50 Who Make a Difference

By John Jainschigg  |  Posted 2008-10-30

The people portrayed in this article represent a diverse group selected by Baseline readers and editors for their contributions to the world of information technology. In some cases, those contributions have been made over the course of more than a generation; in other cases, in recent years.

Take, for example, Vint Cerf, co-designer of TCP/IP protocols and co-architect of the early Internet. With decades spent in the IT field, he continues to seek out new technologies and business models as Google’s vice president and chief Internet evangelist. Then there’s Adrian Holovaty, who is four decades younger than Cerf. He’s co-creator of the Django Web framework and CEO of EveryBlock, a network application for collecting and disseminating local news.

Let’s not forget Al Gore, who was derided for saying he “took the initiative in creating the Internet.” But Cerf and TCP/IP co-creator Bob Kahn said Gore did play a critical role in promoting the creation of a national information infrastructure.

Others who connect across time and space include Steve Jobs, who was kicked out of Apple, founded NeXT and later rejoined—and rejuvenated—Apple. Half a world away, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web and built the first-ever Web site on his desktop NeXTCube.

And consider the outstanding work done by CIOs such as FedEx’s Bob Carter—work that would not be possible without Cerf and Kahn’s protocols, Marc Andreessen’s browser core, Berners-Lee’s tagging system and Linus Torvalds’ code.

The world of information technology is one of innovation, leadership and collaboration, and the 50 individuals profiled in this article have played major roles in getting us where we are today—and they’ll no doubt help us get to where we want to be in the future.

Influencers in the Private Sector

David Barnes
As senior vice president and CIO for UPS Worldwide, David Barnes oversees one of the most powerful business process management/customer support integrations. “The successful global enterprise must increasingly deliver more personalized customer experiences,” Barnes says. “This requires a tightly integrated IT architecture that provides the customer with seamless interaction between customer-facing systems and the operational systems of the enterprise. Companies that do this well will continue to have a competitive advantage.”
Barnes has some advice for CIOs: “To be a successful, CIOs will need the skills and personal engagement to actively participate in the development of business strategy. The most effective CIOs will marry technical know-how with business acumen. They will develop, implement and articulate a plan that details how technology can best be used to realize business objectives.”

Robert Carter
Robert Carter is executive vice president of FedEx Information Services and CIO of FedEx Corp. He is responsible for setting technology direction, as well as manag-ing the corporation’s key applications and technology infrastructure, advanced networks and data centers that provide around-the-clock and around-the-world support. Carter joined FedEx in 1993 and has nearly 30 years of systems development and implementation experience.

Rollin Ford
Since 2006, Rollin Ford has been executive vice president and CIO for Wal-Mart Stores, overseeing the global information systems division and guiding the company’s IT and applications strategy and execution. Since joining Wal-Mart in 1983, Ford has worked his way up through the logistics organization, managing all aspects of the supply chain. Before assuming his current role, he was executive vice president of logistics and supply chain.

Gareth Lewis
At the end of 2007, Gareth Lewis was appointed group CIO at integrated energy company Centrica, ending his six years as the highly visible CIO of Virgin Group. At Virgin, Lewis helped establish several new businesses and implemented a large-scale outsourcing plan estimated to be saving Virgin on the order of $40 million per year.

Diane Offereins
Discover Financial Services
Since 1998, Diane Offereins has been CTO and executive vice president at Discover, where she oversees systems that support the 50-million-cardholder
Discover Card Services and the Discover Network, which serves more than 4,100 merchants.
Since 2006, she is also in charge of the PULSE network for electronic funds transfer and ATM services.

Tim Stanley
Harrah’s Entertainment
Tim Stanley is CIO and senior vice president of Innovation, Gaming & Technology for Harrah’s Entertainment. Managing Harrah’s global IT operation is just the cornerstone of Stanley’s job: He’s also in charge of Harrah’s gaming operations worldwide and heads teams that explore new business, next-gen gaming and other competitive applications of technology.

