Monday, May 4, 2009

5 Most Influential Entrepreneurs of the Past 30 years??

Inc. asked six "experts": Who are the five most interesting entrepreneurs of the past 30 years?

Most of them were not surprising and some were insightful. An example is Tom Peters' list:

Wendy Kopp, Teach for America

She built an enormous public-service organization from the ground up. She's a hell of a lot more entrepreneurial than 70 percent of people I lived around in Silicon Valley.

Taddy Blecher, CIDA City Campus
Suddenly, out of nowhere, he left the world of consulting and started a free thousand-person university for underprivileged students in South Africa.

The women recipients of microloans from Grameen Bank
The men who borrow from Grameen usually squander the proceeds. But the women have turned the process of borrowing and investing money into a larger effort of community development.

Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai

Dubai is going through a rough patch, but President Obama would love to have the sheik as an employee. He could get people building the next day.

Larry Janesky, Basement Systems
I love the notion that you can have a fabulous business based on cleaning mold out of basements. Larry has a saying, "You don't have to love what you do; you have to do what other people hate." He executes like a champ.

But Y Combinator's Paul Graham's list had me scratching my head. He listed Steve Jobs, TJ Rogers, and Larry & Sergey. Okay. And then he lists Paul Buchheit and Sam Altman? Paul is living in his own world. And it's a small one. First, Altman's Loopt isn't a success yet. Maybe it could become Y Combinator's poster boy, but please stop the crack and don't call Altman one of the most influential entrepreneurs of the past 30 years.

Second, Paul Buchheit's Friendfeed isn't out of the woods either. They're still following the yellow brick road and lost in Twitter Forest. While Buchheit was at Google I don't think Adsense was completely his. Many people try to take credit for its development including Marissa Mayers. Many people outside of Google don't know that Google bought a company that became the basis of Adsense so it's lame for anyone to take sole credit for it. Anyway, Paul Graham's list is lame. He's definitely lost some credibility here.

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