Category Archives: People

World’s richest man shares thoughts…

William Henry Gates III better known as “Bill Gates” is the world’s richest man (at least for now) according to Fortune Magazine.  Many people are fascinated about the man who’s accrued more wealth than anyone else for most of the years Fortune has compiled their list for the past 20 or so years.  I’ll admit I also wonder what the richest person in the world thinks and wonder if what he says and thinks that may inspire me to do the same.

So, where can we find these profound thoughts?  He wrote “The Road Ahead” in 1995.  So, here’s the first chance beyond his emails and communication to his coworkers and friends that the public could read about what he was thinking.  He followed up in 1999 with “Business @ the Speed of Thought. ”  Of course Gates is profiled in the media quite often, but since that’s unpredictable when he’ll be quoted, there’s a few other ways to follow this very successful individual. Continue reading

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Protected: Year in Review: “Brandon” Byung-hyu Na

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(Male) Koreans dominate the U.S. Amateur Two Years Straight setting another record!

Byeong Hun An - US Amateur Champion

Byeong Hun An - US Amateur Champion

Last year, it was Korean Kiwi Danny Lee who broke Tiger Wood’s 14 year record of being the youngest golfer to win the United States Amateur Golf Championship. This year, An Byung-Hun (also spelled Byeong-Hun An) decided 18 years and one month was too old for the prestigious event which has bred professionals Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard and recent PGA winner Ryan Moore (from my hometown of Puyallup). High Schooler An was 17 years when beating Clemson University Senior Ben Martin 7 to 5. Continue reading

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Great weight loss and physical health tips from my roomate

workoutMy roomate Devin Nowroski gave some of the best advice to me the other day about working out, your food intake and not being misled about the misconception that running for example equals more energy or that you lose weight via traditional methods.  I’ve been running about 5-6 kilometers 2-3 times a week, but still feel my gut getting bigger or less “thinner.”  I do have to admit I’ve been reducing my stomach and back exercises a bit recently, but Devin’s advice still is some great stuff I don’t ever want to forget.

I pointed him to an article here on Time magazine which points out that exercise doesn’t necessarily mean that you lose weight.  The writer actually argues the contrary.

He replies:

“Thanks for sending the article. It was an interesting read. The author was not entirely inspiring though. I feel like the average person who reads it could be less inclined to exercise all together, which is not really ideal. The point they are trying to make is fine, and correct in my opinion, but not giving enough info to the reader. Stuff like that makes me angry. Continue reading

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Happy B-day Jareb…

…you should consider letting us take care of you once!

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One of the best Groom & Bride speeches I’ve heard

…o.k. it’s the only Bride & Groom speech I’ve heard (I believe) like this, but I recommend everyone who’s as entertaining as my friends Derek and Bonnie to have one at their wedding. These guys rock!

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Talk about sh*t hitting the fan…

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Is it me?  Or did I just land in the country most well known for “drama?”  

Just visited my great friend Derek at his wedding in Hawaii with the beautiful bride Bonnie and great friends.  It was seriously a beautiful wedding. Here’s the couple dancing to “Bella’s Lullaby” played by you would think a professional piano player, but rather by their niece “Rachel” who is AMAAAAAAAAZZZZZZZZZING!!!! (think of Will Ferrell yelling this like he did at the Harvard Commencement speech).

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Six letters. Many combinations. Possibly the cure to all the world’s problems.

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jims-family

Six letters.

Many combinations.

Possibly the cure to all the world’s problems.

In Korea, this one word makes or breaks peoples’ lives. Without these, many go homeless. With these, many have a roof over their head. For many foreigners or expatriates who date Korean women, it’s our biggest hurdle in getting to know them. However, after we get to know them, our bonds can be tighter than superglue with the Korean women we might love. Continue reading

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Surround yourself with people smarter than yourself…

I was looking for an article published by Business 2.0 or Fast Company where they profile some of the top “mavericks” or business leaders who did it differently.  Mark Cuban was profiled and one of the things he said was to surround yourself with people that don’t agree with you.  His argument was that if people are always agreeing with you, you’re never challenged & there’s probably a good chance you’ll put yourself in jeopardy.  A fire will be burning in your organization and before it’s too late, it will be burning your business down because people were too afraid to say anything about the fire.

Nevertheless, I couldn’t find the article. However, I found something similar that was a little dated. At the same time, the advice is timeless.

Back in 2005, Business 2.0 wrote this:

My Golden Rule
By Business 2.0 Staff, November 28, 2005

We asked 49 business visionaries, collectively worth over $70 billion, what single philosophy they swear by more than any other — in business, life, or both. Here are the secrets of their success.

Interviews conducted and submissions gathered by Michael V. Copeland, Krysten Crawford, Jeffrey Davis, Susanna Hamner, Carleen Hawn, Rob Howe, Paul Kaihla, Matthew Maier, Om Malik, Duff McDonald, Christopher Null, Erick Schonfeld, Owen Thomas, and G. Pascal Zachary.

The reason I post the entire article here is #1, I’m not profiting off of it. Secondly, the article appears to be NOT maintained. And I read a blog entry by the folks at Business 2.0 “Can Facebook save Business 2.0” where it talks about how there are a bunch of folks trying to help Business 2.0 survive. So, it looks like there may be a chance the magazine may not even exist any more sometime soon. Just in case, we have this text here for future leaders and people to take advantage of. However, if for some reason Business 2.0 doesn’t want this here, I’ll be happy to remove it & keep it in my personal blog only. I can’t believe this great resource for inspiration may die. It’s too bad.

FOR THE SHORT VERSION, I’VE JUST TAKEN THE QUOTES & THE PEOPLE WHO MADE THEM HERE. For the longer version that the person(s) who made the quotes elaborated on what they said, look to the bottom. Quotes first, then the famous/successful person who made the quote after it.

**WARNING – both versions are long…while the LONG version is worth reading, I’d recommend placing a 1/2 hour a side or a little less

“Surround Yourself With People Smarter Than You”
CHRIS ALBRECHT, CEO, Home Box Office & GEORGE STEINBRENNER, owner, New York Yankees

“Remember Who You Are, Not What”
BRAD ANDERSON, vice chairman and CEO, Best Buy

“Make Hiring a Top Priority”
Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft

“If You Think You Can’t, You’re Right”
Carol Bartz, CEO, Autodesk

“Make Your Customers Your Sales Force”
Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce.com

“Reinvent Yourself. Repeat.”
Alex Bogusky, executive creative director, Crispin Porter & Bogusky

“When People Screw Up, Give Them a Second Chance”
Richard Branson, founder and chairman, Virgin Group

“Check With the Wife”
Po Bronson, author, The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest and What Should I Do With My Life?

“There Can’t Be Two Yous”
Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway

“The Customer Should Always Be Happy”
John Chambers, CEO, Cisco Systems

“Don’t Be Interesting — Be Interested”
Jim Collins, management consultant; author, Built to Last and Good to Great

“He Who Says It, Does It”
Simon Cooper, president and COO, Ritz-Carlton

“Treat your customers like they own you, because they do.”
Mark Cuban, co-founder, HDNet; owner, Dallas Mavericks

“Educate and Obey Your Conscience”
Stephen Covey, business consultant; motivational speaker; author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

“Get Out From Behind Your Desk”
Jim Goodnight, CEO, SAS

“Learn to Give Back”
Michael Graves, architect and designer

“Only the Paranoid Survive (Now More Than Ever)”
Andy Grove, former chairman and CEO, Intel

“Once a Day, Take Some “Beach Time””
Mireille Guiliano, CEO and president, Clicquot; author, French Women Don’t Get Fat

“Believe in Something Bigger Than Yourself”
Carlos M. Gutierrez, U.S. secretary of commerce; former
chairman and CEO, Kellogg

“Never Bow to Precedent”
Gary Hamel, business consultant and author

“You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man”
Phil Hellmuth, poker world champion, winner of the most World Series of Poker Gold Bracelets

“Don’t confuse luck with skill when judging others, and especially when judging yourself.”
Carl Icahn, billionaire investor

“Conventional Wisdom Is Always Wrong”
Paul Jacobs, CEO, Qualcomm

“Make Deals With People, Not Paper”
Penn Jillette, magician, author, and producer

“Get Your Timing Right”
Ray Kurzweil, inventor and entrepreneur

“Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Competitor’s Success”
Geraldine Laybourne, chairman and CEO, Oxygen Media

“Business Can’t Trump Happiness”
Shelly Lazarus, chairman and CEO, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide

“Don’t Trust, Just Verify”
Steven D. Levitt, coauthor, Freakonomics

“There’s something bad in everything good and something good in everything bad.”
Michael Lewis, author, Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, and Coach: Lessons on the Game of Life

“Share and Share Alike”
Scott McNealy, founder and CEO, Sun Microsystems

“Get Face Time With the Customers”
Anne Mulcahy, chairman and CEO, Xerox

“Choose Your Mistakes Carefully”
Craig Newmark, founder, Craigslist

“Maximize the Compromises”
Hans-Olov Olsson, chairman, Volvo Cars; senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Ford Motor

“Whatever a Man Soweth, That Shall He Also Reap”
Dick Parsons, chairman and CEO, Time Warner

“Never, Ever Forget That You Are a Servant”
David Neeleman, founder, chairman, and CEO, JetBlue USA
Jim Press, president, Toyota Motor Sales USA

“Learn to Trust Your Gut”
Paul Pressler, CEO and president, Gap

“The Next Big Thing Is Whatever Makes the Last Big Thing Usable”
Blake Ross, co-creator, Firefox

“Be a Problem-Solver”
Hector Ruiz, CEO, AMD

“Loyalty Counts as Much as Smarts”
Srivats Sampath, founder, McAfee.com; CEO and president, Mercora

“Hard Work Opens Doors”
Ivan Seidenberg, chairman and CEO, Verizon

“Be the Person Who Steps Up”
George Shaheen, CEO, Siebel Systems

“Those Who Don’t Know Their Own History Are Doomed to Repeat It”
Ram Shriram, angel investor and Google board member

“What Gets Measured Gets Managed”
Stan Sigman, CEO, Cingular Wireless

“Quit Taking, Start Giving”
Russell Simmons, co-founder, Def Jam Records; founder, Rush Communications

“Never write when you can talk. Never talk when you can nod. And never put anything in an e-mail.”
Eliot Spitzer, New York state attorney general

“At the Height of Success, “Break” Your Business”
Ed Zander, chairman and CEO, Motorola

“Business Is Not About Ideas, It’s About Initiatives”
Sergio Zyman, marketing expert

—————————————
[THE MORE DETAILED VERSION OF THE ABOVE]
—————————————

“Surround Yourself With People Smarter Than You”

CHRIS ALBRECHT, CEO, Home Box Office

Surround yourself with people smarter than you and be comfortable with that. I went to a high school for gifted students and went from being one of the smartest kids in the class to being near the bottom of the pack. I got very comfortable with being in that situation and realizing how much I could learn from people who are as smart as or smarter than I am. Now that I’m running HBO, it’s so important that the answers about how HBO continues its success come from the people sitting in the room with me. My job is to help guide them to the right answer.

