Earlier this month, more than 100 delegates from the City of London descended on the East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf for FinJS, an event co-sponsored by Scott Logic, REDI and OpenFin.  

Goal of the day

As someone who has spent over 15 years working in technical sales and recruitment, I was particularly excited by the delegate list of internationally recognised investment banks. This was a great networking opportunity, attended by architects and C-level contacts, all hoping to find out more about innovations in JavaScript and HTML5.

The list of presenters was impressive. As well as Scott Logic’s own Colin Eberhardt presenting his view on the future of HTML5 productivity, Dan Schafer gave us an interesting insight into life at Facebook, and we heard from ICAP and REDI about the deployment of OpenFin technology. But it was clear there was one person everyone was there to see - Brendan Eich.

Brendan Eich; he’s the guy who invented JavaScript right? Despite spending all my working life in technology, I confess I’m not overly familiar with Brendan’s work, and I certainly wasn't aware of the major impact he’s had in the world of technology and his global reputation. During his time on stage, Brendan told us tales of the beginnings of JavaScript and the 10-day programming binge that led to the very first version. We heard about Brave, internet privacy and the concerns he has around advertising technology. If you aren’t already familiar, you can find out more about Brave here. We also heard Brendan’s opinions on the future of JavaScript and also WebAssembly, which is something else you should definitely read about.

Brendan Eich is well used to presenting to a large audience and spoke for over 30 minutes; the audience were not left disappointed and hung on every word he said. As the talk ended there was an immediate rush as delegates queued to shake hands (and in one case take a selfie) of the man himself. As I headed to the bar I turned to see a crowd of 20 or so people surround him; it’s obvious this guy has legendary status in the world of technology.

Back of the net

A few days later I stood in my local pub watching England play Russia in the European Championships. I chatted with friends whose interests lie firmly in football rather than technology. I mentioned my meeting with Brendan Eich. I was greeted with indifference and a shrug of the shoulders as people sipped their beer and turned back to the big screen. It’s clear my friends have little idea of the impact this guy has had on their lives and their day to day interaction with technology, but why would they?

Later: “Did I tell you I saw Peter Beardsley on the train back to Newcastle?”. Immediately I was greeted with far more enthusiasm as friends asked me if I managed to get an autograph, grab a selfie or shake hands with the great England footballer. He may not have influenced the world of technology in any way, but he can certainly strike a ball. In the world of football, he’s certainly a legend.

As someone who loves football and works in technology, June 7th turned out to be a very eventful day as I brushed shoulders with both Peter Beardsley and Brendan Eich. For very different reasons they could both be described as legends. I’ll let you decide who’s the greatest.