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Influencers in Academia, the Media and the Literary World

By John Jainschigg  |  Posted 2008-10-30 Print this article Print

From entrepreneurs and academics to CEOs and it Gurus, These influencers come from diverse backgrounds, but have one thing in common: they strive to use technology to improve the world.

Influencers in Academia, the Media and the Literary World

Peter Weill
MIT Sloan School of Management
Since 2000, Peter Weill has been director of the Center for Information Systems Research and senior research scientist at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He urges CIOs “to spend more time working with external customers, selling and delivering the firm’s products and services, while helping to increase the firm’s business process effectiveness.”
“In a study of more than 250 CIOs,” Weill says, “we found that CIOs spend an average of 44 percent of their time managing the provision of IT services and only 10 percent working with external customers. CEOs seeking growth want their CIOs to double that time and are sometimes giving their CIOs revenue targets and incentives. To free up time to focus on these high-impact areas, CIOs need to delegate more of the IT services work.”

Nicholas Carr
Nicholas Carr, formerly an executive editor at Harvard Business Review, is best known for his 2003 article for that journal titled, “IT Doesn’t Matter,” in which he argued that the strategic importance of IT in business is vanishing. His 2004 book Does IT Matter? elaborates on his ideas. Recently, Carr has tackled what he calls “Web 2.0 utopianism” and is reassessing the value of social media such as Wikipedia.

Thomas Friedman
The New York Times
A columnist for The New York Times, Thomas Friedman is best known for several seminal books on topics relating to globalization and the implications of borderless economy. His 2005 book, The World Is Flat, made Friedman prominent as an advocate of the inevitability of free trade and outsourcing.

Adrian Holovaty
While at World Online, Adrian Holovaty collaborated with colleagues Simon Willison, Jacob Kaplan-Moss and Wilson Miner to create the Django Web framework, a tool used for efficient Web site building. In 2005, he created Chicagocrime.org, a free database of crime information. Holovaty also founded EveryBlock, a network application for collecting and disseminating local news.

Walter Lewin
Walter Lewin is a proponent of technology in science education. For many years, he offered courses in physics on MIT cable television. His courses on MIT’s OpenCourseWare Web site are widely reposted on YouTube.

Andrew McAfee
Harvard Business School
Andrew McAfee, associate professor at Harvard Business School, is both a critic and a proponent of the business use of social networks, prediction markets and other contemporary Web tools.

F. Warren McFarlan
Harvard Business School
F. Warren McFarlan is T.J. Dermot Dunphy Baker Foundation professor of business administration and Albert H. Gordon professor of business administration, Emeritus, at Harvard Business School. The author of Connecting the Dots: Aligning Projects with Objectives in Unpredictable Times, he is a highly regarded scholar on the topic of innovation.

Walter Mossberg
The Wall Street Journal
Walt Mossberg is the principal technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He has written the “Personal Technology” column since 1991, and he also runs allthingsd.com, part of the WSJ Digital Network.

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