As the web goes mainstream, a brand new group of celebrities is emerging. The 100 people you will find below are shaping the future of the Internet (most for the better, some for the worse…), and as a consequence, they are right under the spotlight.
We gathered around 200 potential names and queried them on Google to see how many results they would generate. Some minor adjustments were made, and the 100 names with the highest number of results were profiled (as you can see it is not our fault that Chris Crocker ended at the 6th position!)
Celebrities that became famous prior to the explosion of the Web were not included. Hence you will not find the likes of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, despite our acknowledgment that they are also influencing the Internet.
TechCult’s Top 100 Web Celebrities
100. Alex Tew
College can be expensive, and students can be incredibly imaginative; put the two together and you will come up with some pretty unusual methods of earning tuition money.
That’s exactly what Alex Tew did to create his Million Dollar Homepage project. Starting in August, 2005, Tew began selling blocks of pixels on his page. Buyers could use the space for advertising or whatever they wished. Word of the project spread and soon Tew was getting coverage in mainstream magazines.
After a month, he had sold over $150,000 worth of space and by January, 2006, he had exceeded the one million dollar mark.
99. David Sifry
David Sifry is known primarily for having founded Technorati, a search engine that indexes over 100 million blogs (112.8 million blogs and 250 million pieces of tagged social media as of May 22, 2008).
In addition, Technorati tracks blog traffic and link stats, and its ranking system can mean bragging rights for sites (called the Technorati Top 100).
Silfry is an Open Source proponent, and is a frequent speaker on the subjects of web technology, wireless and blogging. In addition, he’s frequently interviewed or quoted in tech and business magazines, including The Guardian and The Economist.
98. Richard MacManus
Richard MacManus is the founder of Read/WriteWeb, a blog about technology issues and Web 2.0 developments that has been rated as one of the world’s 50 most popular blogs (by Technorati).
The blog also generates over 600,000 page views every month, and has around 220,000 RSS subscribers.
The impact of MacManus’ writing and Read/WriteWeb has been recognized by PC Magazine and other mainstream publications.
Prior to his blogging career, MacManus was a researcher, analyst and author, writing for ZDNet; he still consults for various technology companies, primarily those based in Silicon Valley.
97. Jeff Atwood
Jeff Atwood’s blog CodingHorror.com is a popular choice for those interested in web development and software programming in general. Atwood’s site is full of tips and commentary on how not to code, as well as programming advice.
Online since 2004, Atwood has a dedicated audience (over 60,000 RSS subscribers) and significant site traffic, estimated at over half a million unique visitors per month.
Jeff Atwood has recently joined up with Joel On Software Spolsky to create a new programming resource site, stackoverflow.com, currently under development.
96. Amanda Congdon
Amanda Congdon is best known as the popular anchor, co-producer and co-owner of Rocketboom, one of the most widely viewed video blogs on the web. She stayed with the show from 2004 through 2006.
Beginning with 700 viewers when she was hired by founder Andrew Michael Baron, Congdon grew Rocketboom’s audience for the three minute video clips to a reported 130,000 viewers per day. Congdon left Rocketboom in July of 2006 under controversial circumstances: she said she had been fired by Baron, while Baron’s claimed she left for showbiz opportunities.
Congdon has since made a number of guest appearance on TV shows and participated in other web-based projects, including the blog AmandaAcrossAmerica.com. She blogs and lists her current projects at AmandaCongdon.com.
95. Drew Curtis
Fark.com, started in 1999 by Drew Curtis, is a social news aggregator web site. Fark readers submit links to interesting (and/or controversial) items from other web sites and Fark administrators choose whether to promote these to the Fark.com front page; the items are tagged so they can be divided into related forums.
Readers comment on the stories and the traffic directed to linked pages from the Fark.com front page has been known to crash those sites’ servers due to excessive load; an effect known as being “farked.”
Curtis’ first book, It’s Not News, It’s FARK: How Mass Media Tries To Pass Off Crap As News was published in 2007.
94. Bob Parsons
Bob Parsons’ original involvement in the technology field was as the creator of MoneyCounts, a home accounting software package that he released in 1984. After diversifying into religious software (Bible-searching, Christian clip art, etc…), he sold his company to Intuit in 1994.
Parsons turned to the Internet and in 1997 founded Go Daddy, an Internet registrar and web-hosting firm. With three registrars under the company umbrella, including GoDaddy.com, Go Daddy is by far the dominant player in the industry, and the largest ICANN-accredited registrar.
Go Daddy has become a player in the ongoing evolution of Internet policies, to the point of becoming involved in political lobbying with the US government.
93. Judson Laipply
A comedian and motivational speaker, Judson Laipply posted a video on YouTube in 2006, looking for his fifteen minutes of Internet fame.
As it turned out, that video, The Evolution of Dance, was forwarded everywhere and became the most popular video on YouTube: most viewed of all time and most commented of all time. As of May, 2008, it has been viewed nearly 86 million times and nearly 160,000 people have left comments. Of course it has also spawned a series of imitators and send-ups.
Laipply keeps the video front and center on his web site, The Evolution of Dance, which has become a commercial portal offering EOD shirts and motivational speaking bookings by Laipply.
92. Mitchell Baker
Mitchell Baker”s title inside the Mozilla Foundation is quite unique: Chief Lizard Wrangler. Translated it should mean Chairperson. She runs the business side of both the Mozilla Foundation and the Mozilla Corporation (the subsidiary), and she is also responsible for the vision that the organization is pursuing.
Back in 1994 Baker was already involved with Netscape Communications, where she was in charge of the intellectual property protection department.
Given the enormous importance that the Mozilla Foundation is taking in recent years, Baker was included in the Time”s 100 most important people in the world list (2005). You can read more about her opinions and the inside activities of Mozilla on her personal blog.
91. Mark Frauenfelder
Mark Frauenfelder is someone who successfully plays in both print and web media, apart from being a talented illustrator.
Frauenfelder is probably best known on the web as the co-founder of the blog Boing Boing, based on bOING bOING magazine, which he also co-founded. He’s been a print columnist with a wide range of publications, including Playboy, The New York Times Magazine and Wired (where he was an editor for 5 years).
He is currently Editor-In-Chief of Make magazine. Frauenfelder wrote and illustrated a science book aimed at kids called The Mad Professor, and recently released the book Rule The Web: How To Do Anything And Everything on the Internet- Better, Faster, Easier.
90. Sarah Lacy
Sarah lacy is a bi-weekly columnist for Business Week magazine and the co-author of that magazine’s Kevin Rose cover story. She also co-hosts Yahoo’s Tech Ticker web show.
Lacy can be a bit of a target –her good look have earned resentment on some fronts, despite ten years of tech industry reporting- and at the SXSW conference in 2008, things came to a head when the audience turned on her while she interviewed FaceBook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on stage.
Lacy’s book Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good: The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0 was released in May, 2008. She blogs regularly at Sarah Lacy.com.
89. Jason Kottke
Jason Kottke is a long-time blogger, “Bloggie” Lifetime Achievement award winner and former web designer. Kottke’s design work has been recognized in The New York Times and Forbes and a font he designed (silkscreen typeface) has been used by Volvo, MTV and Adobe.
He began blogging in 1998 and kept at it, with a 2000 profile in the New Yorker helping to introduce the idea of blogging to the general public. 2004 saw a rough patch when Kottke’s blog, kottke.org, broke the news of Ken Jennings’ Jeopardy loss, including the question he answered incorrectly –the network was not amused. In 2005, Kottke experimented with asking readers to make donations to support his blog, reporting that 1450 micro-patrons had contributed nearly $40,000.
