Inventing the Mouse Was the Least of It

The Late Doug Engelbart Created Tools That Changed the World, But People Never Understood Him or His Gifts

You may have read about the recent death of my friend and mentor Doug Engelbart. He was a special man, but the things for which he was best known in many ways detracted from what made him special. When your abbreviated list of accomplishments includes inventing the computer mouse and hypertext—this at a time when punch cards and cabinet-sized computers were the norm—it’s easy to toss around superficial words like “genius” and leave it at that.

But Doug, while wise, was no genius. There were three things that made him special.

First, …