The man in the picture, Alan Haberman, who just recently passed away at the age of 81, could legitimately lay claim to have radically altered people’s lives during his own lifetime. Unlike Sir Tim Berners-Lee (the web), Steve Jobs (Apple) and Marc Zuckerberg (Facebook), though, he remained relatively unknown. This may be in part because he did not invent the barcode, though it is mainly thanks to him that this now indispensable device became so ubiquitous. It might also be because it took a long time for the price of scanning technology to come down to commercially viable levels. In pushing so hard (see today’s FT obituary here), it could be argued that he badly undermined general numeracy levels (we have probably all experienced the shop assistant lost in simple calculations when the electric till goes down). On the other hand, by diminishing supermarket queues and facilitating baggage handling he surely added significantly to the general sense of well being throughout the world.