88. Xeni Jardin
Xeni Jardin is a blogger and somewhat of a technology and digital culture media personality, making frequent appearances on Internet celebrity lists.
She holds the high profile position of co-editor at the blog Boing Boing , and contributes material to Wired, wired.com, Make, Popular Science, Playboy, and editorial pieces for the New York Times and Los Angeles Times.
She is a correspondent for NPR radio show Day to Day and has put in guest appearances as a technology commentator on ABC, CNN, Fox, G4TechTV and BBC5 radio. Jardin also appears as the co-host of Boing Boing’s daily web-based video show BoingBoingtv.
87. Ryan Block
As Editor-in-Chief of technology blog Engadget, Ryan Block has considerable influence in how computer, home electronic and technology-related products in general are received. To gain some perspective of how much influence a leading technology blog can have, consider that a 2007 Engadget post by Block about a possible iPhone and OSX release delay, based on a faked Apple e-mail, drove down Apple’s share price by 2.2% within a matter of minutes.
Block is a frequent guest on tech-related shows, including appearances on Cranky Geeks, CNET, Attack of the Show and others. Block is currently involved in a relationship with popular web media personality Veronica Belmont, a fact he mentions frequently on his personal blog.
86. Markos Moulitsas
Markos “kos” Moulitsas is an author and blogger. He founded and is the main author of the well-known political commentary blog Daily Kos. With a membership of over 125,000 registered readers and postings by prominent Democratic political figures including Jimmy Carter, John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi, Daily Kos currently attracts 600,000 daily visitors.
Moulitsas parlayed his web prominence into a regular Newsweek column and has co-authored the book Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics. He placed third in a Forbe’s list of web celebrities and ranked 26th in a PC Magazine list of the Most Important People on the Web.
85. Janus Friis
A self-described “disruptive Internet entrepreneur,” Janus Friis is the co-founder (with Niklas Zennstrom) of the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) KaZaA network and went on with Zennstrom to co-found Internet telephony company Skype, investment company Atomico and P2P video distribution system Joost.
Along with Zennstrom, Friis is considered to be behind many of the most significant technological shifts on the Internet and has been named to lists of important contributors compiled by cnn.com and Time magazine.
Friis blogs occasionally at janusfriis.net and is frequently profiled in both online and print media.
84. Jack Ma
Jack Ma was one of the first Chinese to realize the potential of the Web. As soon as he managed to grab an Internet connection, he started building websites for Chinese companies.
In 1999 he hit a home run founding Alibaba.com. The site works as a business to business marketplace, and it became successful in connecting foreign companies to Chinese ones. The popularity of the website grew so much that in 2005 Yahoo! decided to purchase 40% of it, offering in exchange US$1 billion plus the assets of Yahoo! China.
In November of 2007 Alibaba.com was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, raising a total of US$1.5 billion. It was the second largest IPO for an Internet company, after Google.
83. Bram Cohen
The motion picture industry watched the havoc that Napster and other sharing networks wreaked on the music business and realized the same thing could happen to them when technology and bandwidth caught up to the much larger video file sizes. Bram Cohen co-founded BitTorrent in 2002 and the game was on.
Cohen’s BitTorrent protocol facilitates distribution of large files by breaking them into smaller pieces, with multiple recipients and sharers all swapping file bits instead of a single host server distributing an entire file. From a copyright enforcement perspective, BitTorrent means tracking and shutting down a single file uploader has little or no impact on file availability.
82. Philip Rosedale
Philip Rosedale (also known by his Second Life avatar’s name Philip Linden) is the founder and CEO of Linden Lab, creator of virtual world Second Life. Second Life claims to have over 2 million subscribers and has become an important point of contact for real-life personalities and organizations that establish a Second Life presence to interact with subscribers.
With the runaway success of Second life, Rosedale’s contribution to online society has been noted in Business 2.0, USA Today and Time magazine. Rosedale’s career prior to founding Linden Labs includes serving as Vice President and CTO at RealNetworks, where he launched a series of computer media products including RealVideo.
81. Steve Pavlina
The founder, CEO and software developer for award winning shareware game company Dexterity Software, Steve Pavlina was originally known for developing engaging computer games and for his work on behalf of the Association of Shareware Professionals (ASP).
In 2006, Pavlina turned from game development to his blog on personal development, StevePavlina.com . On his site, Pavlina describes himself as “perhaps the most intensely growth-oriented individual you will ever meet,” and claims his site to be the world’s most popular personal development site, with over 1.8 million visitors per month. In a 2007 interview, Pavlina notes that his blogging generates nearly $40,000 per month in earnings.
80. Gina Trapani
Gina Trapani is a tech writer, author and freelance web developer. Her most visible role is as Lead Editor for Gawker Media’s personal productivity blog Lifehacker, a role that has also spawned the books Upgrade Your Life: The Lifehacker Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, Better and Lifehacker: 88 Tricks to Turbocharge Your Day.
Lifehacker is one of the most popular blogs on the web, with its 2006 readership estimated at 7 million page views per month and over 100,000 RSS subscribers; Lifehacker has received accolades from CNET, Wired, Time and others.
Articles written by Trapani have appeared in prominent publications, including Wired, Popular Science, PC World and MacWorld, and she has been profiled by the likes of The Wall Street Journal.
79. Anil Dash
An early blogger, Anil Dash is Vice President and Chief Evangelist for blogging software giant Six Apart. This position involves helping popularize blogging through appearances at various events and promoting Six Apart products, including Movable Type and TypePad.
Dash gained some public notice by winning a 2004 contest to take the top position in a Google search for the term “nigritude ultramarine”; while many competitors resorted to extreme search optimization methods, Dash simply posted a blog post on the subject and asked readers to link to his post. His writing on web culture has been featured in Wired and the Washington Post and he has appeared as a guest on a variety of shows. Anil Dash blogs at dashes.com.
78. Brad Fitzpatrick
A software engineer, Fitzpatrick (or bradfitz) is best known as the creator of LiveJournal, a blogging virtual community with accompanying Open Source server software; part of his Danga Interactive company, which he sold to blogging software company Six Apart in 2005.
Fitzpatrick took the position of Chief Architect with Six Apart, but left the company in 2007 for a position with Google. A supporter of the Open Source movement, Fitzpatrick is responsible for the development of other projects including MogileFS, Djabberd and Perlbal. Fitzpatrick’s web site bradfitz.com serves as a central hub for his presence on the web, including FaceBook, MySpace and Twitter pages.
77. Veronica Belmont
Veronica Belmont is a journalist, media personality and host or co-host of a slew of technology industry-themed podcasts, shows and videos. She was also named to a Sexiest Geek list.
Belmont originally joined CNET as a producer and sound engineer, but soon grew beyond her background role and began making appearances, eventually co-hosting CNET podcasts including MP3 Insider and CRAVE Gadget Blog. Leaving CNET for Mahalo in 2007, she hosted her own video show, Malaho Daily.
In 2008, she left Malaho for Revision3, where she is now co-host of Tekzilla. Besides her full-time gigs, Belmont has been in high demand as a guest on other shows and podcasts, putting in dozens of appearances over the past several years.
76. Matt Mullenweg
One of the individuals who has been quietly enabling and strengthening the presence of blogging since 2002, Matt Mullenweg has been involved with a host of blogging services, tools and software companies, and has been at the forefront of a battle to curb splogs (computer generated blog comments that link to fake, advertising blogs).
He was a co-founder of WordPress, The Global Multimedia Protocols Group, Akismet (a splog-blocking service), worked for CNET, and most recently, co-founded the company Automattic. Mullenweg was named to PC World’s 50 Most Important People on the Web list in 2007. His blog can be read at ma.tt.
75. Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse has proved that bloggers can be successful not only from a readership perspective, but also financially. ProBlogger and Digital Photography School, his digital photography site, are estimated to generate over 50,000 page views per day between them and generate in excess of $20,000 per month in advertising revenue.
ProBlogger, which offers blogging tips and advice, is often cited as one of the web’s top blogs. Rowse outlined his methods as co-author of the book ProBlogger: Secrets For Blogging Your Way To A Six-Figure Income, as well as teaching a similarly-themed course. Rowse is also co-founder and VP of Blogger Training for blog network b5media.
74. Ze Frank
Hosea Jan Frank (aka Ze Frank), is performance artist, famous for his year-long, The Show With Ze Frank, daily video blog. Frank gained recognition in 2001, when “How To Dance Properly,” created as a party invitation for his friends, became a runaway viral video, generating millions of hits.
The Show With Ze Frank received thousands of visitors daily and featured a Friday segment where Frank performed routines scripted by viewers via a wiki. Frank was recognized with a 2002 “webby” award and recognition for The Show at the 2007 SXSW festival.
He’s received coverage in the mainstream media and multiple invitations to speak at the TED conference. Frank’s blog, zefrank.com remains a popular site for his humorous commentary and impressive collection of links to online games, videos and time wasters.
73. Merlin Mann
Writer and productivity guru Merlin Mann has carved a niche for himself as a motivational “productivity” speaker and a dispenser of advice through his popular 43 Folders site.
Concentrating on personal productivity and “life hacks,” 43 Folders draws an estimated 2.5 million unique visitors per year and its RSS feed is downloaded 100,000 times daily. Mann has written articles for technology and cultural publications including Make, Wired, MacWorld and Popular Science and contributes to productivity and Mac-oriented podcasts.
His productivity talks appeal to the technology crowd and he’s been a featured speaker and influential companies such as Apple, Yahoo! and Google. (Photo by Graham)
72. John C. Dvorak
John Dvorak is probably responsible for instigating more Mac vs. Windows flame wars than any other pundit thanks to years of inflammatory and generally anti-Mac posts. Dvorak has been a force in technology and computer commentary for decades, including stints as Editor at Infoworld; columns with Forbes, MacUser, PC World; and his current column at PC Magazine. He has also authored a dozen books and written for numerous newspapers.
His personal blog still hits on technology-themed topics, but he also picks up on pop culture and general interest stories. Besides his writing gigs, Dvorak contributes to a number of video podcasts including Cranky Geeks and This Week in Tech (which claims 500,000 listeners), hosted Silicon Spin on TechTV and is a frequent technology commentator on CNBC.
71. Steve Rubel
Steve Rubel is a Public Relations expert (or “digital marketer,” as he describes himself) and an evangelist for using corporate blogs as an effective PR medium. His own blog, Micro Persuasion, was launched in 2004 and offers thoughts and advice about technology’s impact on business, culture, media and marketing.
Rubel gained some public attention with the Wal-Marting Across America blog, which followed a couple who drove an RV across the US , parking the vehicle overnight in Wal-Mart parking lots. Rubel is currently SVP, Director of Insights for Edelman Digital and his successful leverage of coporate blogging has led to recognition in technology and business-related media, including Forbes.com, PC Magazine and Media Magazine.
70. Nick Denton
In the blogsphere, there are a multitude of personal blogs, corporate blogs and there are the blogs belonging to a parent media group. Gawker Media, founded and owned by Nick Denton, is one of those umbrella online media organizations and its stable of blogs include some of the most popular on the web: Gizmodo, io9, Consumerist, Lifehacker, and Gawker, among others.
Denton took over as the Managing Editor of flagship blog Gawker.com in 2008, following a tumultuous year that saw multiple editors leave. Gawker, which is a New York entertainment and culture-focused blog, has also seen controversy over its “Gawker Stalker” feature, a GoogleMaps mashup that plots the location of celebrities as spotted and reported by Gawker readers.
69. Craig Newmark
Craig Newmark dealt many publications a knock-out punch with the launch of his Craigslist web site. While traditional newspapers rely on classified advertising as a major source of revenue, Craiglist allows users to post ads for free, charging only for job postings.
With a presence in most major cities in the US and significant worldwide growth, Craigslist has become the market leader in classified advertising and one of the highest traffic web sites in the world (reportedly 9 billion page views per month). eBay purchased a stake in Craigslist in 2004, but the two companies engaged in legal action against each other in 2008, trading accusations over unfair competition. Newark is an advocate of keeping web services free, remains active in the day to day operations of Craigslist and blogs regularly.
68. Niklas Zennstrom
Niklas Zennstrom is a leader in the field of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) web technologies. His first major venture was as co-founder of the KaZaA (or kaazaa) Network, a technology which had significant impact on enabling the file sharing (especially of MP3s) that had become one of the Internet’s big things; the company attracted its fair share of copyright-related lawsuits.
Zennstrom is also co-founder of Internet telephony company Skype, which was purchased in 2005 for over $2.5 billion by eBay. Zennstrom is now involved in his latest start-up, Joost, an advertising-supported P2P video distribution system for which Zennstrom has been negotiating content deals with numerous entertainment companies, including MTV, Paramount, CBS and the National Hockey League.
67. Meg Whitman
Meg Whitman was the President and CEO of eBay from March 1998 to March 2008. Under her command, the online auctions website managed to maintain its leadership, despite the attack of other Internet companies like Amazon and Yahoo!.
Whitman also contributed to the successful acquisition of PayPal in 2003, and to the somewhat successful acquisition of Skype in 2005.
Her networth is estimated at over US$1 billion, and she made it to the Time”s 100 most important people list on several years.
66. Steve Gibson
The Internet is full of shadowy figures who constantly test the vulnerability of sites and data. Steve Gibson is an expert on these people, the system hackers and software crackers. He is a Contributing Editor to InfoWorld magazine and founder of Gibson Research Corporation (GRC), a software development firm that develops specialized tools for data recovery and Internet security.
Gibson’s OptOut software, released in 2000, was one of the first adware removal programs. He has appeared frequently on tech-based podcasts and TV shows with Leo Laporte, including co-hosting the Security Now! podcast. Some of Gibson’s claims about computer and system security vulnerabilities have been downplayed by other experts, with occasional accusations that Gibson may have been inflating their significance.
65. Jeffrey Zeldman
Jeffrey Zeldman was on the web scene early in the game, and has been posting about web design since 1995, most notably on A List Apart.
Zeldman was an early proponent of a standards-based, cross browser approach to web design and through the Web Standards Project (which he co-founded), helped to pressure Microsoft and Netscape into supporting standards in their browsers. His lectures and books have helped to increase awareness of standards and to train a generation of web designers, contributing to an improved web browsing experience for everyone.
Zeldman’s blog, The Daily Report is a good read for his commentary on web design and technology topics.
64. Mitch Kapor
As co-founder, President and CEO of Lotus development Corp., Mitchell Kapor was one of the people who helped make the personal computer an integral part of the business office.
In 1983, he created Lotus 1-2-3, the dominant spreadsheet software that rapidly made Lotus one of the world’s biggest software companies. Kapor’s sphere of influence spread to the Internet. He was a co-founder of digital right organization the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), serving as its Chairman until 1994.
He has chaired the Mozilla Foundation and belongs to the Advisory Board for the Wikipedia Foundation. His web site includes lists of his current projects as well as an archive of his articles and publications; he shut down his blog in 2006.
