Ryan is spectacularly talented, motivated, curious, and intellectually honest. Not only did he bring the world Node.js but he had the courage to call out all the mistakes and regrets he has about his poor decisions when he created it—in front of hundreds of people no less. This makes him a giant in my eyes.
Ryan's heroism comes from both his intellect but equally the respect he shows for the community to let them know he no longer agrees with things he once thought and still respects others for disagreeing with him.
Ryan also has the courage to embrace new technologies (such as Go and Rust) that are better for the job as they emerged. He is fearless in using the right tool for the job when it comes along. He has put off concern for what the popular mob thinks and does his own thing based on his own research and conclusions all while constantly remaining open to the research and findings of others. These are the hallmarks of a great technologist.