Personality or culture? It would be difficult to draw a line between his modesty and his British sense of reserve. Both explain why John Self will not appreciate to be put in the foreground of this journal. But, what brings a man to the front page of an academic journal? For any community, acknowledging the role of its leaders is not only a way to say 'thank you', but also a symbolic act to define its identity. Therefore, if John does not accept this text as a personal honour, it may be appreciated as an act of social consolidation. But what is a leader? Why do we perceive as leader someone so quiet, living somewhere in the 'mud' district? The answer includes three elements: John has been a pioneer in our field, he continuously influenced the evolution of ideas and he has founded the AIEd society.