63. Steve Case
Steve Case is a web pioneer and philanthropist. Case was co-founder, Chairman and CEO of America Online (AOL), once the world’s largest Internet company and the gateway to e-mail and web access used by millions of subscribers. After AOL merged with Time Warner in 2001, Chase became chairman of the new company AOL Time Warner, stepping down in 2003.
The merger came at the height of the dot-com meltdown as well as dwindling AOL influence and has generally been considered a disappointment. Case has turned much of his attention to philanthropic causes through his Case Foundation organization, although his 2005 start-up, Revolution (primarily heath care and wellness-focused), shows he is still active in the business world.
62. Nicholas Carr
Nicholas Carr is a writer and scholar who has raised waves in the technology and Web 2.0 worlds with his pointed criticism; a 2007 Wired article referred to him as “high tech’s Captain Buzzkill.”
Carr uses his blog Rough Type to reach out to a wide audience, posting his thoughts on IT service as a standardized commodity, the risk of volunteer Web 2.0 efforts (Wikipedia being a favorite target) supplanting higher quality, “professional” versions and his fear of Google’s influence on future culture.
A former Executive Editor with The Harvard Business Review, Carr’s books include Does IT Matter? Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage and The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, From Edison to Google.
61. Marissa Mayer
Marissa Mayer is the Vice President of Search Product & User Experience at Google, Inc. She has led the product management group through a number of key product releases, including Google Earth and Google Desktop and it is her responsibility to decide which incubating projects should be brought to the attention of Google’s founders and when products are ready for public introduction.
Mayer tends to be one of Google’s most visible executives, since product launches typically involve appearances at conferences and media interviews. One of Google’s first 20 employees and their first female software engineer, Mayer has been profiled in publications such as Red Herring, Business Week, Fortune and Business 2.0.
60. Frank Warren
Frank Warren’s claim to fame is the weblog phenomena PostSecret. Warren started his online PostSecret project as an experimental blog that asked readers to send in a postcard which they were to decorate themselves on one side, and write a secret they have never revealed previously on the other. Warren then displayed the postcards.
PostSecret was unique in that it wasn’t a blog in the traditional sense, but more a social experiment/ viral art project. Comments weren’t even enabled on the blog until two years after it launched. The success of PostSecret brought it media attention, a collection of “bloggies” in the 2006 and 2007 Weblog Awards and led to the publication of four related books, including A Lifetime of Secrets: A PostSecret Book, released in 2007.
59. Clay Shirky
Clay Shirky is an author, professor and consultant who specializes in the social and economic impacts of Internet technologies, including the rise of decentralized (e.g. wireless) services. Shirky’s columns about the world wide web have appeared in a wide range of influential publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Wired, Computerworld and The Harvard Business Review.
He is a frequent interview subject and conference speaker on web culture and was a guest on The Colbert Report. Shirky.com, his blog, is a source of frequent posts about subjects of interest, including P2P (peer to peer), Open Source and social networking. Shirky’s most recent book, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations was released in 2008.
58. Joi Ito
Joi Ito is a noted technology columnist, venture capitalist and an influential proponent of social networking technologies. Based in Japan , Ito has written for a long list of publications, including the New York Times, Mac World Japan and Wired. As a venture capitalist, he was an investor in emerging social networking and blogging sites, including Flickr, Six Apart, Technorati and SocialText.
Ito is currently the CEO of Creative Commons, and has served on the Board of Directors for other governing bodies including ICANN, the Mozilla Foundation and the Open Source Initiative (OSI). An active participant in Web 2.0 culture, Ito is a presence on many social networking sites as well as posting regularly to his blog at joi.ito.com.
57. Joel Spolsky
Starting his programming career at Microsoft, Joel Spolsky left in 2000 to co-found Fog Creek Software (producer of FogBugz), a company that focused as much on ensuring that its operations remain software development-focused rather than marketing dominated as it did on growth.
The company remains successful and Spolsky credits this to keeping Softcreek a company that is attractive to software developers. Spolsky’s opinions of software development and the management (or mis-management) of software and technology companies on his blog joelonsoftware struck a nerve with software engineers and employees of technology-focused companies worldwide and they have made his posts a must-read.
He has also written a handful of books, including Smart and Gets Things Done: Joel Spolsky”s Concise Guide to Finding the Best Technical Talent.
56. David Filo
David Filo co-founded Yahoo! in 1995 with partner Jerry Wang. While Wang went on to become CEO, Filo’s responsibility as “Chief Yahoo” is to direct technical operations of the Yahoo! web sites.
Filo’s teams provide much of Yahoo!’s revenues, through innovations such as push advertising, banners bars and button ads as well as holding considerable influence over platform, infrastructure and architecture.
Together with Yang, Filo remains one of the most public faces of the Yahoo! management team, although he tends to stay in the background where possible. Naturally, as a co-founder of Yahoo!, Filo is a billionaire, profiled frequently in technology publications and is in demand to speak at web and technology conferences.
55. Chad Hurley
Chad Hurley is the graphic designer and user interface expert who designed PayPal’s logo.
While working at PayPal, he met several associates (Steve Chen and Jawed Karim) and the three of them eventually left to form online video hosting site YouTube. As CEO of YouTube, Hurley was largely responsible for its tremendous growth and oversaw the sale of his company to Google in 2006 for $1.65 billion.
Hurley has been the subject of numerous technology stories, including stories in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time and Business 2.0 (which included him on its 50 People Who Matter Now list).
54. Marc Andreessen
Few people can claim to have had the impact on the early development of the world wide web that Marc Andreessen has. He was co-author of Mosaic, the first widely-adopted web browser (and which was used as the basis for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser).
Andreessen went on to co-found Netscape Communications, which promoted its own Netscape Navigator web browser. Although Netscape initially had the upper hand over Microsoft’s, that situation eventually reversed with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer becoming the dominant browser in use today.
Andreessen left Netscape shortly after it was sold to AOL in 1999 and currently invests in start-up companies like Digg, Plazes, Twitter and social network platform Ning, frequently posting about his ventures on his blog.
53. Brian Lam
Gizmodo, part of the Gawker Media network, is one of the top gadget blogs on the web; it’s currently engaged in a bitter rivalry with Engadget, a competing site created by a former Gizmodo editor. Brian Lam is Editor-In-Chief at Gizmodo and he’s steering it through an interesting transition involving the struggle between cool and from the hip blogging versus old school journalism.
At the same time that Gizmodo is making headway in a struggle to compete against traditional media for access to interview subjects and trade shows, Gizmodo staff are still pulling pranks (for example, turning off exhibitors’ display monitors via a remote control at the 2008 CES show) that result in organizers banning them and other media dismissing them as “real” journalists.
52. Adam Curry
Adam Curry is a media crossover star who first gained fame as a veejay on MTV, hosting Headbangers Ball and Top 20 Countdown. After MTV, he moved into the relatively new realm of web entrepreneurship, co-founding the site OnRamp, which was sold to THINK (with Curry remaining on as CTO).
His biggest claim to fame is being among the first to recognize the potential in podcasting. He produces Daily Source Code, one of the first (and longest running at over 750 episodes) podcasts and has been referred to at times as the “Podfather.” He continues to promote his podcasting ventures through conferences, radio shows and even in the virtual world, Second Life.
51. Terry Semel
A long-serving executive with Time Warner, Terry Semel left to become Chairman and CEO of Yahoo! Inc. His tenure at Yahoo! was considered by many people to have hurt the company and he resigned after 6 years.
Among the low points of Semel’s reign were a failed negotiation to purchase Google before that company rose to market dominance, his approval to release Yahoo! User information to the Chinese government for the purpose of prosecuting dissidents and a compensation package that netted him well over half a billion dollars over his term during a time when Yahoo! was felt by investors to have seriously underperformed.
