Nizam Ishmael Jr., Master Inventor at IBM

At 31, Ishmael is the youngest person to hold the title Master Inventor in IBM's history. He has filed more than 50 patents in six years, with 10 issued in his name.

Nizam Ishmael Jr., Master Inventor at IBM -- Photograph by Matthew Mahon

Photograph by Matthew Mahon

Nizam Ishmael Jr.
Master Inventor at IBM

What's A Master Inventor?
"You do a little bit more thinking out of the box. You don't accept what's there. Right now, I'm doing a lot of business-integration work, which is really challenging. With all the dot-com stuff, there've been a lot of companies merging and buying other companies. So we're doing a lot of work to get their software to talk to each other."

Best Patent
A device that fits over a PDA's screen and can raise or lower the level of gray scale or color on a pixel. It would allow someone who's visually impaired to use these PDA devices. And since mobile phones these days are moving more and more toward being full-blown PDA devices, I think it'll be significant in the future."

PC-Powered Corvette
He installed a VIA motherboard that supports GPS and an entertainment system: MP3s, CDs, FM radio, satellite audio, TV, and movies. "I also have some software that lets me retune the computer in the car. I do like to work on the car. If I didn't do IT stuff or something in the medical field, I'd do something in the automotive industry."

Book Smarts
"I really don't get a chance to read many books. I spend more of my time looking at car forums or computer forums. And I usually read car magazines."

Pet Peeve
"I don't like dealing with paperwork. Especially in a big company, there's always more and more paperwork than in a small company. ...You go on a long trip, so you come back and you have to keep up with tons and tons of receipts. You'll spend two or three hours just logging all your receipts."

Editor's Choice
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer
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Shane Snider, Senior Writer, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
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Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author