GEORGE STEINBRENNER, owner, New York Yankees

This is a rule that my late father, Henry George Steinbrenner II, taught me when I was a young man. Most young men listen to what their fathers say, but they do not always put their advice into play. I was no exception. I didn’t appreciate the lesson he taught me until it had slapped me in the face several times. I guess I was a slow learner.

Not only was my father an outstanding athlete, but he also graduated first in his class in naval architecture, preparing himself for a career in shipbuilding. Even in light of his achievements, I wanted to navigate my own way through the waters of my early career, whether they were smooth or stormy. Mistakes were made, but the wisdom of my father’s counsel finally sank in.

So I pass his advice along: Surround yourself with amazingly intelligent men and women. The people I work with not only are smarter than I am, possessing both intellectual and emotional intelligence, but also share my determination to succeed. I will not make an important decision without them.

“Remember Who You Are, Not What”

BRAD ANDERSON, vice chairman and CEO, Best Buy

When a company starts its life, those who create it are very aware that it’s a people-powered effort. They’re a group of people with a good idea, trying to make something out of nothing. But as companies grow, something strange happens. They start to think of themselves in terms of what they are, rather than who they are. The irony is that just about every company that goes from “who” to “what” spends an extraordinary amount of energy fighting to regain that sense of “who.” Trying, with apologies to Lennon and McCartney, to get back to where it once belonged.

Every organization gets its energy from the relationship between the customer and the person who serves that customer. If a company makes the leap — honestly listening to customers — employees will bring the best of themselves and pour their energy into their work. At Best Buy, we don’t always get this right, but when we do, it’s a beautiful thing. I can recite dozens of stories about employees who transformed our business because they saw a need and had the freedom to use their own talents to fill it.

Any organization is a human endeavor, but most big organizations work hard to dehumanize, to depersonalize. Why? They’re scared, because we humans are unpredictable and messy. I say, Turn around and embrace it. Celebrate it. One of our employees said it best: Try to be “a company with a soul.”

“Make Hiring a Top Priority”
Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft

Not long after I joined Microsoft in 1980, Bill Gates put me in charge of recruiting. The business was growing fast, but we were badly understaffed. I asked Bill to approve the hiring of about 50 people. He said no. I told him I thought we needed more great people in order to grow; he thought I was going to bankrupt the company. Bill was pretty conservative. He’s since said that he always wanted to have enough money in the bank to pay a year’s worth of payroll, even if we didn’t have any revenue coming in.

We didn’t hire as fast as I wanted, but we did hire, and I did all the hiring myself for a long time. No one joined Microsoft without my interviewing them and liking them. I made every offer, decided how much to pay them, and closed the deals. I can’t do that anymore, but I still invest a significant amount of time in ensuring that we’re recruiting the best people. You may have a technology or a product that gives you an edge, but your people determine whether you develop the next winning technology or product.

“If You Think You Can’t, You’re Right”
Carol Bartz, CEO, Autodesk

Often I’m put in the position of persuading people to do something I want them to do, but they don’t want to. So first I have to hear the “can’ts” — the limitations they carry in their minds. I always listen closely to the reasons why people feel they can’t do something. I’ll even bring them to the point where they say to me, “Now you’re getting it, boss! That’s why we can’t do it.”

When I hear that, I’ve laid my trap. I start by asking the person who is resisting me to tell me how much he or she can do toward the goal I’m expressing. That’s because I have this core belief that you can do anything if you try. That’s why we release new versions of our core AutoCad program annually — because when people say it can’t be done, I say we can, we just don’t know how. So we learn.

There are times, of course, when people convince me that something can’t be done. I’m really just trying to get a balanced view, to get people to be honest about both sides. My rule helps me to do that. It’s a gimmick, sure, but it’s a way to help people avoid getting stuck in the negative.

“Make Your Customers Your Sales Force”
Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce.com

Why have a few hundred salespeople when you can have a few hundred thousand — especially when those few hundred thousand aren’t on the payroll? This idea, which proved to be one of the most important eureka moments for Salesforce.com, came to me while I was at Ozumo, a popular sushi bar in San Francisco, where I often go after work. I was dining with an important prospective client, and I was working hard to sell him on Salesforce.com and our future strategy when — without any prompting — an existing customer approached me and told me how successful his company had been with Salesforce.com. At that moment I realized that no amount of marketing or promotional gimmicks like T-shirts, buttons, and chocolate cigars would ever match that endorsement.

Word of mouth can make or break a product offering. While many companies have lost their market positions because of the well-known product failures they’ve experienced, just the opposite can also be true. It’s important to note that the first step in building this groundswell depends on having a great product that customers love. By offering customers an opportunity to talk about their success, companies can create what author Malcolm Gladwell calls the “tipping point” — a convergence that can propel a small company into a household brand. At Salesforce.com, this has meant developing our 308,000 subscribers into the biggest sales force in the business. Sure, our customers may be getting a free hamburger on us, but with their endorsements to prospects, we’re getting the ketchup and mustard on top.

“Reinvent Yourself. Repeat.”
Alex Bogusky, executive creative director, Crispin Porter & Bogusky

I was 24, working at a small ad agency in Miami and trying to become a junior art director, when I read Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, by Al Ries and Jack Trout. One chapter talked about how people position you or a product in their mind, and how you’ve got to disrupt to get people to take you out of that position.

I wondered, what kinds of things did I have to do to disrupt people and make them think differently about me? There is a lot of change in people and in their careers, and people are reluctant to see it. It’s the way we think, the way we categorize things.

So I just embraced this notion that every six months I would radically change my look. I mostly did it with my hair, from a crew cut to a Mohawk to long hair to a mullet. I changed the color. It didn’t matter what I did — I just had to change it. I wanted people to have to take the trouble to reanalyze what I was offering.

I’m 42 now, and I’ve stopped. What does that mean? It means it isn’t about me any longer. Now it’s about the agency. Sometimes we change the titles of departments and people. We changed the planning department to the “cognitive anthropology” department, and the account service department to “content management.” We have to change just as often, so that we’re not being evaluated by the same standards as last year.

“When People Screw Up, Give Them a Second Chance”
Richard Branson, founder and chairman, Virgin Group

To be a good leader, you’ve got to concentrate on bringing out the best in your people. People are no different than flowers — they need to be cared for and watered all the time. This is true whether it’s a switchboard operator or the chairman who just gave a bad speech. I should know; I gave a bad speech last night. The point is, people know when they’ve fucked up, and they don’t need bosses ramming it down their throats.

When I was 7 or 8, I took some change from my dad’s drawer and went ’round to the sweet shop. The shopkeeper called my dad and said, “We’ve got your son here; could you come down?” Here I am, with 50 pence, and the shopkeeper says, “I assume your son has taken this, that you didn’t give it to him?” My dad says, “How dare you accuse him of stealing!” My dad knew I’d taken it, and I gave it back — but I never stole again.

Years later, when Virgin was about 20 people, the manager of a secondhand music shop tells me that one of our staffers is selling albums that were new from Virgin. It was petty theft. Rather than sacking him, I brought him in and we had a chat. Today he is the head of marketing of one of our companies and one of the best people Virgin has.

“Check With the Wife”
Po Bronson, author, The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest and What Should I Do With My Life?

I would never want to be the kind of luminary who admits that my wife is smarter than me, but alas, I am, and she is. My wife owes me no deference at all, and so she never hesitates to tell me I’m being ridiculous. I tend to check with her at these three stages:

1. At the very beginning of an idea, when it’s still so vague that if she does not like it, I can pretend I simply hadn’t thought it through enough to present it well.

2. Right before completing a project, when I’m up against the deadline and I can pretend it’s too late to change it even if she doesn’t like it.

3. Before going on television, in case she thinks I should wear a different shirt.

“There Can’t Be Two Yous”
Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway

When you get out of bed in the morning and think about what you want to do that day, ask yourself whether you’d like others to read about it on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper. You’ll probably do things a little differently if you keep that in mind.

“The Customer Should Always Be Happy”
John Chambers, CEO, Cisco Systems

My golden rule is to focus almost fanatically on customer success. Living by this rule helped steer Cisco through the tremendous growth of the 1990s. It’s allowed us to fine-tune our acquisition strategy and anticipate many challenges and market transitions to stay ahead of our competition.

