The death of Akamai co-founder and chief technology officer, Daniel Lewin has been just one of the tragedies of recent days.

Thirty-one year old Lewin was a passenger aboard flight 11, one of the planes crashed into the World Trade Center. He had recently been named as one of the 25 most influential chief technology officers by InfoWorld magazine.

Akamai President Paul Sagan spoke with Infoworld's chief technology officer editor Eve Epstein about Lewin's legacy as a technology developer and business leader. What follows are excerpts from the interview.

Visionary "Danny was one of the visionaries, proponents, and creators of what the entire computing industry is going toward," said Sagan. His ideas influenced the development of Microsoft's .NET strategy, and many other technologies based on the concept of distributed computing.

Sagan added: "He was one of the early people who understood how it could be done. That it could be done. He created the technology to do it, and then commercialized it.

"I had known him a little more than three years."

Sagan had been called to do a company check on Akamai in advance of the company's flotation. He said: "I was so infected with Danny's enthusiasm that when they asked me to drop everything else I was doing and join them, the only answer I could give them was yes.

"I think one of the really great losses to the industry is the loss of a visionary who's helped influence a true sea change in the way people think about computing, and not just the Internet or online."

Internet Epstein asked Sagan what Lewin's legacy for the Internet would be: "As a communications medium, the Internet had one of its defining moments this week - regrettably around this tragedy. It's taken its place as one of the most reliable forms of communication. In New York when TV wasn't reliable, when phones weren't reliable, people turned to the Internet, and it was reliable.

"That's part of Danny's legacy and, of course, the tragic irony is that he didn't see it happen, because he lost his life in the tragedy. His vision has helped the Internet get to a level people thought it might, but weren't sure it could. Through almost sheer will on top of his intelligence, he saw the vision come together."

Sagan said: "Danny was one of the smartest people I've ever met. Beyond that he was motivated, driven to succeed, unwilling to ever do anything less than his best, and expecting no less from other people. He was extremely competitive and simply would not accept a no answer.

"He is a great loss for us, and nothing can replace him, especially as a friend.

"One of Danny's other great legacies and great skills was his ability to attract and motivate people. He helped recruit most of the more than 300 engineers, who include more than 60 PhDs, in the company. We believe that there is on the engineering side, on the management side, and in every other part of the company a deep bench of people who Danny believed in, and who can carry out the mission of Akamai in his honour.

"I think people should know that he was a person of great humour, warmth and compassion. The things I will remember most about him are more personal moments. My youngest daughter was having a problem with a special maths problem one night, so I told her to call Danny, and he helped her solve the problem. He thought it was fun, because he liked those kinds of challenges."