The 50 Most Important People on the Web

Important People #21 through #25

21. Brewster Kahle
Director, Internet Archive

Since 1996, the nonprofit Internet Archive has been collecting terabytes of data--old books, movies, music, and radio shows. Meanwhile, another feature, called the Wayback Machine, has been quietly taking snapshots of Web history to memorialize where we browsed. Take a look at the Internet Archive's old snapshots of your favorite Web sites and you may be shocked at how different they used to be. Kahle cofounded the Internet Archive with the goal of "preserving our digital heritage," but don't let the humble curatorial pose fool you: Kahle has also challenged changes to U.S. copyright law in Kahle vs. Gonzales, a high-profile First Amendment legal case.

Ray Ozzie
Photograph: Courtesy of Microsoft
22. Ray Ozzie
Chief software architect, Microsoft

In 2006, when Bill Gates abdicated the position of chief software architect at Microsoft after 30 hands-on years, observers applauded his choice of successor: software visionary Ray Ozzie. The creator of Lotus Notes and Groove collaboration software is now charged with ensuring Microsoft's technological relevance in an age in which the Web threatens to replace the traditional desktop OS. A pioneer in computer-based collaboration, Ozzie seems well equipped to do the job. One piece of unsolicited advice, Ray: You might consider updating your blog as a first step.

Markos Moulitsas Zuniga
Photograph: Courtesy of Kos Media, LLC
23. Markos Moulitsas Zuniga
Blogger, Daily Kos

The left's most high-profile voice on the Web, Markos "Kos" Moulitsas, is a political powerhouse without equal online. His blog draws comments from liberals ranging from Nancy Pelosi to Jimmy Carter, and Moulitsas even launched a conference (broadcast in part on C-Span) for like-minded political activists. Kos's endorsements haven't always triumphed, but his backing of Ned Lamont was influential in opponent Joe Lieberman's loss of the Democratic Senate primary in Connecticut last year, though Lieberman eventually won the general election as an independent. Kos has not indicated any desire to run for office himself as yet.

Jeff Bezos
Photograph: Courtesy of Amazon.com
24. Jeff Bezos
CEO, Amazon

He may have launched Amazon.com with the goal of developing it into a big online bookstore, but Bezos proved that shlepping books and CDs across the country was just a first act. The next round: adding toys, T-shirts, and power tools. And now, for scene three, Bezos has thrown himself into Web services. What does it mean? Just the start of a new framework for developing Web sites, including "utility computing" services that let you buy server time at a rate of 10 cents an hour. While we wait to find out how his newfangled grid computing strategies pan out, don't forget that Bezos will sell you a Barbie Fashion Fever Grow 'N Style Styling Head for 50 percent off.

Robert Scoble
Photograph: Thomas Hawk, Zooomr, Inc.
25. Robert Scoble
Vice president of media development, PodTech.net

You know a grassroots movement is a success when big business wants to join in. And for once, big business--namely Microsoft--did it right. This was largely due to Robert Scoble. At the time a Microsoft employee, he blogged about the company and revealed a human--and sometimes egg-covered--side of the Redmond empire. The glimpse into Microsoft's inner workings, cool technologies, and smart people shattered (or at least dented) the Microsoft stereotype. Microsoft blogs have subsequently become an integral part of the company's communication with users. In 2006 Scoble left Microsoft for PodTech.net, where his video podcast Scoble Show features interviews with geeks. Recent guests include PC World's editor in chief Harry McCracken, who stopped in to debate the eternal question: Mac or PC? Scoble has also interviewed 2008 presidential candidate John Edwards, whose outspoken bloggers got him into hot water.

Subscribe to the Power Tips Newsletter

Comments