“Don’t Be Interesting — Be Interested”
Jim Collins, management consultant; author, Built to Last and Good to Great

I learned this golden rule from the great civic leader John Gardner, who changed my life in 30 seconds. Gardner, founder of Common Cause, secretary of health, education, and welfare in the Johnson administration, and author of such classic books as Self-Renewal, spent the last few years of his life as a professor and mentor-at-large at Stanford University. One day early in my faculty teaching career — I think it was 1988 or 1989 — Gardner sat me down. “It occurs to me, Jim, that you spend too much time trying to be interesting,” he said. “Why don’t you invest more time being interested?”

If you want to have an interesting dinner conversation, be interested. If you want to have interesting things to write, be interested. If you want to meet interesting people, be interested in the people you meet — their lives, their history, their story. Where are they from? How did they get here? What have they learned? By practicing the art of being interested, the majority of people can become fascinating teachers; nearly everyone has an interesting story to tell.

I can’t say that I live this rule perfectly. When tired, I find that I spend more time trying to be interesting than exercising the discipline of asking genuine questions. But whenever I remember Gardner’s golden rule — whenever I come at any situation with an interested and curious mind — life becomes much more interesting for everyone at the table.

“He Who Says It, Does It”
Simon Cooper, president and COO, Ritz-Carlton

I use this phrase whenever someone convinces me that they can achieve something I consider to be unachievable. In the past I’ve been known to add focus to a goal by making a bet to see if they can make it — sometimes with amusing consequences. I remember being at a mountain resort in Canada and proposing an incredible goal for the season. The team convinced me that they could achieve it, and I offered to jump into the lake if they did. It’s a long story, but they made it. There’s a great scene of a hole being cut in the ice and an ambulance on standby while I gave a whole new meaning to the term “dunking.” The cognac was very welcome.

One of the assets I look for in a team or a leader is a bias for action and a willingness to say “We can do it,” coupled with a solid strategy. The way I interpret it, execution and commitment are absolutely essential to any strategy or initiative in an era too full of plans, processes, and procrastination. The expression speaks to the need for individuals and teams to commit to goals and actions and be willing to be held accountable for them. There is a flip side that goes something like “No one is more apathetic than in the pursuit of another person’s objective.”

“Treat your customers like they own you, because they do.”
Mark Cuban, co-founder, HDNet; owner, Dallas Mavericks

“Educate and Obey Your Conscience”
Stephen Covey, business consultant; motivational speaker; author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

I have huge stacks of books that contain a lot of the wisdom literature from all sources, including the Koran and the Bhagavad Gita, the text in Hinduism and Buddhism. It helps me learn to listen to people and to empathize within their frame of reference. In other words, to free myself from my own agenda, and get into their agenda.

Be extremely open and get your security from a divine source rather than human approval. It frees you. It gives you great courage; it also gives you more wisdom.

“Get Out From Behind Your Desk”
Jim Goodnight, CEO, SAS

At any company, it’s easy to get into a rut of spending your day reading e-mail and going to meetings. That’s not a productive way of doing business.

I talk to people in the elevator and ask them what they’re doing. I was talking to one of our heads of R&D and learned about a programming challenge they were facing with customer records. I said I’d write a procedure that does all the things we need to do and gave his team 20 lines of code.

My code ended up processing 100 million records. I wanted to challenge the programmers by showing them that, hey, if I can do this stuff, you can do this stuff. And I wanted to be able to converse with them at the basic, lowest level of programming on how this stuff works. I was so thrilled with what I’d done — so proud, I guess — that I gave seminars to all of our programmers on how to do it.

“Learn to Give Back”
Michael Graves, architect and designer

My parents told me that no matter how good you are in your work, you must make a contribution to society. Without that, you will only be selfish. My career has been an interesting mix of architecture, design, and education. I teach, which is a way to “give back” to the profession. I taught at Princeton University for 39 years and am gratified that many of my students have become teachers themselves.

But there’s another way of giving back. Architecture and design are professions that inherently address the public good. Since I became partially paralyzed nearly three years ago, and spent considerable time in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, I have come to realize that some of those buildings are not functional at a basic human level and that durable medical equipment has rarely been regarded as anything but a necessary evil.

My colleagues and I can make a difference if we turn our attention to improving the functionality and appearance of the aids to living that many people need, even those with slight disabilities. We’re working on a collection of them now, a contribution that I never expected but hope will make many people’s lives more enjoyable.

“Only the Paranoid Survive (Now More Than Ever)”
Andy Grove, former chairman and CEO, Intel

By now most people in Silicon Valley know this is my mantra, but I’m not sure they know what it means. It isn’t as crazy as it sounds; it’s really a corollary to Murphy’s Law, which states that everything that can go wrong will go wrong. If that’s so, then the paranoid have an advantage.

I was always amused at how the phrase caught on — and who wanted to be considered even more paranoid than I am. Once, when I was receiving an honor at Harvard University, Bill Gates was saying some nice things about me on a video and said he had only one quibble: that he was the most paranoid.

I think the rule is more relevant than ever today. The U.S. economy is getting hollowed out, industry by industry. Health care is about to become one-sixth of the U.S. economy, and yet for the most part it’s an industry that has never taken advantage of digital technology. Our country’s infrastructure is fragile, even precarious. Just look at New Orleans. So I would say, Duh. We’d better be paranoid.

I know I am. But not about Intel. One of the benefits of no longer being the company’s chief “paranoid” officer is that someone else gets to do that now.

“Once a Day, Take Some “Beach Time””
Mireille Guiliano, CEO and president, Clicquot; author, French Women Don’t Get Fat

We have to take “beach time” — a space for ourselves — every day because we live in a world of burnout. Even if you take 20 to 30 minutes for yourself, you’ll be a better worker, a better colleague, a better person. It benefits the people around you as much as it benefits you. Don’t feel guilty to do your own thing during that time. And I don’t necessarily mean going to the gym. I never go to the gym. I have a view of one across the street from where I live in New York. It’s 7:30 at night, when you should be thinking about dinner and relaxing, and the gym is full of people.

I take my beach time each morning. I have a glass of water, and I walk along Bank Street to the Hudson River. A walk is the cheapest and best exercise, and it’s the best 20 minutes of my day. It’s an element of what I call “French Zen.”

“Believe in Something Bigger Than Yourself”
Carlos M. Gutierrez, U.S. secretary of commerce; former
chairman and CEO, Kellogg

My experience and observation have shown that if people see you looking out only for your own best interests, they won’t follow you. You have to believe in doing good for those you serve, knowing that it will allow them to do extraordinary things. Another important lesson I learned from my father, who was the first great leader I observed. He taught me that you have to keep your perspective and have a sense of humility. As he used to say, “Tell me what you brag about, and I’ll tell you what you lack.”

“Never Bow to Precedent”
Gary Hamel, business consultant and author

Near the end of my Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan, a veteran professor took me aside and proffered these words of advice: “Gary, the surest way to get tenure is to build on someone else’s well-established theory, churn out as many articles as you can for leading journals, and avoid the temptation to do consulting, as this will only divert you from your research.” As I absorbed this bit of sagacity, I had to work to keep from frowning. “Hmmm,” I thought, “that might be the way to get promoted, but it sounds like a recipe for creative suicide.”

So in an act of rebellion, I signed up for a consulting project at General Electric while still a doctoral student (jeez, did I learn a lot), hooked up with a similarly contrarian-minded professor, C.K. Prahalad, and started working on the first of what would become 15 articles for the Harvard Business Review and two books. And as I looked around for role models and mentors, it quickly became obvious that the people who had really made a difference in the world of management — from Frederick Winslow Taylor to Mary Parker Follett, W. Edwards Deming to Taiichi Ohno — were all rebels. Constructive rebels, but rebels nonetheless.

As the pace of change accelerates, the value of precedent will continue to wane. Today the most important thing is to regard everything you believe as nothing more than a set of hypotheses, forever open to being disproved. A healthy disrespect for precedent is the ultimate advantage in a world where the future is less and less an extrapolation of the past. By the way, being a contrarian is usually not as risky as the custodians of convention typically make out. Somewhere along the way, I got tenure.

“You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man”
Phil Hellmuth, poker world champion, winner of the most World Series of Poker Gold Bracelets

What we do as poker players is read people. People lie to us; they try to bluff us constantly. So we get used to trying to sort out all the bullshit. When I get pitched by people who are really good, like con men, they are not as good as the poker players.

You can’t cheat an honest man. I don’t know exactly why that is, but it’s true for me. My honor is unquestioned in poker, and if you have perfect honor in poker, it’s better than having it anywhere else in life because everyone remembers everything from 15 or 20 years ago. If you cheated then, they’ll remember.

“Don’t confuse luck with skill when judging others, and especially when judging yourself.”
Carl Icahn, billionaire investor

“Conventional Wisdom Is Always Wrong”
Paul Jacobs, CEO, Qualcomm

The downside of this rule is that no one will believe you, so you’ll need to work much harder to sell your idea. The upside is that everyone else will be running in the wrong direction, so you’ll have a more open field in which to innovate. Find the incorrect underlying assumptions and you’ll create opportunities.

“Make Deals With People, Not Paper”
Penn Jillette, magician, author, and producer

This was the hardest thing to learn when I was 19. When we first started doing Penn & Teller shows, I thought that if you had a contract, it was enforced. I thought there were the contract police — so you’d sign a contract that says you’re going to give me a million dollars, and if you don’t have a million dollars, someone will step in and give me my million anyway. Right.

That’s one of the hardest lessons for a guy like me who has no interest in business but now runs a multimillion-dollar enterprise. A contract is not much of a legal document. It’s just an agreement that two people who trust each other have made. You can’t enter into a contract with anyone that you wouldn’t make a handshake deal with, because everything comes down to a handshake deal.

