With Steve Jobs at No. 1 — Natch — Techies Top CNBC’s Most Important Biz List of Last 25 Years
Benjamin Wachenje for CNBC
Earlier this week, CNBC put out its list of 25 people it determined “had the most profound impact on business and finance since 1989, the year CNBC went live.”
Said CNBC: “They have disrupted industries, sparked change and exercised an influence far beyond their own companies.”
Not surprisingly, perhaps, techies dominated the list, especially the top 10, taking up six of the spots. At No. 1, also not much of a surprise, is the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, followed at No. 2 by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. The Google we-are-not-evil-no-really twins — co-founders Larry Page (now CEO) and Sergey Brin — shared the No. 4 slot with former CEO and current executive chairman Eric Schmidt, followed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos at No. 5, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg at No. 8 and Oracle founder Larry Ellison at No. 10.
The first woman tech leader shows up at No. 18 — former eBay CEO and current Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman — with HTC founder Cher Wang at No. 22.
While there are a lot of important other tech names that could be included — I would add Mosaic browser co-creator and uber-VC Marc Andreessen — it’s pretty much the right bigs to pick.
Also big is my partner Walt Mossberg, who penned an essay on the impact of tech in the last 25 years for the CNBC report.
“Over the last quarter century, no industry has seen more dramatic change — and has had a bigger impact on consumers and businesses — than technology,” wrote Mossberg. “When you observe the nature of tech products and their role in our lives in 1989 and compare it to their design and impact today, it would seem more likely that 250 years has lapsed.”
Indeed, he added, “I don’t know what else will be common when CNBC is 50, but I am confident that the ingenuity of designers, dreamers and engineers will make 2039 as unrecognizable to its audience then as 1989 seems today.”
And, as No. 24 Martha Stewart — the media mogul who is also, by the way, a closet geek — would say: That’s a good thing.
Here is Mossberg talking about the tech dominance over the last quarter century:
(Full disclosure: Re/code has a news operating agreement with NBC News and has a minority investment from it.)