More lists - Elite Technocrats

Gregory Alan Bolcer (
Mon, 19 Apr 1999 11:30:19 -0700

They break down the Elite 100 technology people. The only
interesting category is the Visionaries one. They are as follows.
Bill Gross of Idealab got honorable mention; this reminded me that
I meant to send him email long ago. I can't really argue
with any of these except I'd probably renumber the list starting
from 2.


1. Jeff Bezos
Founder and CEO, Inc.

Last year, online bookseller Bezos powered his way onto the
Elite 100 with a great concept and a hot IPO. This year,
despite competition from Barnes & Noble Inc. and Borders
Group Inc., Bezos & Co. pulled away from the pack. The
company's revenue growth has been astounding--last year,
sales grew 838 percent. Wall Street investors were
impressed: They drove the company's share price well north
of $100. The market slowed, but Amazon shares, still
climbing after a June 1 split, rose into the 90s by
mid-September. Not satisfied with just books, in June launched its music sales business. And in
August, it spent $280 million to buy two Internet companies:
Junglee Corp., a developer of software for comparison
shopping online, and PlanetAll, which provides an address
book, calendar and reminder service. Bezos is a frugal CEO
who skimps on office furniture while lavishing attention on
branding and customer service. More than a few puffed-up,
peacock CEOs could learn something from that down-home

2. Jerry Yang and David Filo
Co-founder and Chief Yahoo,
Director/Co-founder and Chief Yahoo, Yahoo

Yang and Filo are yahoos and proud of it. As Stanford
University graduate students, they created what has become
the most popular search service on the Web. And, yeah, they
have great technology. But these guys had much more; they
had the smarts to hire the right people to build the most
widely recognized brand on the Web. Yahooing is a lot more
fun than searching. Investors think so--even after the market
became skittish in the summer, they drove the company's
share price to about $112 (a new high) in mid-September,
and that was after a two-for-one stock split in early August.
Searching was just the beginning for Yahoo--it now works
with partners to provide content, e-mail, chat services and
more to its millions of visitors. It created a true "portal" Web
site, leaving others to play catch-up.--K.D.

3. Nathan Myhrvold
CTO, Microsoft Corp.

Myhrvold's job can be simply stated, but it should never be
understated. He's charged with defining the path and direction
of software development for Microsoft and thus, more or
less, for the entire PC software industry. His technical
leadership of Microsoft's multibillion-dollar-a-year research
arm earned him SoftwareForum's 1998 Software Visionary
Award. By trying to solve difficult problems in a simple way,
Myhrvold and friends are trying to make computers easier to
use and more useful. Microsoft has come a long way from
Basic and DOS, and Myhrvold is working to make the
developments of the past 10 years look like baby

4. Tim Berners-Lee
Director, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

Berners-Lee says we ain't seen nothin' yet. In 1980, the
British engineer wrote himself a little storage-and-recall
program called Enquire-Within-Upon-Everything. A decade
later, he introduced the World Wide Web. Now he heads the
W3C, which governs the protocols that keep the Web
happening. What has he done for us lately? With the W3C,
Berners-Lee is looking toward the Web's next phase, which,
he says, will turn all that jerry-rigged, ramshackle data into a
single, massive, easily searchable database. We hope it
works. Berners-Lee's recently acquired $270,000 "genius
grant" from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation should come in handy.--M.M.

5. Bill Joy
Co-founder, Vice President for Research, Sun
Microsystems Inc.

Joy was famous before he co-founded Sun: He was the
principal designer of the University of California, Berkeley,
version of Unix. Since migrating from academia to corporate
America, he has driven Sun's operating system development
and network computing vision. Now he's toiling to make Java
more than just a catchy name. Working in the Sun Aspen
(Colo.) Smallworks lab he founded, Joy has produced Jini,
which is supposed to simplify devices and services that use
the write-once, run-anywhere capabilities of the Java
programming language. If Jini works out, the "networked
appliance" could become a reality and once again establish
Joy as a programming god.--M.M.

6. Linus Torvalds
Linux inventor

One of the central figures in the free-software movement,
Torvalds is famous for developing the Linux (the name comes
from Linus and Unix) operating system while a student in
Finland. The OS, developed for PCs with 386 and higher
microprocessors, has gone from being a hackerchew toy to a
serious business tool for its vendors and for political activists
who pine for Microsoft's destruction. In fact, Torvalds'
invention is the subject of letters from consumer advocate
Ralph Nader to PC vendors such as Dell Computer Corp.
and Compaq Computer Corp. Torvalds hasn't gone to work
for a particular mainstream Linux vendor, so as not to favor
one above the rest. Instead, he's working for a startup called
Transmeta Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif., but won't say what
the company is developing.--P.H.

7. Ron Rivest
Webster Professor of Electrical Engineering and
Computer Science, MIT; Co-founder, RSA
Data Security Inc.

The R in RSA, Rivest was a co-inventor of the RSA Public
Key Cryptosystem, which allows people who share an
authentication key to communicate confidentially over
computer networks. Rivest is on a mission to keep your
private data just that. Also known as "chaffing and
winnowing," RSA's method has been called the final answer
on cryptography--M.M.

Also Nominated: Close, but no cigar

Aart de Geus
Synopsys Inc.

Bill Gross