The more experience I got in showbiz, the less I read the contracts. Now I don’t bother. If I can’t make the deal in a phone call, and have them understand it, then it’s not a worthwhile deal. You’re making a deal with the people, not with the contract. That’s a mistake that people make a lot: “We’ve got it in writing now.” The contract is clarification, but it’s not enforcement.

“Get Your Timing Right”
Ray Kurzweil, inventor and entrepreneur

I had the idea that I would be an inventor when I was 5 years old. Now, 52 years later, I still fashion myself an inventor. After some youthful experiments, I realized that the key to a successful invention is timing. Many inventors succeed in getting their contraptions to work, yet most inventions still fail in the marketplace because the enabling factors needed for success are not in place when they’re needed.

With this in mind, I became an ardent student of technology trends over 30 years ago. Now I have a team of researchers who assist me in gathering key measures of information technology in a variety of fields. In addition to timing my inventions, the technology trend models derived from this data enable me to create long-term forecasts of what will be feasible with the information tools of 10 or 20 or 30 years from now and beyond. I say this not just looking backward now but with a track record of accurate predictions in a series of books going back about two decades.

“Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Competitor’s Success”
Geraldine Laybourne, chairman and CEO, Oxygen Media

When I was at Nickelodeon, we had 10 commandments whenever we started a new business. To me, the most important one was “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, thy neighbor’s donkey, or thy competitor’s success.”

This is especially true in television, where so many people just keep their eye on what the other networks are doing. They’ll try to find the next Desperate Housewives, but the look-alikes never amount to a whole lot. I’ve done that a couple of times and fallen flat on my face. So I try not to get distracted by what worked for others.

I always have an eye on the competition, but it’s not to do what they’re doing. It’s to see where the holes are. I’ve built businesses by looking at conventional wisdom and going exactly the opposite way.

“Business Can’t Trump Happiness”
Shelly Lazarus, chairman and CEO, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide

I am constantly asked by women how to balance careers with family. I know from experience that there is no silver-bullet answer; if there were, we would be seeing more women in the corner office. The truth is that balance is achieved through a host of individual dance steps, from being willing to suffer a little domestic chaos to insisting that performance be measured by results, not just time spent in the office. Unless you love your work, you won’t find the balance. How can you, if you resent the time away from family spent at a tedious job? I fell into a job and a company I loved. I never wanted to leave and never worried that my family suffered for it. Finding fulfilling work should be an early and deeply pursued part of everyone’s career path. This may sound soft and mushy, but happy people are better for business. They are more creative and productive, they build environments where success is more likely, and you have a much better chance of keeping your best players.

“Don’t Trust, Just Verify”
Steven D. Levitt, coauthor, Freakonomics

So much of what we hear and what we’re taught turns out to be false on closer scrutiny. Whether it is expert advice, what you read in the paper, or what your mother told you, if it is important, take the time to figure out for yourself whether it is really true.

“There’s something bad in everything good and something good in everything bad.”
Michael Lewis, author, Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, and Coach: Lessons on the Game of Life

“Share and Share Alike”
Scott McNealy, founder and CEO, Sun Microsystems

You learn to share in preschool. Later you learn that if you make the pie bigger, everyone gets a little more. These lessons came together when we started Sun. We didn’t have the resources to do everything ourselves, so we shared what we had to attract customers and get their help in building the business. There are now 4.5 million Java developers and about 950 companies worldwide all collaborating on a technology Sun shared with the community.

This is possible because sharing creates communities, which create new markets. It’s also changing business models: Companies can no longer expect to lock in customers with proprietary standards. They must now compete on the value of their business execution. They monetize that value a little bit, spread over the entire community. With 1 billion people on the network today, and several million more joining every week, there’s a lot of opportunity. So while it may seem counterintuitive for a company to share, it’s the key to larger economic growth — not only for Sun, but for everyone in the world.

“Get Face Time With the Customers”
Anne Mulcahy, chairman and CEO, Xerox

Xerox’s founder, Joe Wilson, used to always say this, and it’s become my own golden rule. The way I see it, if you forget the customer, nothing much else matters. The brand deteriorates, employees lose jobs, and shareholders lose value.

My mantra around Xerox is to ensure that the customer is connected to everything we do. It’s why every senior leader — from our head of human resources to our general counsel — is assigned a customer account to cover.

I remember getting on the elevator one morning at headquarters around the time of a quarterly earnings report, and our chief accountant stepped in right before the door closed. I started to ask him how the numbers were looking, but he was more interested in debriefing me on a customer call he’d just made in Louisiana. Our elevator ride turned into a longer discussion about billing resolutions for this customer (though I did finally get the analysis of our earnings numbers out of him).

This is why I make hundreds of customer calls each year. Hearing firsthand from our customers about their relationships with Xerox changes my perspective on the toughest of business decisions.

“Choose Your Mistakes Carefully”
Craig Newmark, founder, Craigslist

When someone points out a mistake to you, deal with it — don’t go into denial. When I started running Craigslist, I made some serious goofs in hiring the wrong people, people whom I shouldn’t have trusted. As a result, though, I eventually found a guy who’s become a really good CEO and who has great judgment in hiring. I realized I wasn’t a good manager, so I got out of the way.

I also issued stock to employees, not thinking it would be worth anything. Big mistake — eBay was able to buy a 25 percent stake in Craigslist from a former employee. But eBay turned out to be a good partner; we share a similar moral compass.

“Maximize the Compromises”
Hans-Olov Olsson, chairman, Volvo Cars; senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Ford Motor

Maximize the compromises; otherwise you do not win in global business. My education along this path began during the six years I served as president of Volvo Cars in Japan. In Japanese culture, you do not allow one party in a negotiation to lose face. Trust grows from an honorable exchange, when everyone walks away from the table feeling good about a deal. To do that I had to master the art of listening. Actually, I thought I was a good listener before I went to Japan. Once there, I discovered that listening is not only about words but about observing body language and the nuances of give and take. Compromise, in Japan, springs from empathy.

I left Japan and moved to Brussels to head up Volvo Cars in Europe. Compromise is necessary in Europe as well, but it demands a different set of skills there. The cultures of Europe are extremely independent and rooted in their respective identities. Consider how difficult it has been to form a European Union and you get a sense of the obstacles to reaching consensus on any marketing strategy. Maximizing a compromise, however, does not mean losing yourself so that you can please others. You have to be fully yourself; never pretend to be someone else. From that position of strength, create a win-win solution for all parties. Then be very disciplined in the follow-up so that you leave nothing unanswered.

“Whatever a Man Soweth, That Shall He Also Reap”
Dick Parsons, chairman and CEO, Time Warner

This came from my grandmother, and it was the best advice I ever got. If I think of anything on a daily basis, in terms of a moral compass, that is the one. You treat people the way you want to be treated. If you treat everyone with respect, somehow it comes back to you. If you are honest and aboveboard, somehow it comes back to you.

“Never, Ever Forget That You Are a Servant”
David Neeleman, founder, chairman, and CEO, JetBlue USA
Jim Press, president, Toyota Motor Sales USA

My grandfather ran a general store, and if a customer needed something that wasn’t in stock, he did whatever it took to get the item — even running across the street to a competitor — rather than ask the customer to take her business elsewhere. He never told me, “Take care of others, and they’ll take care of you” — he didn’t have to. I saw it happen.

When I entered the aviation business, I never thought in terms of “passengers” or “tickets sold” but of “people” and “customers.” It was distressing to hear airline colleagues complain about the customers — even going so far as to say how much easier it would be for them if there were fewer passengers.

When JetBlue started flying in February 2000, my goal was to bring humanity back to air travel. We hire nice people and train them in the skills they require to help run the airline. I don’t think you can train someone to be nice. We are all servants in the best sense of the word, which brings amazing personal and professional rewards.

JIM PRESS, president, Toyota Motor Sales USA

I really consider myself a servant leader. A servant leader works for his dealer network, for the associates in his organization, and for his customers. I mean, from a business point of view, if you put the customer ahead of all else, you’ll never make a wrong decision.

That’s the premise I worked from in deciding to keep a brand-new technology out of the current Prius. It was a remote information screen in the dashboard that operated via the driver using a mouse instead of by touch — and it offered some clear advantages. It could be placed farther away from the driver, leaving the interior feeling roomier. Fingerprints wouldn뭪 mark up the screen. Plus the technology could save the company money because it’s cheaper and simplifies the interior뭩 design challenges.

But you have to keep asking yourself, Is this innovation customer-friendly? And this one wasn뭪. I remember attending the demonstration in our parking lot and thinking, It may be better for the company, but who wants to concentrate on a mouse while you뭨e driving a car? I said this isn뭪 customer driven; we can뭪 do it, although perhaps in the future there might be advances that will help us find a way to make it work. Then I walked away, and that was the end of that. Instead we arrived at a setup that worked for everyone.

“Learn to Trust Your Gut”
Paul Pressler, CEO and president, Gap

I learned this from one of my first bosses, a legend in the toy industry named Bernie Loomis. I watched every decision he made, and it wasn’t so much what he decided as how he made the decision. Like most executives, Bernie was informed by financials, input from his team, and insights from customers. But he didn’t always follow what appeared to be the most logical path — he once sold empty boxes at Christmas, with the promise of a blockbuster toy to come later.

I once asked Bernie how he came to a particular decision that seemed like a strange choice. He told me, “I have no idea. I just knew what I felt in my gut.” As it turned out, his gut was almost always right.

Few business decisions are black and white. That’s why you surround yourself with smart people and listen to different points of view. But when it’s time to make the call, I rely on my instincts. Whenever I haven’t done this, it’s ended up being a mistake.