50. Steve Chen
Talk about being on the leading edge, Steve Chen has managed to be involved with three of the web’s hottest companies just as they began to take off, one of them as a co-founder. An employee of PayPal and Facebook, he and several co-workers left to start the online video sharing site YouTube.
Chen remains Chief Technology Officer of YouTube, which he and his partners sold to Google in 2006 for $1.65 billion. As a YouTube co-founder, Chen has changed the way media is distributed and viewed and was named to the 2007 Time 100 List and Business 2.0’s list of 50 People Who Matter Now.
49. John Chow
John Chow has managed to become one of the most controversial figures in blogging, thanks to his website Johnchow.com.
Chow had his initial success with TheTechZone.com, a massive (10,000+ pages) computer hardware review site that he claims draws 200,000 page views per day, but decided to branch out and launched the site where he began doling out advice on how to make money online
Most of Chow’s tips were related to advertising, linking, and monetizing content, but he began to veer into dangerous territory: gaming Google. In response to Chow advocating violating their guidelines, Google deliberately buried Chow’s website in their page rankings. Currently, he makes around $30,000 monthly from his blog alone.
48. John Battelle
Journalist and entrepreneur John Battelle is the CEO and Chairman of Federated Media, the online advertising company that represents such well-known blogs and websites as Boing Boing, Ars Technica, and Dooce among its large fold.
Battelle’s background includes being a co-founding Editor with Wired magazine, as well as stints with MacUser magazine and the LA Times. He is the founder and Executive Producer of the Web 2.0 conference and still contributes to his own blog, Searchblog, where he writes about search engine news and about his thoughts on general web and technology happenings. His ongoing contribution to entrepreneurship and online media has been recognized by the likes of Ernst and Young, Advertising Age, and PCWorld.
47. Om Malik
Om Malik is a journalist and blogger known for his coverage of the technology and computing fields. Starting as a writer for Forbes magazine and later Forbes.com, he was also a senior writer for new technologies/venture capital magazine Red Herring and then took a position as a senior writer for Business 2.0 magazine.
Where Malik really hit the radar, though, was when he started his Web 2.0-themed blog GigaOM under his Giga Omni Media umbrella. GigaOM claims readership numbers in the half-million per month range and is one of the world’s top-ranked blogs, with recognition of its influence coming from the likes of PC Magazine, CNET, and Technorati.
46. John Markoff
A technology journalist with a long background in tech writing (Infoworld, BYTE, San Francisco Examiner, New York Times, and others), John Markoff found himself at the center of a media storm over his chronicle of computer hacker Kevin Mitnick in the 1990s.
Markhoff had written articles about Mitnick while he was on the run from the police, then co-authored the book Takedown, which critics accused of exaggerating or even inventing parts of the Mitnick affair. Continuing to cover the computer and technology fields for the NY Times, Markhoff has earned some ill will in the blogging community with his comparison of blogs to the amateur CB radio fad of the seventies.
45. Danny Sullivan
Danny Sullivan is another one of those ‘web celebrities who aren’t really well known to the general public. But as a search engine guru, Sullivan is well-regarded by industry insiders, and his opinion is highly valued by web masters, web-related media, and engineers with companies like Google.
His Search Engine Watch website became a dominant collection of search engine optimization techniques and he also ran an industry conference called Search Engine Watch.
In 2006, Sullivan left SEW (which he had sold in 2005) to create a new search engine news and information site called Search Engine Land.
44. Jason Calacanis
Jason Calacanis is a tech industry veteran. His mid-nineties publication, The Silicon Alley Reporter, grew from a photocopied handout to a 300-page account of Silicon Valley happenings. After the dot-com crash, Calcanis turned to blogging, and with the help of an investment from Mark Cuban, co-founded Weblogs, Inc. Weblogs had some very popular blogs under its umbrella, including Engadget.
After selling Weblogs to AOL Time Warner (remaining onboard as CEO), Calcanis became General Manager for Netscape’s website, where he recruited top posters to popular sites such as Reddit, Digg, and Flickr. His latest venture, Malaho.com, is a controversial “human-powered” search engine that has generated considerable curiosity as well a very public blog post-fuelled spat with Dave Winer.
43. Matt Drudge
Another alumnus of Time magazine’s 2006 “100 Most Influential People” list, Matt Drudge turned an e-mailed celebrity gossip hobby into a web-based scandal site credited with scooping traditional media sources on some of the biggest stories of the decade. In 1998, The Drudge Report was the first news outlet to break the Monica Lewinski story, a scandal that tainted the final years of Bill Clinton’s presidency.
Since then, The Drudge Report is frequently cited by other media outlets and continues to post celebrity arrest mug shots, court documents, political coverage and breaking news stories. The Drudge Report expanded into radio and television shows of the same name, but Matt is currently focused on his website.
42. Dave Taylor
Dave Taylor is a well-known technology consultant and author. His website, askdavetaylor.com, is a wide-ranging (everything from Internet basics, to Mac or UNIX, Web design and newbie questions) tech support forum, where readers submit a question and Dave Taylor answers it.
Taylor has expanded his range beyond traditional web technology into topics as diverse as video games, iPods, and even the writing business. Dave notes that askdavetaylor.com generated nearly 12 million visitors for 2007 and tech-related “how to” searches on Google frequently return askdavetaylor.com as a top-ranked choice. Taylor also runs two other popular blogs, The Business Blog at Intuitive.com and his Attachment Parenting blog.
41. Kevin Mitnick
When it comes to Internet-related celebrity figures, there are the famous and the infamous. Kevin Mitnick definitely falls into the latter category. A convicted computer hacker (he spent 5 years in prison), Mitnick’s method was social engineering rather than brute force hacking, meaning he relied on guesswork around people’s passwords based on research (for example), rather than running automated hacking tools.
Mitnick fought Internet access restrictions on his release and has since launched a computer security firm. His website is a popular target for hackers, with the ability to deface it considered a sign of hacking prowess. In his most recent brush with web notoriety, online community The Well turned down Mitnick’s application for membership, an event that spawned a flurry of posts in the blogosphere.
40. James Gosling
James Gosling is a Canadian software developer and Computer Science Ph.D. working for Sun Microsystems, holding the position of Vice President and Sun Fellow.
Gosling is generally recognized as one of the creators of the Java programming language, credited with the original Java language design and implementation of its original compiler and virtual machine. Gosling comments on the current state of Java on his blog at Sun. In terms of web culture, Gosling is a frequent interview subject on Java-related topics, but his main contribution is technical; as a creator and evangelist for Java, he remains well behind the scenes to the general public, though no less important than the other web celebrities.
39. Chris Pirillo
Chris Pirillo, aka “lockergnome,” is a well-known computer system support guru and former TechTV host. He runs the Lockergnome weblog and a group of tech support sites. Lockergnome hosts an annual alternative technical conference known as Gnomedex, which typically focuses on cutting-edge trends in online computing, including social networking and technical capabilities.
Pirilllo’s own website chrispirillo.com features an eclectic mix of opinions, technical support advice, and tips, coupons & videos. Pirillo is an evangelist for various web technologies including blogging, online video, RSS, Podcasting, and Google AdSense, prolifically employing all of these on his websites. Pirillo has become known for his catchphrase “we’ll ‘E’ ya later,” which he accompanies with an “E” hand gesture when on video.
38. Leo Laporte
Leo Laporte is a media powerhouse in the field of technology. His career includes writing as a columnist with leading industry publications and publishing a series of computing-related books including 101 Computer Answers You Need To Know and Poor Leo’s Computer Almanac.
