The Cyber Elite 50

Here’s a fascinating list of the top 50 cyber elite — the most influential titans of tech, and a great guide for how investors should put their money to work.

#1 is Bill Gates, and with good reason. Hasn’t he and his company done so much for internet technology? Of course he’s at the top of the list. Think of all the innovation  Microsoft is responsible for.

#2 is Nobuyuki Idei,  President and co-chief executive officer of Sony Corp. ‘Cause really,when you think of "Cyber," doesn’t Sony immediately pop into your mind?

#3 is Steve Case of AOL. ‘Nuff said.

Worldcon’s Bernie Ebbers is #11, GeoCities founder and chairman David Bohnett is #16, and
Lucent Technologies’ Chairman and CEO, Richard Mcginn is #18. Then there’s Eckhard Pfeiffer, Compaq’s CEO at #21.

Be sure to watch VC Ann Winblad at #22. Latest investments: "Keep an eye on, Liquid Audio and wedding services and information site, The Knot." Oh, and she once dated BIll Gates.

And yet — somehow — the guys at Google got overlooked in this list. (I wonder how that happened?). 

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am pulling your leg. I left out one small detail: The list is from Time Magazine’s 1998 most influential Cyber elites. The point I hope to make is just how caught up in the moment the financial press can get (btw,that’s a new category I am introducing with this post).

Magazines love lists, and while this might make entertaining reading, its a classic example  of exactly how dangerous it is to follow these sorts of rearward-looking junkets for investing ideas.

While the list as investing advice is laughable (Gerald Levin of Time Warner! Christos Cotsakos of E*Trade!), some of the quotes contained within are outright hysterical: The fawning over Eckhard Pfeiffer’s plans for Compaq. 

But this one is truly my favorite:

"WorldCom is here to stay."


The full 1998 list can be seen below:



Number 1: Bill Gates, Chairman and CEO, Microsoft Corp.


1 Bill Gates
2 Idei Nobuyuki
3 Steven Case
4 Craig Barrett
5 Louis Gerstner
6 Jerry Yang
7 Steve Jobs
8 Steve Ballmer
9 Nathan Myhrvold
10 Michael Dell
11 Bernie Ebbers
12 Paul Allen
13 Lawrence Ellison
14 Scott McNealy
15 Jeff Bezos
16 David Bohnett
17 Masayoshi Son
18 Richard McGinn
19 Rupert Murdoch
20 John Chambers
21 Eckhard Pfeiffer
22 Ann Winblad
23 Shoichiro Irimajiri
24 Shelley Day
25 Jay Walker
26 Roy Whitfield
27 Jake Winebaum
28 Yunjie Liu
29 Deb Triant
30 Richard Li
31 George Lucas
32 Joseph Nacchio
33 Michael Bloomberg
34 Gerald Levin
35 Christos Cotsakos
36 John Romero
37 Carl Rosendahl
38 Henning Kagermann
38 Hasso Plattner
39 Massive Attack
40 Mary Meeker
41 Maita Aki
42 Hong Lu
43 Scott Dikkers
44 Jonathan Ive
45 Charles Zhang
46 John Doerr
47 Kevin O’Connor
48 Alan Ramadan
49 Louis Carlos Mendonca
50 Walter Mossberg

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  1. Jon H commented on May 16

    I doubt this list was put together by anyone in Time’s rolodex of financial writers.

    I mean, Massive Attack? I like their music, but, come on, putting them on the list at all is a stretch, but ahead of John Doerr?

  2. Ken D’Ambrosio commented on Nov 29

    Okay, that was funny. It’s been


    I’m getting old. I was holding the year “1998” in my head, with the supposition that it wasn’t “that long ago.” It’s been SEVEN YEARS. I was about to make some mildly mocking comments about the fact that Linus was left off — when, in ’98 terms, damn few non-techies had ever heard of Linux. Sure, it was a movement, but it wasn’t one mainstream media would even borther with. D’oh!

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