A career is a collection of experiences to get your gut ready. It’s the accumulation of knowledge from successes and failures that helps you to see what’s possible and build something great.

“The Next Big Thing Is Whatever Makes the Last Big Thing Usable”
Blake Ross, co-creator, Firefox

When Firefox began, the browser market was “dead,” client software was “outdated,” and many entrepreneurs were working on podcasting tools for goldfish and other “next big things.” We focus on the everyday problems that nag at everyday people. There are more than enough to go around without imagining new ones.

“Be a Problem-Solver”
Hector Ruiz, CEO, AMD

In a race for more megahertz, we forgot to ask if customers really needed higher processor speeds to get better performance. It turns out they didn’t. In introducing wholly new chip architectures, chipmakers forgot to ask if customers were willing to replace software and auxiliary hardware. It turns out they weren’t. Innovation is only worthwhile if it is focused on solving real-world problems.

“Loyalty Counts as Much as Smarts”
Srivats Sampath, founder, McAfee.com; CEO and president, Mercora

Starting and building a company is like going into battle — and I always prefer to go into battle with a team that is loyal to one another and to the cause. At Mercora, most of us have worked together for six to 10 years, and the trust and loyalty we have for one another makes an extremely difficult task enjoyable.

“Hard Work Opens Doors”
Ivan Seidenberg, chairman and CEO, Verizon

My first boss — he was the building superintendent, and I was a janitor — watched me sweep floors and wash walls for almost a year before he mentioned that I could get tuition for college if I got a job with the phone company. When I asked him why he’d waited so long, he said, “I wanted to see if you were worth it.” The message: Work hard, have high standards, and stick to your values, because somebody’s always watching.

“Be the Person Who Steps Up”
George Shaheen, CEO, Siebel Systems

Approach what you do as a leader, not a participant. I’m talking about life. It doesn’t matter whether you are trying to run a huge company, your family, a church choir, or the Indian Princess outing at your kid’s school. You will see that the most successful people are the ones who approach whatever they do with the mind-set and qualities of a leader. This means you need a vision for the outcome of what you’re doing, you must have the courage to act on your vision, and you have to execute.

I grew up in a small farm town in central Illinois. There were 49 kids in my high school, and at that time, many of us who did go to college flunked out. And the ones who flunked did so because of poor English skills. So our English teacher, Helen Mess, began tutoring us in themed writing in her home three nights a week. Three nights a week! She acted like a leader: She saw a problem, and she had a vision for how to fix it. But she didn’t ask for extra money, or for any programs from the government. She just said, “Come to my house.” That took courage. And she executed: Fewer of us flunked out.

“Those Who Don’t Know Their Own History Are Doomed to Repeat It”
Ram Shriram, angel investor and Google board member

I wish I had kept a personal diary from day one of my career. But I did get started in 1996, so I’ve at least documented the most recent history of my own follies and foibles. It’s intended not to correct personality flaws or change behavior — or even worse, self-flagellate — but rather to serve as a guide to the numerous aspects of running a business while avoiding the minefields of the past. For some things there is no substitute for experience-based knowledge, and documenting it ensures that we’ll always remember it.

“What Gets Measured Gets Managed”
Stan Sigman, CEO, Cingular Wireless

Whether you’re a network engineer responsible for making sure calls are completed or a marketing manager responsible for a new product, you need to know how to measure your success. That’s how we do business at Cingular, and that’s how we will reach our goal of being the most highly regarded wireless company in the world.

“Quit Taking, Start Giving”
Russell Simmons, co-founder, Def Jam Records; founder, Rush Communications

You get a lot of benefit from giving, not from taking. You have to fill a void, give people something that’s meaningful and useful. If it’s an entrepreneurial venture, find what people need and give it to them. Give them something that’s lasting. Be careful not to take a shortcut or give people what they think they need. My latest venture, UniRush Financial Services, offers a real benefit for people who are struggling. It’s for people who are mostly locked out of the system, and they need it to get on their feet. It’s not a way to exploit them because they are on their knees. It’s a way to pick them up.

“Never write when you can talk. Never talk when you can nod. And never put anything in an e-mail.”
Eliot Spitzer, New York state attorney general

“At the Height of Success, “Break” Your Business”
Ed Zander, chairman and CEO, Motorola

Companies that don’t innovate don’t survive, so the key to success is driving this innovation. This lesson is especially important to remember when things are going well. Though it’s counterintuitive, successful companies actually need to be more innovative than the competition. It’s like kids playing king of the hill — everyone aims for the kid at the top. Leaders that don’t innovate are displaced by those willing to take risks.

This is why, when a company reaches the height of its success, a good leader will shake things up by “breaking” the business. One example of this is moving people around. Changing the company’s organizational structure allows different people to interact and allows new, innovative ideas to take shape.

Every day I look for ways to break Motorola. Employees are excited to come to work every day because they, too, live, breathe, and imagine the next big thing. Breaking the business may sound like a strange thing for a CEO to do, but this strategy has sparked innovation at Motorola and it is the reason for our success.

“Business Is Not About Ideas, It’s About Initiatives”
Sergio Zyman, marketing expert

My golden rule of business is action. Ideas are nice, but initiatives move the business forward. Businesses must move forward and grow. If you are not achieving growth, you are not being successful — no matter how good your ideas are.

It may sound harsh, but this is not the Doris Day school of life — a “Que Sera, Sera” attitude is not rewarded. I have a reputation for being an abrupt kind of guy. Since my days at Coca-Cola, there has been a perception that I am incredibly demanding — and it’s true. I like people who can “point and shoot” when it comes to getting done what needs to happen. Business is not about ideas; it’s about initiatives and strategies. So cut all the niceties and pleasantries that really, in the end, drive you nowhere and focus on what keeps the business moving and growing.

Remember the “Mean Joe Greene” ad from Coca-Cola, and how warm and fuzzy it was? Everyone loved watching that ad while they drank Pepsi. I killed that ad because it did not help sell more Coca-Cola. It’s about driving growth, not entertainment. In today’s business environment, everyone’s destination must focus only on growth and making sure you have the right tools and team in place to achieve that. You have to be a growth insurgent to achieve growth, constantly attacking competitors’ weaknesses and winning the hearts and minds of the consumer.

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Hella impressed…

So, I just stumbled on this site: http://backpackit.com

After looking at the parent company, I see it’s also the same company that produced Ruby on Rails.  If you’re watching any development or somewhat connected with what’s going on with Web 2.0 and other recent projects that are going to be the size of Facebook or YouTube, you’ll know Ruby on Rails has been spread around the ‘net lately.

Anyway, I decided to email the founder.  It goes a little sumtin like dis… Continue reading

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The 50 Who Matter Now

OK, I know that magazines need to maximize online ad revenue, but it’s a bit ridiculous when you can’t print something out that you would like to read on the subway & have to basically click 50 X’s in order to see the entire list of subjects an article is reporting on.  Anyway, I just spent 10 minutes copy and pasting 50 different slides on Business 2.0 so you don’t have to — to find out who the Top 50 people that “matter now” according to  CNNMoney.com To do the same thing & click through 50 slides, just click on the link I just created before this sentence.  Otherwise, just feel free to enjoy the fruits of my labor.  🙂 

Also, if you don’t want to read to the end, the top 3 were Google’s founders & CEO, Steve Jobs and Private Equity.  If you would like an actual person to be ranked #3, it would have to be instead Michael Moritz, Managing director, Sequoia Capital.  He was #4 on the list. 

CNNMoney.com

The 50 Who Matter Now
In our second annual ranking, Business 2.0 has compiled an unabashedly subjective list of people, products, trends, and ideas that are transforming the world of business.

Jay Adelson
Chairman and CEO, Digg and Revision3

Rank: 50

Why he matters: Kevin Rose may be the camera-ready face of news aggregator Digg and online video network Revision3, but Adelson is the quiet guy in the background who builds them into successful businesses.

Rose fronted the initial cash for Digg, but Adelson is widely credited with using his business savvy to transform Rose’s brainchild into an influential new way to compile the news. Adelson also runs the show at Revision3, which is racing to create TV-style online video programs. Without Adelson, the people-powered content revolution wouldn’t be quite so powerful.

Jason Calacanis
CEO, Mahalo

Rank: 49

Why He Matters: People love to hate Calacanis, but it’s hard to dispute that he’s an expert at generating buzz. The creator of Weblogs Inc. — an early blog network that he sold to AOL in 2005 — recently launched the human-driven search portal Mahalo after leading the media on a merry chase to guess what the site would actually do.

But when Calacanis talks, people listen. And now that he’s joined forces with Silicon Valley’s leading venture firm (see No. 4) to fund Mahalo, many are eager to see what he’ll do next and who he’ll antagonize in the process.

Gina Bianchini
CEO, Ning

Rank: 48

Why she matters: Facebook and MySpace get the attention, but Bianchini’s Ning might be the most exciting thing in social networking right now. Instead of simply encouraging people to join one ubernetwork, Ning lets users create their own mini communities, complete with customizable layouts, profiles, blogs, videos, and ads.

Just as blogs changed the Web by turning ordinary folks into pundits, Ning could do the same for community. Bianchini wisely kept Ning’s code mostly open, enabling it to add new features at will. Next up: helping Ning fans dress up their networks with group calendars and wikis.

Ed Iacobucci, Vern Raburn
Iacobucci: CEO, DayJet; Raburn: CEO, Eclipse Aviation

Rank: 47

Why they matter: This year marks the dawn of the air taxi era, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Iacobucci and Raburn. The two computer industry veterans — Iacobucci co-founded Citrix Systems, while Raburn used to work for Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen — could revolutionize commercial aviation.