But by far his greatest influence and visibility has been through hosting or co-hosting a long list of TV and radio technology shows, including The Lab With Leo Laporte, The Tech Guy, Internet!, The Screen Savers and Dvorak on Computers. He also features guest appearances on a wide range of shows such as Live with Regis and Kelly and World News Now.
Laporte is also the creator of the most successful podcast network on the web: This Week in Tech.
37. Glenn Reynolds
With his 2006 book, An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government and Other Goliaths, law professor, Popular Mechanics Contributing Editor, and blogger Glenn Reynolds put on paper his theory that technology has enabled ordinary people to grab a pulpit and make their opinions heard, and that “journalism is becoming an activity, not simply a profession.”
Reynolds’ Instapundit blog has become one of the most widely read political weblogs, with its popularity and Reynolds’ efforts to promote citizen blogging earning him the knick name of “The BlogFather.”
36. Michael Arrington
Michael Arrington has been involved with a number of high-tech start-ups. He was the co-founder of Zip.ca, Pool.com, Achex, and edgio. His greatest impact on the world of Internet, technology, and entrepreneurship is through his blog site TechCrunch.
Arrington’s influence is frequently acknowledged by the media, including nods from Wired, Forbes, and Time, which referred to him as a “cybermogul” on their 2008 Time 100 List. With a vast network of industry contacts and information gleaned from research and socializing, Arrington’s opinion or mention of a new website on one of the TechCrunch affiliated blogs or podcasts can make or break the site.
35. Jakob Nielsen
Jakob Nielsen is a tireless campaigner for improving website usability. He has published multiple books on the subject, holds patents related to Internet usability methods, and has had a significant influence on website design.
Nielsen’s push for usability over appearance tends to shy away from fancy graphics, Flash-heavy, and visually appealing sites, frequently putting him at odds with the graphic design community. Nielsen’s website, Useit reflects his design principles, relying solely on text and on his Altertbox columns, mailed out since 1996 to subscribers, discussing current issues in web usability.
Nielsen is also known for “Nielsen’s Law” which ultimately points out that since home network speed increases at a slower rate than computer processor speed, user Internet experience is tied to network bandwidth.
34. Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg is CEO and co-founder of social networking site Facebook.com. With Facebook’s success, he’s become an extremely wealthy young man, at least on paper. Based on a Microsoft investment of $246 million for a 1.6% stake in the company, Zuckerberg is one of the world’s youngest billionaires.
Attempts to increase revenue opportunities for Facebook have raised privacy concerns, and Zuckerberg has had to spend increasing amounts of time apologizing to users, sometimes via his blog on Facebook. Zuckerberg has also faced legal action over claims he lifted the Facebook idea and possibly source code from another project he was involved with at college. Despite his current woes, there is no dispute that Zuckerberg has proved that social networking is among the hottest trends on the net.
33. Marc Benioff
Marc Benioff is the Chairman and CEO of CRM provider, Salesforce.com. Eschewing the role of traditional packaged software-based models, Benioff is an avid promoter of software as an on-demand service (or SAS).
His books The Business of Changing the World and Compassionate Capitalism reflect his belief that business and technology can contribute to positive social change, a belief he backed with the launch of the Salesforce.com Foundation (which donates 1% of profits, 1% of equity and 1% of employee time to charitable causes). Benioff’’s contributions to both technology and social change have been recognized by awards from many publications and organizations, including Business Week, Fortune, and eWeek.
32. Jerry Yang
One of the richest men in the world, Jerry Yang is the CEO and co-founder of Yahoo! Inc.
Starting as a web portal, then adding e-mail capabilities and incorporating Alta Vista’s search engine, Yahoo! is now one of the leading Internet brands. According to Yahoo! their web portal receives more traffic than any other website on the Internet.
In recent months, Yang has had to deal with two significant controversies around his company: allegations that Yahoo! had provided Chinese police with IP addresses used by dissidents to send an e-mail via a Yahoo! account (resulting in the dissidents’ arrest), and most recently, a failed bid by Microsoft to buy Yahoo! for over $45 billion.
31. Dave Winer
Known as an opinionated and outspoken proponent of web-based technology and culture, Dave Winer is the founder of UserLand Software, former owner of the blog-hosting site Weblogs.com, a former Editor with Wired magazine, and creator of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) 2.0.
Winer is credited with being a pioneer in the development of other important web technologies, including SOAP, XML-RPC, and Podcasting. His DaveNet essays, a popular forerunner to blogs, were published regularly from 1994 through 2004 and distributed to readers via e-mail.
30. Jeff Jarvis
Jeff Jarvis comes from a journalism and entertainment background. A former television critic with TV Guide and People, he was the creator of Entertainment Weekly as well as editing or publishing columns with numerous newspapers and journals.
Moving his focus online, Jarvis was President and Creative Director of Advance.net and assisted the New York Times with the development of their About.com site. His blog, Buzzmachine, focuses on media and news items with an emphasis on bringing opinion back to news.
Visitors to Buzzmachine doubled in 2005 after an infamous incident where Jarvis posted an open letter to Dell CEO Michael Dell, complaining about the “lemon” computer he had purchased and Dell’s “appalling” customer service.
29. Jonathan Schwartz
As President and CEO of Sun Microsystems, Jonathan Schwartz has a great deal of influence in the world of technology.
On first arriving at Sun, he was involved in the marketing of Java, the software that has become a leading development platform for web-based and mobile applications. Schwartz believes that society has begun to transition from information consumption to a participatory stage where people create ideas and content as well.
He uses his own blog extensively to discuss all things Sun, including corporate updates, interesting projects and interviews with employees, giving the public an unprecedented look at the inner workings of a large corporation.
28. Kevin Kelly
Kevin Kelly is an author, columnist, and “Senior Maverick” (and Founding Executive Editor) of one of the leading cultural institutions of online culture: Wired magazine.
He was also involved in the launch of the online community The Well. Kelly’s book Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems and the Economic World was a required read for actors in the seminal cyber film The Matrix, and an interview with Kelly is included on some DVD release versions of the movie. Recently, Kelly co-founded the Linnean Enterprise, an ambitious (25 year and $5 billion) project to identify, describe and create an online catalog of all living species.
27. Tom Anderson
Tom Anderson is the President and co-founder of the popular social networking website MySpace. He gained public fame as the most known face on MySpace because his name appeared as a default “friend” on all newly created accounts; at this point in time (July 2008), Tom has over 232,000,000 MySpace friends.
Anderson’s account was also used for service announcements, only adding to his notoriety. As a result of all this exposure, Anderson became an easy target for parody and has been lampooned by comics, singers, TV shows, writers, and artists.
Rupurt Murdoch’s purchase of MySpace for $580 million probably helps Anderson get past the ribbing.
26. Tim O’Reilly
Tim O’Reilly is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, a company known for publishing computer and technology-related books. Working closely with the tech community, O’Reilly is often at the leading edge of technological shifts, leveraging his access to push his agenda of “changing the world by spreading the knowledge of innovators.”
O’Reilly Media hosted a 1998 meeting that became known as the Open Source Summit, and a 2005 conference hosted by O’Reilly brought the term Web 2.0 to the front. Tim O’Reilly has been a long-time supporter of the Open Source and Free Software movements, an involvement that led to a dispute with Amazon.com over that company’s patent on the concept of “one-click” shopping.
25. Vint Cerf
A former Chair of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), Vinton (Vint) Cerf is credited as being one of the founders of the Internet, even frequently referred to as “the father of the Internet.”