Ralph Szygenda
As group vice president and CIO of General Motors since 1996, Ralph Szygenda is responsible for global information technology strategy and plays a leadership role in GM’s business process transformation. Under his watch, $12 billion in cost was taken out of IT, and all applications and tools were standardized. Prior to joining GM, Szygenda was with Texas Instruments and Bell Atlantic.

Influencers in the Public Sector

Edward Markey
U.S. Representative
Serving in Congress since 1976, Edward Markey (D-Mass) is now chair of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, and he serves on other committees and subcommittees pertaining to technology, security and the environment. Markey is a defender of Net Neutrality, the principle that prevents Internet service providers from blocking or slowing down service based on its source, ownership or destination.
“Advanced high-speed broadband service is the indispensable infrastructure of the 21st century,” Markey says. “Our goal going forward must be to regain our status as a world leader in expanding access to broadband. The benefits of higher speeds, lower prices and more choices for broadband services will be greater economic opportunity, job creation, higher worker productivity, access to health care and educational resources, promotion of innovation and global competitiveness.”

Al Gore
Former Congressman, Senator and Vice President
Al Gore chaired the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology and championed the use of high-speed networking for education and economic advancement. His contributions to the creation of the Internet are acknowledged by technology pioneers like Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn. Support for technology remained at the forefront of Gore’s priorities during his two terms as vice president and his later presidential campaign. He now heads the climate change solutions group at venture firm Kleiner Perkins.

Elizabeth Hight
Defense Information Systems Agency
As the vice director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, Rear Admiral Elizabeth Hight is responsible for a worldwide organization that plans and provides global Net-centric solutions for the president and the military. Prior to assuming her current post in 2007, she was principal director of operations and deputy commander for the Joint Task Force Global Network Operations. There, Hight was responsible for providing command/control, communications and intelligence computing services to active military commands, and for directing operations and defense of the Global Information Grid.

Howard Schmidt
Former U.S. Cybersecurity Czar
Howard Schmidt headed the computer crime exploitation team at the FBI, and later became director of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations Computer Forensic Lab and Computer Crime and Information Warfare Division. He then served as Microsoft’s chief security officer (CSO). In 2001, President Bush appointed Schmidt special advisor for Cyberspace Security for the White House and vice chairman of the President’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Board. In 2003, he became chairman, until he retired in May of that year. After that, Schmidt became vice president and CSO for eBay. Currently, he is president of the Information Security Forum and a board member of (ISC)2.

Teri Takai
State of California
In 2003, Takai was appointed director of information technology for the state of Michigan. There, she led the governmentwide IT consolidation, which merged the state’s information technology into one centralized department, saving about $100 million in the process. Her reputation and accomplishments drew the attention of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who, in 2007, hired Takai as California’s first statewide cabinet-level CIO.

Influencers in the IT Community

Vint Cerf
As an assistant professor at Stanford University, Vinton Cerf and colleague Robert Kahn co-designed the TCP/IP protocols and the basic architecture of the Internet. Moving to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in 1976, Cerf played a key role in shaping the Internet. He remains involved, serving as chairman of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. In 1982, Cerf became a vice president at MCI, and, in 2005, he became Google’s chief Internet evangelist and vice president. Cerf is called the “Father of the Internet.”
“As more of the information critical to enterprise operations becomes accessible to search, analysis and data mining tools, enterprise operators may find that their ability to understand the dynamics of their business operations and to anticipate trends will improve significantly,” Cerf says. “These same tools will help customers discover products and services they need and, in many cases, can access through the global Internet.”

Tim Berners-Lee
World Wide Web Consortium
As a fellow at CERN (the European nuclear research agency), Tim Berners-Lee wrote the first World Wide Web server, httpd, and the first client, WorldWideWeb, a hypertext browser/editor that ran in the NeXTStep environment. The program was made available on the Internet in 1991.
In 1994, Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web Consortium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Since then, he has served as the director of the consortium, which coordinates worldwide Web development.