In April, Raburn’s Eclipse Aviation got final go-ahead from the FAA to begin full-scale production of its five-seat jets, 309 of which are slated to go to Iacobucci’s air taxi startup, DayJet, in the next two years. The combination will enable small groups of passengers to fly to and from small cities for slightly more than a typical business-class fare.

Paul Graham
Founding partner, Y Combinator

Rank: 46

Why he matters: It takes a true nerd to make a science of venture capital investing, but Graham specializes in turning complex theories into marketable businesses. In the 1990s he launched Viaweb, one of the first companies to help ordinary people build online stores. He also pioneered the use of esoteric Bayesian statistics to filter junk e-mail, effectively making him the father of today’s antispam tools.

Y Combinator, his new seed fund, takes a hands-on approach to nurturing startups by combining active mentor-ship with relatively modest dollops of cash. He may be onto something: Web 2.0 services Loopt, Reddit, and Justin.tv have prospered with funding from Y Combinator.

You
Web-enabled mass participation

Rank: 45

Why you matter: Can we be blunt? You had a disappointing year. It began with great promise, when this magazine placed You in the No.1 slot on the 2006 edition of this list. “You’ve become an integral part of the action as a member of the aggregated, interactive, self-organizing, auto-entertaining audience,” we said, and we really meant it! A few months later, our corporate cousins at Time concurred and named You the 2006 Person of the Year.

Then You got lazy. All those YouTube videos of cats dancing, playing the piano, and drunkenly running into walls? So derivative. Then there was all the fawning over Snakes on a Plane. What was up with that? And don’t even get us started on Sanjaya. Look, we still think You have lots of potential. But if You’re really going to change the media landscape, it’s time to step up Your game.

Evan Williams
Founder, Twitter

Rank: 44

Why he matters: When we say You have questionable judgment, Williams’s Twitter may be a case in point. Twitter gives each user a webpage, where short text updates (known as “tweets”) can be posted to the site via IM, SMS, or blogging tools. The result is a torrent of short notes and inane observations (from “Feeling sick today” to “I’m in the bathroom!”) pouring in from buddies throughout the day.

Fans say Twitter is an invaluable way to stay in the loop. We’re not so sure. Twitter is either a major new communications platform or the next overhyped Friendster. Which will it be? Ask us again next year.

Elon Musk
Bleeding-edge entrepreneur

Rank: 43

Why he matters: After selling the PayPal online payment system to eBay for $1.5 billion, Musk has parlayed his estimated $334 million in personal wealth into three revolutionary ventures: electric cars, solar panels, and low-cost space travel.

As chairman and chief checkwriter at Tesla Motors (see No. 19), he hopes to give the electric car market a big jolt. Musk’s SpaceX has successfully launched its Falcon rocket, a bargain at $7 million per flight, with hopes of muscling its way into the multibillion-dollar satellite launch business. Then there’s Solar City, another Musk company, which encourages neighborhoods to share the cost of installing solar panels.

We assume Musk has his eye on a synergy play: humans driving solar-charged Teslas on the moon!

Doug Melton
Co-director, Harvard Stem Cell Institute

Rank: 42

Why he matters: For a while it looked as though the South Koreans were winning the race to find real-world uses for human stem cells. But when their research program melted down in a data-faking scandal, Melton emerged as the prime mover in a field that could someday offer treatments for everything from cancer to diabetes to Parkinson’s disease.

When the White House cut funding for experiments based on stem cells taken from human embryos, Melton used private donations to create 30 embryonic stem-cell lines and distribute them to labs around the world. His cells, and scientists he trained, are now driving the research agenda in this promising field.

Tim O’Reilly
Founder and CEO, O’Reilly Media

Rank: 41

Why he matters: The man who coined the term “Web 2.0” has a talent for planting himself in the heart of the action. The Web 2.0 conferences produced by his publishing company, O’Reilly Media, have become the Internet industry’s biggest business and cultural happening of the year.

Through his O’Reilly Radar blog, he is also one of the most influential voices in the world of open-source software. Not that he always gets it right: His proposal earlier this year to curtail bad behavior by creating a bloggers’ code of conduct was met with scorn. But O’Reilly’s ideas got the blogosphere chattering — and, as always, he was smack in the middle of the conversation.

Sam Zell
Real estate magnate and media kingpin

Rank: 40

Why he matters: The Chicago billionaire is betting big against the Internet. Zell, 65, discovered his entrepreneurial spirit as a child, buying Playboy magazines downtown and reselling them for a profit in the suburbs. He went on to make a fortune in real estate, buying cheap and selling dear.

Today he’s looking at undervalued property in the most unlikely of places: print media. First, Zell bought the Tribune Co., which owns the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. Then he picked a fight with Google News, suggesting that the headline aggregator might have to start working for a living if newspapers like his decide to shut off the spigot of free news. Apostasy! But what if he’s right?

John Edmond
Co-founder, Cree

Rank: 39

Why he matters: The light-emitting diode is poised to become the new lightbulb, and for that, Edmond deserves much of the credit. At Cree, the LED manufacturer he helped start two decades ago in North Carolina, Edmond is pushing the technology into the mainstream.

At a time when 22 percent of the nation’s energy is spent keeping the lights on, an LED bulb can burn for almost six years before it needs to be replaced, and some consume even less energy than compact fluorescent bulbs. Edmond’s LEDs are beginning to replace outdoor lighting in parking garages and streetlamps, and the indoor lighting market is set to open up as well.

Arianna Huffington
Co-founder, Huffington Post

Rank: 38

Why she matters: In the year of the blogger, Huffington is the queen of the blogosphere. Her Huffington Post, launched just two years ago to snooty derision, has become one of the Web’s most influential political sites, attracting more than 800,000 unique visitors a month. A $5 million round of VC funding has given Huffington the heft to add more original reporting, investigative pieces, and videos to a site already brimming with A-list opinion makers.

HuffPo is the new model for Internet-bred news sites — a hybrid that combines the journalistic traditions of print with the immediacy and community of the Web. She also plans to launch a satirical site called 23/6 later this year. This time, nobody’s laughing.

Fake Steve Jobs
Author, Secret Diary of Steve Jobs

Rank: 37

Why he matters: How could an anonymous satirist possibly matter enough to make this list? Simple. Not only is Fake Steve’s site one of the most closely read blogs in Silicon Valley, but FSJ has great sources and (apparently) a pretty good line on how RSJ feels about the world around him.

FSJ is not so much Jobs’s alter ego as his id, free-associating about everything from “frigtards” like Eric “Squirrel Boy” Schmidt to the “MicroTards” in Redmond. Peace, FSJ. Namaste.

Kevin Walsh
Managing director of renewable energy, GE Energy Financial Services

Rank: 36

Why he matters: $4 billion. That’s how much Walsh’s division plans to spend on renewable-energy investments by 2010. In March he flew to Portugal to open one of the world’s largest photovoltaic solar power plants. In May he announced that GE will invest $180 million in two giant Texas wind-farm projects. The company will also invest $50 million a year in promising startups — making Walsh perhaps the leading sugar daddy of the green-tech boom.

Howard Draft
Chairman and CEO, DraftFCB

Rank: 35

Why he matters: Behavioral targeting, analytics, and data mining are all the rage in online advertising, but Draft, who made his name in direct-mail marketing, has been doing all three for decades.

Yes, he won and lost the $500 million Wal-Mart account in a matter of weeks earlier this year. But he quickly recovered by landing a $200 million account with Kmart and a bite-size $40 million deal with Kraft Lunchables. His direct-mail firm merged with 133-year-old ad agency Foote Cone & Belding in 2006, and Draft now runs the company, presiding over 9,000 employees worldwide at an agency that bills an estimated $350 million a year. Results-oriented, indeed.

Mark Zuckerberg
Founder and CEO, Facebook

Rank: 34

Why he matters: Zuckerberg was a 19-year-old Harvard student when he launched a social-networking site called Facebook for the in-the-know college crowd. Three years later Facebook is the sixth most visited site on the Internet, with some 24 million active users and enough clout to turn down a reported billion-dollar buyout offer from Yahoo (and to make us regret our decision to put him on our online-only list of the 10 Who Don’t Matter last year).

In September, Facebook opened its doors to anyone with an e-mail address, and in May it announced plans to add free classified ads. It also gave outside developers access to Facebook’s underlying code. In a matter of days, one application, iLike, had attracted nearly half a million users.

Richard Branson
Founder, Virgin Group

Rank: 33

Why he matters: Branson has made billions from Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Trains, Virgin Limousines, and some 200 other Virgin brands. Having done his part to deplete the ozone layer, he’s now trying to make amends.

In September he announced that he will donate all profits from Virgin’s transportation businesses during the next decade — a sum that could exceed $3 billion — to combating global warming. Then he and Al Gore set up a $25 million prize for the first inventor who develops a cost-effective way to extract greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Now he’s partnered with Boeing and General Electric to produce a biofuel to power the jets of the future. It’s the least he could do.

Indra Nooyi
CEO, PepsiCo

Rank: 32

Why she matters: She may be selling sugar water, but she’s one heck of a role model. When PepsiCo tapped Nooyi to become chief executive of the $35 billion company, the snack and beverage giant became the biggest U.S. company run by a woman — and a foreign-born one at that.

Nooyi, a 13-year Pepsi veteran and its former CFO, knows all about the bottom line. She helped forge the $14 billion acquisition of Quaker Oats and its Gatorade unit in 2001, led the $2.2 billion IPO of the Pepsi-Cola bottling group, and positioned Pepsi for rapid growth in the really big markets: China, the Middle East, and her native India. Do you think John Sculley could have done that?

Mukesh Ambani, Anil Ambani
Mukesh: Chairman, Reliance Industries

Ambani: Chairman, Reliance ADA Group

Rank: 31

Why they matter: These billionaire brothers from India are locked in a bitter intrafamily rivalry, and each seems intent on leading the group of companies he inherited from their late father in a different direction.