While at DARPA (US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), Cert co-designed the TCPI/IP protocols that underlie Internet architecture and as Vice President of MCI Digital Information Services, Cerf led the team that created MCI Mail, the first commercial Internet mail service.
His contributions toward the Internet have earned him a myriad of honors and recognition, including the Turing Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Currently, Cerf is Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist with Google.
24. Matt Cutts
Matt Cutts is a software engineer working with the quality group at Google, where he currently heads up the Webspam Team. Cutts is known for introducing the Google Webmaster Guideline and his efforts to crack down on the proliferation of link spam. He is a celebrity engineer in web circles, helping webmasters to understand how Google ranks their sites, while also leading a fight against spammers.
Cutts was the center of some controversy in 2006 when he allegedly admitted to posting to web-related sites under the identity of GoogleGuy. Cutts’ blog is a mix of Google and search engine-themed material combined with general interest posts.
23. Arianna Huffington
The Huffington Post, a liberal news, commentary and blog site launched in 2005, is a frequently cited media reference thanks to co-founder and Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington and her team of writers and contributors. Posts include material from politicians and celebrities seeking an outlet to voice their opinions.
Author of a dozen books, Huffington’s recent output doesn’t pull any punches, including 2004’s: Fanatics and Fools: The Game Plan for Winning Back America. A Huffington-led group’s 2003 anti-SUV campaign, comparing driving an SUV to funding terrorism, helped to cement her reputation and she continues to make appearances as a commentator on television as well as co-hosting several radio shows.
Arianna Huffington was named to Time magazine’s List of the World’s 100 Most Influential People in 2006.
22. Cory Doctorow
A sought-out commentator on popular culture and technology, Cory Doctorow is a Canadian author and blogger, well known as an outspoken activist/agitator for liberalizing copyright laws and digital rights management.
Doctorow spent four years working for the Electronic Frontier Foundation before leaving to pursue a full-time writing career in 2006. He co-edits the popular blog Boing Boing and maintains his own Craphound site as well.
Cory Doctorow released several of his science fiction novels under Creative Commons licenses, including 2003’s Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. A columnist with Wired, Make, and Popular Science, Doctorow also contributes to various other online and print media outlets.
21. Jeff Bezos
Named Time magazine’s 1999 Person of the Year, Jeff Bezos founded Amazon.com, steered it through the dot-com stock collapse of the late 1990s by pursuing an unlikely strategy of slow growth and turned the company into an Internet retail giant.
From its beginning in 1994 as an online book retailer, Bezos (President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board) has grown Amazon.com into a diversified outfit that not only dominates online book sales, but is also a major player in the sales of DVDs, CDs, video games, toys, and virtually any other commodity. Amazon has continued to expand by offering music and video download services, affiliate relationships, self-publishing for authors, and even its own e-Book reader hardware platform, the Kindle.
20. Kevin Rose
Kevin Rose was well-known in technology circles thanks to his work on TechTV and G4, including hosting Attack of The Show!. He has been involved in the podcasting movement, including the highly successful Diggnation, which claims 250,000 downloads per episode, and appearances on This Week In Tech.
By far, though, Rose is best known for his incredibly popular Web 2.0 site digg.com. Digg, a social bookmarking site, cost Rose a couple thousand dollars when first launched in 2004 and quickly grew to be a Web 2.0 success story, landing him on the front cover of Business Week magazine in April, 2006. Rose’s most recent ventures include the social networking site pownce.com, which went live in January of 2008, and the online video network Revision3.
19. Robert Scoble
Considered to be the person for whom the term “spokesblogger” was coined, Robert Scoble was a successful blogger who joined Microsoft in 2003 and used his popular personal blog scobleizer.com to post comments that were often more favorable toward Microsoft than commentary found on other sites.
Scoble left Microsoft in 2006, joining Podtech.net as Vice President of Media Development, leaving in 2008 to join Fast Company as a video blogger. Scoble has helped prove the value of blogging as an interactive platform and has also effectively illustrated blogging’s benefit in customer relationships. By pursuing video blogging, Scoble may be on the leading edge of the next evolutionary step in blogging.
18. Lawrence Lessig
Founder of the Creative Commons and a board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, law professor Lawrence Lessig has become a central figure in technology copyright, as a critic of restrictive software patents, copyright laws, and wireless spectrum ownership.
Putting his money where his mouth is, Lessig’s books The Future of Ideas, Free Culture and Code: Version 2.0 have been made available as free downloads under a Creative Commons license. In 2008, a Facebook group and website began a “draft Lessig for congress” push, a suggestion that Lessig has resisted, arguing that a rush campaign with himself as a candidate would hurt the Change Congress movement he supports.
17. Guy Kawasaki
Once best known as a Macintosh marketing guru, Guy Kawasaki put in several stints with Apple, first as a Mac Evangelist and then as an Apple Fellow. As an author, he has been a columnist and published eight books, including Rules For Revolutionaries.
Kawasaki’s blog, How To Change The World, is a popular read for his thoughts on technology, business, Web 2.0, and other topics and includes a job posting board. As Managing Director of Garage Technology Ventures, Kawasaki has turned his attention to venture capital and funding start-up firms.
Kawasaki gained notoriety in 2007 when he announced a new web 2.0 site, Truemors, that became an experiment around how inexpensively a web business can be launched (Kawaski claimed Truemors cost just over $12k), although it hasn’t quite lived up to the considerable hype.
16. Bruce Schneier
Bruce Schneier has accomplished the unlikely feat of bringing cryptography and computer security into pop culture; he’s been mentioned in movies (The DaVinci Code) and the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond and is in high demand in media and government circles as a security expert.
The founder and CTO of computer network security firm BT Counterpane, Schneier have created several cryptographic algorithms and written a number of books about both cryptography and computer security, including Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About security in an Uncertain World. His free monthly newsletter Crypto-Gram has over 130,000 subscribers and his website is a popular destination for those interested not only in computer security issues but in the debunking of general security-related myths.
15. Jimmy Wales
“Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That”s what we”re doing.” This, according to Jimmy (Jimbo) Wales in a 2004 Slashdot interview, is the concept behind Wikipedia.
The Internet was already taking a toll on traditional paper-bound encyclopedias, but the 2001 launch of Wikipedia, Wales’ online knowledge base comprised of user-generated, collaborative, peer-edited articles, dealt them a crippling blow. Despite some disputes around Wales’ personal vs. Wikipedia finances and ongoing controversy whenever Wikipedia entries are edited under suspicious circumstances, Wikipedia has become a standard online research tool with a knowledge base nearing 2.5 million (English language) articles and some 75,000 active contributors.
14. Paul Graham
Paul Graham first rose to prominence as co-founder of Viaweb, the first ASP (application service provider) software, a product that ushered in the era of practical Internet Retail.
Viaweb was sold to Yahoo! and re-branded as Yahoo! Store. Graham has gained some fame since then as a writer, with several books to his credit and a popular personal website, paulgraham.com, where he has posted material that has helped inspire SPAM-filtering technology, among other things. A collection of his essays has been published as a book titled Hackers and Painters. As a venture capitalist, Graham’s Y Combinator has provided start-up funding for dozens of firms, including the popular Web site reddit.com.
13. Sergey Brin
A Russian-born, American billionaire (one of the youngest billionaires on the planet), Sergey Brin is the President of Technology at Google (the company he co-founded with Larry Page).
Together with Page and CEO Eric Schmidt, Brin shares the honor of being named by PC Magazine as first on its list of the 50 Most Important People on the Web. Brin turned a fascination with data mining and data extraction into a computer science project at Stanford University and parlayed that work into what would soon become the web’s most popular search engine. Brin is a frequent speaker on the topic of technology and has appeared as a guest on numerous TV shows.
