. “I am so delighted that Tim O’Reilly is the keynote speaker for the STC Summit,” said STC President Hillary Hart. “As creator of a new business model built on collaboration, shared resources, and education, he is a wonderful exemplar for the regeneration of STC. As many of you know, the new STC website is based on open source software and supplies a platform that end users can build on: both prime tenets of Tim’s approach to digital culture. Tim’s appearance at the Summit recognizes the value technical communicators bring to ‘spreading the knowledge of innovators.'”

Tim has built a culture where advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism are key tenets of the business philosophy. Some notable instances of O’Reilly’s catalytic impact on the technology world include:

  • 1992. Published The Whole Internet User’s Guide & Catalog, the first popular book about the internet, which was later selected by the New York Public Library as one of the most significant books of the twentieth century.
  • 1993. O’Reilly’s Global Network Navigator site (GNN, which was sold to America Online in September 1995) was the first web portal and the first true commercial site on the World Wide Web.
  • 1998. The term “open source” was formally adopted at a summit of key free software leaders hosted by O’Reilly. Tim is honored with Infoworld’s Industry Achievement Award for his role in open source advocacy.
  • 2000. O’Reilly introduces Safari Books Online, the first web-native service for online book content.
  • 2000. Tim’s “Open Letter to Jeff Bezos” in protest of Amazon’s 1-Click patent is signed by 10,000 supporters in four days, leading to joint lobbying for software patent reform by Amazon and O’Reilly.
  • 2003. O’Reilly holds the first Foo Camp, a private gathering at its Sebastopol, CA campus, where, as Business 2.0 noted, the alpha geeks were “… hard and happily at work moving the entire economy of the Web forward, to good end.”
  • 2004. The Web 2.0 Conference, hosted by O’Reilly, John Battelle, and MediaLive, introduces the Web 2.0 meme to a sold-out crowd.
  • Tim has served on the board of trustees for both the Internet Society and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, two organizations devoted to making sure that the internet fulfills its promise. He was on the board of Macromedia up until the recent merger with Adobe. He is currently on the board of CollabNet.
  • Tim graduated from Harvard College in 1975 with a B.A. cum laude in Classics. His honors thesis explored the tension between mysticism and logic in Plato’s dialogues.
  • An archive of Tim’s online articles, talks, and interviews can be found at Tim’s archive page.