Elder brother Mukesh is building one of the world’s biggest oil refineries and has embarked on a bold plan to revolutionize Indian agriculture. Not to be outdone, flashy younger brother Anil is building one of the world’s biggest power plants using clean-burning natural gas. He has also created Reliance Communications, the world’s fastest-growing CDMA mobile-phone network, and has announced plans to invest billions in India’s enterprise broadband network. Imagine what these two could do if they just saw eye to eye.

Charles Phillips
President, Oracle

Rank: 30

Why he matters: Hyperion. Tangosol. AppForge. Lodestar. What do these software companies all have in common? Each was acquired by Oracle this year. CEO Larry Ellison gets the credit for setting Oracle’s course — before he set sail on his quest to capture the America’s Cup — but now it’s Phillips who’s actually steering the ship.

Managing Oracle’s increasingly unwieldy product portfolio, the result of 31 acquisitions since 2005, is not an easy job. But if the company can maintain its momentum (17 percent profit growth in 2006) without screwing up its massive installed base, Ellison will know who to thank.

Nicholas Negroponte
Chairman, One Laptop Per Child

Rank: 29

Why he matters: The MIT Media Lab co-founder’s nonprofit group, One Laptop Per Child, has created an inexpensive notebook computer for children in developing nations. The goal is to make a machine that sells for $100.

For now, however, the first laptops will cost $175, and even then, One Laptop Per Child needs orders for 3 million units to get started. Though cheap, the Linux machines come with free e-books, learning software, and a Web browser. A windup crank permits use off the electric grid, and rabbit-ear antennas create long-distance Wi-Fi mesh networks so entire villages can share a single Internet connection.

Reed Hundt
Vice chairman, Frontline Wireless

Rank: 28

Why he matters: As chairman of the FCC during the go-go 1990s, Hundt oversaw the process of auctioning off billions of dollars’ worth of wireless spectrum. Today, as vice chairman of startup Frontline Wireless, he’s hoping to lay claim to the last major tract — the 700-MHz band being given up by UHF TV broadcasters — when it’s sold off sometime in the next year.

Frontline wants to use the spectrum to create an open wireless broadband network that would be accessible to anyone with any device, much like the wired Internet today. Current FCC chairman Kevin Martin has already signaled his support.

Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom
Co-founders, Skype and Joost

Rank: 27

Why they matter: Call them the Disruptive Duo. First they undermined the music industry by unleashing the Kazaa file-sharing network. Then they rattled the telephone industry by creating Skype, a free Internet phone network.

Now Friis and Zennstrom are ready to reinvent the TV industry with Joost, a full-screen, peer-to-peer TV network that you can watch on your laptop. With 150 channels available and more on the way, Joost is the anti-YouTube: All the video, from anime to CSI, is created by entertainment pros. More than 500,000 beta users signed up before Joost even opened its doors to the general public, and big-name advertisers — Coca-Cola, Nike, Sony — are lining up to become sponsors. TV may never be the same.

Tom Cogan
Chief project engineer, Boeing

Rank: 26

Why he matters: It’s not just that Boeing’s all-new 787 Dreamliner helped the company regain the upper hand in its rivalry with Airbus; the 787 is the most successful new aircraft launch in the history of commercial aviation. With the first delivery on track for May 2008, more than 550 787s are already on order at roughly $160 million apiece.

Cogan and his team deserve much of the credit for this, because the 787 is ideally suited to the lean realities of the post-9/11 airline industry. The jet can fly as many as 330 passengers on long-range flights while delivering 20 percent better fuel efficiency and 10 percent lower operating costs than older models like Boeing’s 767 and the Airbus A330.

Philip Rosedale
Founder and CEO, Linden Labs

Rank: 25

Why he matters: Virtual worlds, like real nations, are starting to generate significant economic activity, and Rosedale’s Second Life is the most formidable virtual world of all. Not only is it home to nearly 2 million active “residents,” but it has spawned an online economy where more than $1.5 million worth of digital goods and services are traded every day.

Second Life is no longer just a game; it may also be the precursor of a more visual, three-dimensional Internet. Instead of looking at a flat e-commerce webpage, imagine dropping by a 3-D virtual store. Sound far-fetched? In Second Life, it’s already routine.

Tony Fadell
Senior vice president, Apple

Rank: 24

Why he matters: It’s an open secret that Fadell is the real engineering genius behind the iPod. In fact, he was already well on his way to building a hard-drive-based MP3 player that could store thousands of songs (sound familiar?) when Apple hardware chief Jon Rubinstein tapped him to lead the original iPod engineering team.

By 2006, when Fadell was given the reins of the entire iPod division, it was generating more revenue for Apple than the Mac. What’s he done for us lately? Glad you asked. Have you heard of this new thing called the iPhone?

Min Kao
Co-founder and CEO, Garmin

Rank: 23

Why he matters: Kao has built a $1.8 billion business heeding the old axiom of location, location, and location. The world’s largest manufacturer of GPS devices, his company is spearheading a revolution in location-based computing.

The company, which does its own design, manufacturing, inventory, distribution, and customer service, sold about 5.6 million units last year, grabbing more than 50 percent of the U.S. market. When the day comes that every phone, computer, and iPod has a built-in GPS device, chances are the technology will be Garmin’s.

Michael Arrington
Founder, TechCrunch

Rank: 22

Why he matters: In tech circles, it’s become a verb, as in “We got TechCrunched.” Everyone knows what it means: Your phone starts ringing, and traffic to your website explodes.

Since Arrington launched TechCrunch two years ago, the site has become a must-read in the fast-growing Web 2.0 world. When Arrington reviews a company’s product — typically before others get word of it — VCs often begin pitching the startup with funding offers. Arrington says he plans to stay independent, and why shouldn’t he, given that his 10-person outfit brings in $200,000 a month. Look for him to begin buying up other blogs as he seeks to expand his reach as Silicon Valley’s reigning kingmaker.

Randall Stephenson
Chairman and CEO, AT&T

Rank: 21

Why he matters: Stephenson hopes to transform a company rooted in yesterday’s technology — telephone landlines — into a multiplatform provider of telecom services. AT&T’s decision to rebrand the Cingular network with Ma Bell’s 122-year-old moniker got a big boost with the news that AT&T would become the exclusive carrier of Apple’s iPhone.

But Stephenson must also find success with the U-verse — a long-delayed IP-based television system that will put AT&T in direct competition with cable companies. In May, AT&T announced that it will spend $6.5 billion ($1.4 billion more than previously announced) to roll out the system in 20 cities. If the effort fails, Stephenson could go the way of the rotary dial.

Shigeru Miyamoto
Senior managing director, Nintendo

Rank: 20

Why he matters: If you recognize the name Donkey Kong, Mario, or Zelda, you’re familiar with Miyamoto’s work — and if you’ve come within shouting distance of a 14-year-old lately, you’ve probably heard about his latest creation: the Nintendo Wii.

The Wii’s motion-sensitive controller has injected a physical dimension into the videogame business, but the real genius of the Wii may be that it appeals to people outside Nintendo’s traditional middle-school demographic. By marketing the Wii aggressively to 25-to 49-year-olds, Miyamoto is breathing new life into a $30 billion industry that was starting to stagnate.

Co-founder and CEO, Tesla Motor

Rank: 19

Why he matters: Eberhard’s high-tech, battery-powered electric car is less about bland eco-consciousness than about sex and speed. The Tesla Roadster does zero-to-60 in a whiplash-inducing four seconds, reaches over 130 mph, and goes more than 200 miles on a single charge.

And oh, yes, it’s also helping to save the earth. No surprise that the likes of Larry Page and Arnold Schwarzenegger have lined up to buy the six-figure supercar. Next up, Eberhard will take aim at the mass market by introducing a four-door sedan, the WhiteStar, that’s slated to debut in 2009 at half the price.

Agile Software Development
A new approach to Web-based code

Rank: 18

Why it matters: It started as a rebellion against overwrought, Dilbert-style software development projects. Today the set of practices known as agile software development is reshaping the way coders and entrepreneurs create Web-based services.

Agile teams work very quickly — sometimes in as little as a week — to create small chunks of code. Once a component is finished, additional features are added, with the process repeating indefinitely. Agile also has a reputation for enabling managers to deliver products on time and under budget, which helps explain why it has become a methodology of choice at companies like Google and Lockheed Martin.

Robin Li
Co-founder and CEO, Baidu.com

Rank: 17

Why he matters: Since founding Baidu.com, his Chinese-language search engine, in 2000, Li has left everyone — including Google — in the dust. Baidu leads China’s search market with a commanding 62 percent share and lots of long-term potential: With a current online population of 150 million users among its 1.3 billion people, China may eventually become the world’s most lucrative Internet market.

Reaching the top hasn’t been easy — Li has taken heat for tolerating censorship, piracy, and lax advertising standards — but he argues that search is a different game in China. He may be right. With profit booming, Li’s story is a timely reminder that even on the World Wide Web there’s such a thing as home-field advantage.

Barry Diller
CEO, IAC/InterActiveCorp

Rank: 16

Why he matters: Chances are you’ve passed through one of Diller’s portals without even knowing it. His IAC/InterActiveCorp owns dating site Match.com, event organizer Evite, mortgage company LendingTree, and search engine Ask.

But Diller isn’t putting all his chips on the Web: Most of IAC’s revenue is generated by HSN (formerly the Home Shopping Network) and Ticketmaster. What’s next? Diller has hired longtime television producer Michael Jackson to develop niche sites like CollegeHumor.com, while a joint venture with the Huffington Post (see No.38) will produce Daily Show-style satirical news for the Web.

