David Ungar and Randall Smith, originally at Xerox PARC, then Stanford, designed Self, a prototype-based dynamic JITted Smalltalk dialect. In 1991 they joined Sun Microsystems, where Self kept being developed.
In 1994, Urs Hölzle at Stanford wrote a better compiler for Self. He was approached by Dave Griswold, who wrote a paper in 1993 with Gilad Bracha titled 'Strongtalk: Typechecking Smalltalk in a Production Environment', and together with Lars Bak the four of them started a company to commercialize Strongtalk. They were acquihired by Sun in 1997.
Together, the Self and Strongtalk teams' work resulted in the HotSpot VM for Java in 1999.
- David Ungar went on to be a member of the 'Dynamic Optimization Group' at IBM Research.
- Randall Smith now works at the 'Modeling, Simulation, and Optimization Group' at Oracle Labs.
- Urs Hölzle was one of Google's first hires and its first VP of Engineering and significantly shaped the company.
- Lars Bak joined Google in 2004 and went on to design the V8 runtime and Dart.
- Gilad Bracha went on to co-author much of the Java Language Specification and the Java VM Specification, then started a company to design the language Newspeak, and now works at Google on Dart.
- Dave Griswold continued to develop Strongtalk well into the 2000s, but I can't find any current info on him. If you know what he's up to these days, let me know!