Charlene Li
Analyst and Writer
As a thought leader on social technologies, Charlene Li was, until recently, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. There, she focused on how new technologies influence the ways in which companies do business. Li now blogs at the AltimeterGroup.com. In 2008, she authored Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, published by Harvard Business Press.

Michael Moritz
Sequoia Capital
A former technology journalist, publisher, event producer and entrepreneur, Michael Moritz joined Sequoia Capital in 1986. He funded some of the Internet’s best-known companies, including PayPal, Google and YouTube. The 2004 Google IPO made him one of Wale’s richest men.

Nicholas Negroponte
One Laptop Per Child
In 1985, Nicholas Negroponte collaborated with colleague Jerome Weisner to form the MIT Media Lab, which he built into an international research powerhouse In the ensuing 15 years. Negroponte stepped down as Media Lab director in 2000 and later founded the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program, aimed at engineering and distributing a sub-$100, battery/handcrank-generator-powered, Wi-Fi-equipped personal computer for children, teachers and others who are on the ”have-not” side of the digital divide.

John Pescatore
John Pescatore is a vice president and research fellow in Gartner Research. He is Gartner’s lead analyst focusing on computer, network and Internet security.

Blake Ross
Mozilla Firefox
Blake Aaron Ross is a software developer best known for having started, with Dave Hyatt, the Mozilla Firefox project.

Linus Torvalds
Linux Foundation
As a computer-science student at the University of Helsinki, Linus Torvalds created what he called “a hobby operating system” aimed at bringing a fuller subset of Unix-like multitasking support to 386-based PCs. In 1991, he uploaded the first version of Linux source code. Five years later, Torvalds went to work for Transmeta, a semiconductor startup, while still overseeing Linux kernel development.
In 2003, Torvalds rededicated himself to evolving the Linux kernel under the auspices of the Open Systems Development Foundation, which later merged with the Free Standards Group to become the Linux Foundation.

Charles Weaver
Charles Weaver is co-founder and president of the MSPAlliance, a professional association of nearly 7,000 managed service providers worldwide. In addition to running the operational activities of the alliance, Weaver writes and speaks on the managed services industry.

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.

Influencers in the Vendor Community

Irving Wladawsky-Berger
IBM Academy of Technology
In his 37-year career with IBM, Irving Wladawsky-Berger was responsible for identifying emerging technologies and marketplace developments. As chairman emeritus of the IBM Academy of Technology, he is involved in a number of IBM’s technical strategy and innovation initiatives. In 2008, he became a strategic advisor to Citigroup.
When asked, “Where do you see IT going in the next five years,” Wladawsky-Berger replied: “As the physical world integrates IT capabilities, and as IT applications become more realistic, we will be increasingly living in a hybrid world, part physical and part virtual, with close connections between them. It’s important for CIOs to understand the IT changes that will influence their organizations and to get on the learning curve as early as possible, so their organizations can become comfortable with these changes and think how best to integrate them into the business.”

Tom Anderson
Tom Anderson founded MySpace with Chris DeWolfe, and now serves as president after the acquisition of MySpace by News Corp. As the “first friend” of every new MySpace user, Anderson now has more than 240 million friends.

Marc Andreessen
Marc Andreessen was a co-author of the original Mosaic browser and the founder of Netscape. Following Netscape’s acquisition by AOL in 1999, Andreessen became AOL’s CTO, but soon left to found Loudcloud, a high-availability hosting service. Today, Andreessen runs Ning, an engine that facilitates the creation of social networks.

J. Michael Arrington
Entrepreneur, blogger and Internet influencer J. Michael Arrington founded his first company, Achex, in the late 1990s.
After selling it to Western Union, he became involved with several other startups before founding blogging site TechCrunch, a source of analysis on Silicon Valley and related technology happenings.

Marc Benioff
Marc Benioff founded Salesforce.com in 1999, with a vision of providing salesforce management applications on demand to businesses at any scale. Salesforce’s success has made Benioff one of the leading visionaries of the on-demand software movement.

