Ray Tomlinson – The Man You Never Knew . . .

. . . That Changed YOUR Life!

OK, so who the heck is Ray Tomlinson?  And since you probably never heard of him, how is it possible that he, somehow, effected your life?  Oh, and did I mention it was in a monumental way?


Ray Tomlinson


We all have heard of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.  Two men that manifested their dreams upon the very fabric of society.  So important were their contributions that, depending upon which business model you favor, we tend to use them as the examples of computer and internet success.

What did Ray Tomlinson do, then, that would place him among the ranks of of such esteemed individuals?  I mean, after all, what contribution could someone most people alive have never heard of possibly do to be notable, and presented in this blog?

Mr. Tomlinson  was the man that, in 1971 . . . invented email!


“Tomlinson’s email program brought about a complete revolution,

fundamentally changing the way people communicate”

– Internet Hall of Fame

Ray Tomlinson died yesterday, March 5, 2016, at the age of 74.  A man who touched the lives of almost every person on the planet at some level.  A man, who did so much, but asked for so little.  He simply wanted to send a message.  And indeed, he did!

This could be the end of this blog post.  A brilliant mans life that came to an end.  However, there is a greater lesson to be learned from this as well.

We are, in the end, but the dust of time.

It is in the message we leave for others, that one can live forever.


The message I take from this is that in life there are those that seek out riches and notoriety, and those that that – simply – want to realize a goal, and provide new opportunity to others.

In some cases, reaching that goal does, indeed, lead to those “riches and notoriety”.  Although their intent was to provide a solution to a need, the result propelled them into stardom.

But what of the 1000’s (millions?) of people, over generations, that have done as much (and in some cases, more) to assist others, that did not become the ‘superstars’ of their industry?  Are their accomplishments less important?  They worked as hard, with goals of their own, and achieved them.

Would the internet of today be as powerful without the work Ray Tomlinson, and untold others, put forth to accomplish what they sought?


Do not diminish your actions of today, for they are what propel you into tomorrow.


EVERYONE of us needs to know, and remember, that we have an active role in the future.  Every step we take, every action, has an effect on where we go, and what we achieve.

Unfortunately, what we accomplish may not always be visible in the moment.  I highly doubt on that day back in 1971 when Ray decided to use the “@” symbol to delegate a message, he envisioned where that would lead.

To this end, we do not truly know the ramifications (good/bad) of our actions taken today.  We have to wait until the future reveals the verdict.

We can, however, stay focused upon our goals, and continue to take the steps to achieve what we seek.  NEVER allow the lack of immediate gratification to overwhelm our efforts.  Take pride in what we have done in the past that has shown to be effective, and build from that.  It is this learning process that will instill the ripples of success in our own future.

The next time you send an email remember that a decision made over 45 years ago, by a man you just heard of today, made it all possible.  This new knowledge can effect how we look upon our own endeavors.  How even the simplest of things can change our own future, and that of others, in untold ways.

Never seek a goal only for recognition,

nor give up because you are just the little guy out there.


Continue to move forward on your journey.  Remember that it is those things that you “do” simply because it is what it takes, that will enable you to realize what you seek.  Do not allow the lack of – glitz and glamour – to deter you.  The contributions you make today may just change the world around you in ways you could never imagine.

Become the leader of your own future!


With Sincere Thanks

Richard Taylor

“The only limits we have are those you impose upon yourself. Remove the limits!”


[EDIT NOTE] I want to thank Carla Frey, and others in the Plus1 chat, for encouraging me to write this post.  It is with the help of others that we all grow.  Indeed, it is appreciated.

6 thoughts to “Ray Tomlinson – The Man You Never Knew . . .”

  1. This is a great post Richard. I know there are times when I look at my accomplishments and think, what do I know that will make a difference or help, but I have found we often take what we know for granted and assume others can do it just as easily, while others are looking at you thinking how good you are at ..(your talent or calling). I love that you have brought to our attention that even the “little” steps we take can make big things happen in the future. Thanks Richard!

    1. Over the past 25+ years in business, I have found that it is those ‘little steps’ we do that has the greatest impact over time. Sure, we get those really-amazing-awesome-moments once in a while, but that does not keep a business operating.

      Once we realize where the true ‘power’ in business, and life, resides – we can then begin to accomplish more.

      Of course, never stop looking for greater returns. But take what we all ‘do’ everyday, and know we are headed in the right direction!

      Thanks for all you do Carla! For it IS what you do now, that will make tomorrow that much better – for ALL of us!

  2. Great article, Richard! Easy to read, bringing eulogy to someone not in the spotlight whose actions led to the appearance of a tool we all use today: the email. And the encouraging thought that it’s in our day-to-day, sometimes tedious actions, where the life-changing discovery may lie.

    It also speaks of our reduced capacity as a society to promote, remember, or even recognize someone’s merits while he or she is still alive.

    1. Thanks Adrian!

      We do not always know who should have the credit for things we use. When someone makes the impact Ray Tomlinson did, it does speak volumes about how much we actually pay attention to what happens around us. Hopefully, at least a few people now know of him that didn’t before.

      Life ‘changing’ actions develop over our entire lifetime. We take those actions daily, but may not realize what they are. Once we begin to look for knowledge, we sometimes find out we know/do more than we realize!

      I appreciate you taking the time to read, and comment, on this.

    1. Thank you Barbara!

      Life is too short NOT to find the positives! I am glad that you enjoy the quotes, as well as my own personal quips I highlight.

      By looking into what has happened in the past, and those that have accomplished so much, we can hope to find a glimpse into the -how- it happened, and learn from it. He was a man that wasn’t driven by fame but seeking solutions. Something we can ALL take direction from!

      Always happy to see your posts!

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