Bruce Chizen
CEO, Adobe

Rank: 15

Why he matters: Chizen isn’t a flashy guy. Sure, his company made Photoshop a household word and helped bring Internet video into the mainstream, but the Brooklyn native, who never lost his tough-talking accent, is positioning Adobe’s PDF and Flash technologies at the center of the online content revolution.

And he’s been so successful that Adobe now finds itself in Microsoft’s crosshairs. Is Chizen worried? Fugghetaboutit. In fact, he’s launching Adobe’s most ambitious project yet: a platform called Apollo that helps Web developers build desktop software to engage customers even when they’re not online. Take that, Steve Ballmer.

Mark Hurd
CEO and president, Hewlett-Packard

Rank: 14

Why he matters: Wonder what happened to Michael Dell’s mojo? Look no further than Mark Hurd. This year the chief of Silicon Valley’s top-selling company stole not only Dell’s crown in the PC business but also his reputation for ruthless efficiency. What’s more, under his unflappable leadership, HP’s stock price has doubled, and the company has emerged largely unscathed from its embarrassing reporter-spying scandal.

There’s still plenty of tough sledding ahead; to achieve revenue growth of just 5 percent, HP would have to add a whopping $5 billion a year in sales. But then again, that’s exactly what it did last year.

Jimmy Wales
Founder, Wikipedia; Chairman, Wikia

Rank: 13

Why he matters: It may not be 100 percent accurate, but Wales’s user-generated Wikipedia has become the first place we go to learn the basics of just about anything. Yet as the scope and influence of Wikipedia continue to expand, Wales has been concentrating on Wikia, his for-profit company — backed by a reported $14 million in venture funding — that seeks to extend the wiki concept into ad-supported, user-generated community sites.

Wales is also working on a people-powered search site that would rely on human intelligence to do what Google’s proprietary algorithms can’t. Some think Wales is nuts to challenge Google, but the notion of building an online encyclopedia with an army of unpaid volunteers once seemed crazy too.

Jeff Bezos
CEO, Amazon.com

Rank: 12

Why he matters: Bezos has run a wildly successful Web company for more than a decade, but he’s not resting on his laurels: Having built the world’s largest online bookstore, he’s now trying to become the largest provider of back-end support and services for fledgling Internet companies.

Amazon’s Simple Storage Service seems far removed from its core retail business, but Web 2.0 companies have embraced the pay-as-you-go product as an alternative to building their own server farms. Nevertheless, analysts worry that despite the company’s pioneering roots and massive technology infrastructure, it lags behind competitors like Google and Yahoo. But don’t count the Web’s old man out just yet; Amazon’s first-quarter profit of $111 million was up 118 percent from last year.

Brian McAndrews
CEO, aQuantive

Rank: 11

Why he matters: Does Microsoft still matter? The Vista operating system was greeted with a yawn, and the Zune MP3 player hasn’t fared much better. But things may get interesting now that McAndrews has sold digital ad firm aQuantive to Redmond for $6 billion and will come aboard to help Gates & Co. take on Google in the online-ad game.

At Microsoft, McAndrews will be armed with a new weapon: Riax, a cutting-edge system for tracking the effectiveness of ads on rich-media sites. It’s a proprietary tool he developed at aQuantive — and something Google can’t yet match.

Katsuaki Watanabe
President, Toyota

Rank: 10

Why he matters: Toyota will become the world’s biggest automaker on a volume basis this year, but that’s not the statistic that counts. What counts is the fact that, while GM and Ford lost $2 billion and $12.6 billion last year, respectively, Toyota reaped a profit of $13.2 billion — its seventh record-smashing year in a row.

A Toyota lifer, Watanabe rose to the top job in 2005 thanks to his talent for eliminating inefficiency, but he’s also bolstered the company’s reputation for innovative thinking. While the Prius remains a high-profile success, rumor has it that Toyota plans to release a next-generation hybrid that you can recharge by plugging it into your home’s electrical system.

John Chambers
CEO, Cisco Systems

Rank: 9

Why he matters: Thanks to the white-hot market for video content, which drives up bandwidth demand, sales of Cisco’s switches and routers are booming. But Chambers is positioning the networking giant to be more than a Silicon Valley merchant of picks and shovels.

He also wants Cisco to increase its visibility with consumers, and to do that he’s launched a targeted acquisition spree, buying, among others, TV set-top-box maker Scientific-Atlanta, e-mail security company IronPort Systems, and Internet conferencing leader WebEx Communications. Will it pay off? The jury’s still out, but in truth, it might not matter. When you’re in a gold rush, owning the market for picks and shovels isn’t such a bad thing.

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Governor, California

Rank: 8

Why he matters: Officially, the Governator presides only over the Golden State. Unofficially, Schwarzenegger is also setting the national agenda when it comes to big issues like climate change and universal health care.

The five-time Mr. Universe is transforming the state into a green giant, launching a series of wide-ranging initiatives to improve air and water quality and reduce carbon emissions. Along the way, Schwarzenegger is prompting many of his fellow Republicans to conclude that good environmental stewardship is also smart economic policy. Al Gore may still be the green movement’s favorite spokesman, but Schwarzenegger has emerged as the environment’s real-life action hero.

Susan Decker
President, Yahoo

Rank: 7

Why she matters: If Yahoo is ever to regain the upper hand in its rivalry with Google, Decker will be the one who makes it happen. After a long stint as Yahoo’s CFO, Decker was tapped in December to take a new job as head of the company’s advertising and publishing division, which generates most of its revenue, and in June as the company’s president.

In the new role, her not-small task is to reposition Yahoo by tweaking its Panama ad system to deliver more customers to advertisers and more profit to publishers. Amid growing nervousness about Google’s dominance, Decker has a real opportunity to succeed. If she does, she’s a shoo-in to follow Terry Semel as Yahoo’s next CEO.

Rupert Murdoch
CEO, News Corp.

Rank: 6

Why he matters: Never bet on what Murdoch will do next. His 2005 purchase of MySpace for $580 million was widely mocked — until traffic kept increasing and Google shelled out nearly three times as much to buy YouTube.

Now Murdoch is trying to buy Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, for $5 billion. A foolish play when everything seems to be migrating to the Web? As we said, betting on Murdoch’s next move is risky business. But betting on his long-term success often pays off.

Paul Jacobs
CEO, Qualcomm

Rank: 5

Why he matters: Qualcomm is the Wintel of wireless — the company that controls the underlying technology for the device that everyone has to have. In Qualcomm’s case, that technology is code division multiple access, or CDMA, and it’s become the bedrock of high-speed mobile communications.

Now Jacobs hopes to expand Qualcomm’s reach by launching MediaFlo, a national TV network for mobile devices. Verizon and AT&T have signed on as carriers. If the media gambit works, Qualcomm won’t just be the Microsoft and Intel of wireless — it’ll be the Fox and NBC too.

Michael Moritz
Managing director, Sequoia Capital

Rank: 4

Why he matters: Sequoia has edged out Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in Silicon Valley’s venture capital hierarchy, and Moritz is the chief reason. Every VC outfit has money, but under Moritz’s leadership, Sequoia has shown that it has the connections, the smarts, and the cojones to build large, lasting companies.

Google? Sequoia was an early investor. PayPal? Sequoia was there. YouTube? Yup, that one too. Thanks in no small part to Moritz’s track record, Sequoia often gets first dibs on hot new startups. “Always available for thoughtful, hungry, and imaginative people” is how Moritz describes himself on his LinkedIn profile. Believe it.

Private Equity
The new Masters of the Universe

Rank: 3

Why They Matter: Ask any MBA student what she wants to be when she grows up, and chances are she’ll gush about landing a job at a private-equity firm like Blackstone, Carlyle, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, or Texas Pacific Group.

And why not? Private-equity shops raised a record $217 billion in new capital in the United States alone during 2006 and are now busy buying up everything from massive REITs like Zell’s Equity Office Partners (purchased by Blackstone for $20 billion) to tiny startups like visual effects firm the Mill.

With so much private money flowing into every sector of the economy, some foresee a train wreck. Perhaps. But in the meantime, PE firms announced more than a quarter-trillion dollars’ worth of deals in the first five months of this year — which means that, for better or worse, private equity will make its presence felt for a long time to come.

Steve Jobs
Co-founder and CEO, Apple

Rank: 2

Why he matters: Apple’s co-founder has started to channel his inner Wayne Gretzky. “I skate to where the puck is going to be,” Jobs said as he introduced the iPhone in January, “not to where it’s been.”

Given the continuing strength of both the iPod (100 million sold) and the iTunes store (2.5 billion downloads), it’s a credible boast. But will millions of Americans really pay $500 to replace their Razrs and Treos with iPhones? And will they come around to the Apple TV, a device so far ahead of its time that nobody’s quite sure what it’s for?

Jobs’s genius as a designer, product manager, and pitchman is that he’s never comfortable unless he’s pushing the envelope. And like an athlete at the top of his game, it’s hard to take your eyes off him

Eric Schmidt, Larry Page, Sergey Brin
Schmidt: CEO, Google; Page and Brin: Co-founders, Google

Rank: 1

Why they matter: For consumers, Google is one of the world’s most beloved companies. For competitors, it’s a force to be feared. The task of maintaining that balance of love and fear falls to the triumvirate of Schmidt, Page, and Brin. The trio has steered Google past $10 billion in revenue with nary a financial hiccup — and with profit still growing an average of 40 percent every quarter, they’ve more than earned their place at the top of this list.

But what makes Schmidt, Page, and Brin really matter is the fact that they seem determined to disrupt every digital business in existence, from software to video to telecommunications. When Google eyes a new market, it always tries to change the rules of the game.

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