Jeffrey Bezos
In 1994, Jeff Bezos founded online-bookseller Amazon.com. Since then, Amazon has grown into a company that exemplifies the e-commerce paradigm: Its interests extend well beyond books and into durable goods, a variety of media, and diverse Web and computing services.

John Chambers
Cisco Systems
John Chambers is chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems. He joined Cisco in 1991 as senior vice president, after stints with Wang and IBM. Named CEO in 1995, he presided over the company’s stunning growth from $1.2 billion to more than $40 billion in annual revenues.

Larry Ellison
In 1977, Larry Ellison founded Oracle under the name Software Development Laboratories. It was renamed Relational Software, and became Oracle with the release of the Oracle 2 Relational Database in 1980. Oracle is now one of the largest suppliers of databases and diverse business applications.

Reid Hoffman
Reid Hoffman was the founder of SocialNet, one of the first social networks. In 2003, he founded LinkedIn, the largest business social network. Hoffman was CEO for four years before moving to his current position as chairman and president.

Michael Howard
The author of many books on computer security, notably Writing Secure Code, Michael Howard is senior security program manager at Microsoft.

Mark Hurd
Mark Hurd is chairman, CEO and president of Hewlett-Packard. He previously spent 25 years with NCR, where he rose to become CEO and drove the company to its most impressive profits.

Jonathan Paul Ive
Apple Computer
Jonathan Paul Ive is senior vice president, Industrial Design, at Apple. He is the principal designer of the iMac, Powerbook G4, iPod and iPhone.

Steve Jobs
Apple Computer
The co-founder of Apple Computer, Steve Jobs, also founded NeXT Computer, creating the machine that hosted the world’s first Web site at CERN. When Apple acquired NeXT in 1997, Jobs returned to lead the company. Since then, he has made Apple one of the most profitable companies in the world, building its market share in personal computing and introducing the iPod and the iPhone.

Ray Ozzie
The creator of Lotus Notes, Ray Ozzie is now Microsoft’s chief software architect. He has articulated a go-forward strategy for Microsoft technology that aims to integrate and merge the company’s products onto the Internet in ambitious ways, including providing software as a service.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin
Larry Page and Sergey Brin met in the doctoral program at Stanford, where Page built the BackRub Web crawler and then converted BackRub data into influence measurements. Page and Brin wrote the PageRank algorithm, which remains the core of Google’s proprietary technology. On leave from graduate school, the pair founded Google in 1998.

Sam Palmisano
After joining IBM in the late 1970s, Sam Palmisano, currently chairman, president and CEO, held positions of ascending importance, focusing on outsourcing and services. He became IBM’s CEO in 2002. Palmisano has been credited with shifting IBM’s focus away from hardware and software to a more profitable service orientation.

Eric Schmidt
Eric Schmidt began his career as an engineer at Bell Labs, Zilog and Xerox PARC. Later, at Sun Microsystems, he headed the initiative that created Java, eventually becoming CTO. In 1997, Schmidt was appointed CEO of Novell. He was recruited to lead Google in 2001 and now shares responsibilities with founders Page and Brin.

Jonathan Schwartz
Sun Microsystems
Jonathan Schwartz began his career as a business analyst at McKinsey, but changed direction in 1987 when he founded marketing consultancy Lighthouse Design. Sun purchased Lighthouse in 1996, and Schwartz became director of product marketing for JavaSoft. In 2004, he became president and chief operating officer, and, in 2006, he replaced Scott McNealy as CEO.

Jimmy Wales
Jimmy Wales co-founded the Wikipedia open-content encyclopedia in 2001, and shepherded its subsequent growth into one of the world’s most consulted sources of information. He is the president of Wikia, a privately owned free Web hosting service.

Mark Zuckerberg
While at Harvard, Mark Zuckerberg launched the social networking Web site Facebook with fellow students Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. Now 24 and CEO of Facebook, he is one of the youngest of the new generation of Internet billionaires.