12. Chris Anderson
Editor-in-Chief of influential technology-focused magazine Wired, Anderson is also the author of The Long Tail: Why The Future of Business Is Selling More.
Anderson’s Long Tail blog allows him to expand on his theory that the Internet has allowed for a greater diversity of products to be sold profitably because of the increased market size for any given niche product compared to traditional retailing opportunities. Recently, Wired published Free, an article by Anderson based on his forthcoming book of the same name.
During his tenure, Anderson has helped boost wired.com’s blogging presence, including the creation of GeekDad, a blog that allows him to indulge his fascination with radio-controlled vehicles and other high-tech “toys”.
11. Tim Berners-Lee
While the world wide web is as close to ubiquitous as one could imagine these days, this wasn’t always the case. In fact, less than twenty years ago, it didn’t exist. The Internet had been around for some time, but it was largely the domain of academics, the military and technology geeks. Sir Tim Berners-Lee is the focal point for the web as we know it today, the individual who first combined a series of concepts and technologies (domain name system, TCP/IP protocol, the Internet and hypertext) to create the world wide web.
The first website went live in August, 1991 and we haven’t looked back since. Berners-Lee is also the founder and Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an organization tasked with creating web standards.
10. Larry Page
One of the two founders of Google, Larry Page helped design the original Google search engine and was the company’s first CEO.
As Google began to grow into something much more ambitious, Page moved out of the CEO role (which was filled by technology veteran Eric Schmidt), taking on the position of President, Products.
Together with Schmidt and co-founder Sergey Brin, Page is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Google, a company which now employs over 10,000 people worldwide. Along with Brin and Schmidt, Page was named by PC Magazine as first on its list of the 50 Most Important People on the Web.
9. Eric Schmidt
Voted by PC Magazine as first on its list of the 50 Most Important People on the Web (along with fellow Google executives Larry Page and Sergey Brin), Dr. Eric Schmidt has a very long and influential career in the technology industry. Companies he has held prominent positions with include Sun Microsystems (CTO and leader of JAVA development) and Novell (CEO).
In 2001 he was hired as Chairman of the Board and CEO of Google. In addition, Schmidt joined Apple’s Board of Directors in 2006, making him a significant part of two of the most influential technology companies around. Schmidt has helped Google to continue its rapid growth, making him one of the richest men in the world.
8. Scott Adams
Cartoonist Scott Adams hit a nerve with Dilbert, his widely-syndicated cartoon about white-collar workers toiling in a cubicle farm, based on his own experience working in high tech firms.
Among the popular cultural terms spawned by Dilbert are “Pointy Haired Boss” and “Nerdvana.” dilbert.com has grown into a destination site with daily cartoon strips and additional content including Dilbert widgets, animation, and mashups. Taking advantage of Web 2.0 social aspects, readers vote on and rank comic strips.
Adams’ blog dilbertblog.typepad.com is separate from the Dilbert comic empire and allows Adams to exercise his acerbic wit on a wide range of topics from the political to environmental and pop culture.
7. Mark Cuban
American Billionaire Mark Cuban sold a software reselling business (MicroSolutions) to Compuserve, using the proceeds to fund Broadcast.com, which he sold to Yahoo! for $5.9 billion in Yahoo! stock. Cuban then bought the Dallas Mavericks NBA team.
He remains interested in media distribution and is a strong proponent of high definition video; he is currently Chairman of HDNet and part of 2929 Entertainment, which made news in 2006 by being the first production company to release a movie (Bubble) in theatres and on DVD simultaneously. Cuban’s blogmaverick.com gives him the pulpit to reach the masses on topics close to his heart, including video, TV and The Mavericks.
6. Chris Crocker
If you’ve been near a computer recently, chances are you’ve either seen or heard of the infamous “LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!” videos, the first of which Chris Crocker posted to his MySpace page, while the second went to YouTube. Response to media backlash against Britney Spears, particularly the critical abuse she suffered after her “comeback” performance at the 2007 MTV Music Video Awards.
Crocker’s video featured an over-the-top performance that rapidly made it one of YouTube’s most viewed clips and gained Crocker instant fame. He appeared on a series of television shows, including various news programs, The Howard Stern Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live, and was honored with an award in Wired magazine. “LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!” has inspired hundreds of parody videos, commentary videos and proved how effective YouTube can be for viral content distribution.
5. Seth Godin
Seth Godin is a best-selling author and speaker. His blog, among the most popular on the Internet, is focused on how ideas spread and permission marketing. Seth’s marketing ideology describes a powerful consumer that, thanks to the Internet, is not subject to the television monopoly anymore.
Following this ideology, he created in 2005 Squidoo, which is a social network where users can share their recommendations or expertise on different topics. It would be difficult to visit any marketing-related website without coming across a mention of Seth’s ideas.
He is also the co-founder of Yoyodyne, a pioneer online marketing company. Yoyodyne was sold to Yahoo! in 1998, and seth became a VP of Permission Marketing for the search company.
4. Michelle Malkin
Michelle Malkin is a blogger, columnist, and political commentator. She makes many guest appearances on radio and television shows like Fox News Channel, but it is perhaps through her blog that she shines the most.
Despite claiming that she “was born and remain an ink-stained wretch,” MichelleMalkin.com is one of the most popular conservative political blogs on the Internet. Her articles are often mentioned in other media outlets, including several mainstream publications, which illustrates the important role that bloggers are taking on the new media landscape.
In 2007 the National Republican Senatorial Committee named Malkin one of the best conservative bloggers in the country. A couple of years ago she also founded the Hot Air broadcast network, following the success of her blog.
3. Beppe Grillo
The Italian comedian and activist became famous for his political satire. Inside his television shows, he would attack directly corrupted politicians and blow financial scandals open. He became so uncomfortable to politicians and businessmen alike that in the late 80s he was banished from television in Italy
The television ban did not silence Grillo, though. He continued to perform in theaters all over the country, and in 2003 he started the blog BeppeGrillo.it. The success was immediate, and today his blog is among the 10 most popular in the world according to Technorati. What does that mean in numbers? Well, his posts receive over 1,000 comments on average.
Among other brilliant stunts, in 2005 he bought a full page of advertising in a national newspaper and used it to ask for the resignation of the governor of the Bank of Italy (who was involved in several scandals).
2. Perez Hilton
Capitalizing on a seemingly endless public appetite for celebrity gossip, Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr. started blogging under the pseudonym Perez Hilton (taking his nickname from socialite and professional celebrity of Hilton Hotels, Paris Hilton). Rocketing to fame in a matter of months, he soon launched PerezHilton.com, where he claims to receive upwards of eight million page views daily.
Content tends toward the juvenile, but Perez has gained a huge audience by posting celebrity photos with catty comments; some are even adorned by his “doodles” of horns, drug remnants, or other objects. Controversy surrounds Hilton, not just because of the nature of his comments, but also because of accusations of illegally copying photos from other sites and a habit of “outing” celebrities he suspects of being gay.
1. Tila Tequila
Tila Tequila is the stage name for Tila Nguyen. First gaining popularity as a model for Playboy, Tequila was soon featured in other magazines such as Maxim and Stuff and began recording music and putting in appearances on reality shows including VH1’s Surviving Ted Nugent and Identity. On Identity, she claimed to have over one million MySpace friends.
One reality show, A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila, featured twenty contestants (both men and women) vying for Tila’s affections, a mix that caused considerable controversy among conservative Christians. She has gained fame as a force in self-promotion, with her website tilashotspot.com flogging her music, videos, selling photos, and even marketing her own fashion line.