The 50 Most Important People on the Web

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Important People #36 through #40

Tim O'Reilly
Photograph: Courtesy of O'Reilly Media
36. Tim O'Reilly
Founder and CEO, O'Reilly Media

O'Reilly coined the phrase "Web 2.0," and he continues to cohost (with John Battelle--see #26) the industry's must-attend Web 2.0 Summit conference. The Harvard-educated publisher laid his foundation in computer manuals. (Many a computer enthusiast would immediately recognize the intricate black-and-white line drawings of animals that grace the covers of O'Reilly books.) But his company has grown to incorporate the new media--blogs, podcasts, and online news--he espouses.

Drew Curtis
37. Drew Curtis

Lewd, crude, and traffic-generating, invites its community of ad hoc commentators to participate in an ongoing brutal but frequently witty dissection of current news stories that sometimes turns into news itself. When the site recently greenlighted a news item under the descriptive headline "Anna Nicole Smith's condition downgraded to dead," Reuters and other international news outlets reported the crack. The enterprise is still primarily run by one guy: founder and smart-ass Drew Curtis. In January 2007, he launched FarkTV on the SuperDeluxe comedy video site. He is also scheduled to release a book titled It's Not News, It's Fark: How Mass Media Tries to Pass Off Crap as News in May 2007. (Yeah, but your media watchdog wants crap!)

Gabe Rivera
Photograph: Gabe Rivera
38. Gabe Rivera
Creator, Techmeme

Gabe Rivera has created a powerful content-analysis algorithm that scans traditional news media and blogs, identifies the important stories, and organizes them into easy-to-read clusters. His goal: to find the next big news story so that you don't have to. That's why influential bloggers, decision makers, and news junkies find his site Techmeme a must-read. Whereas Digg (see #32) ranks stories by vote, and Slashdot (see #44) does so by editorial opinion, the technology underlying Techmeme--and sister sites WeSmirch, Memeorandum, and Ballbug--may prove to be the most powerful way to harness the blogosphere's investigative power.

39. Dave Winer
Blogger and author of RSS 2.0

If you are wasting hours a day perusing podcasts, then you have Dave Winer to thank or blame (depending on your point of view). He was one of the inventors of podcasting--and one of the first bloggers. Winer started his Scripting News blog, which is still well read, back in 1997. He also co-authored the SOAP protocol, an instrumental element in operating-system-independent Web services. Nevertheless, his work on RSS--the technology behind Web content feeds--is what really earned him his fame. That, plus his ability to persuade the New York Times to use RSS and his work in amending it to support media files (giving birth to the podcast), makes him the father of modern-day content distribution.

Mike Schroepfer
40. Mike Schroepfer
Vice president of engineering, Mozilla

In the ongoing browser war, Mike Schroepfer is a five-star general who leads a massive but decentralized open-source army of staff and volunteer engineers. Its mission: to improve what is right now the best Web browser on the planet, Firefox. The open-source nature of Firefox permits a faster development cycle for incorporating new features and security fixes. The proof of its success is Internet Explorer 7's adoption of FireFox features such as tabbed browsing. See our recent comparative review, "Radically New IE 7 or Updated Mozilla Firefox 2--Which Browser Is Better?"

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