Darren Waters

Who's in, out and on the list...

  • Darren Waters
  • 23 Jan 08, 13:44 GMT

Last night I participated in an Intel event to pick the 45 most influential people in technology over the last 150 years.

Gathered to draw up the names were journalists from the BBC, PC Pro, The Inquirer, and Zdnet among others.

I can't give you the final list yet - as the scores are still being collated - but I can tell you a little bit about the process.

We were given a shortlist of 69 people and we had to score each person from one to 10 across five categories - Innovation, Ground-breaking technology, Industry success, Impact on society and Influence.

The first thing we did was automatically dump a number of short-listed names that we felt had no right to be on the list to begin with - so I'm afraid Richard Branson and Charles Dunstone were quickly excised.

There were also a lot of obvious absentees on the short-list - in part because Intel decided that the list be confined to ICT figures. So there was no Frank Whittle, inventor of the jet engine, for example.

I lobbied for two people I wanted, at the very least, to be up for discussion - Don Estridge, who led development of the IBM PC and Gordon Gould, inventor of the laser.

I'm pleased to say I managed to get both on the list.

The voting was a bit raucous - and we all gave individual scores after much baiting, shouting, laughing and disagreement.

Bill Gates didn't seem to be too popular with a few in the room - one hack, who shall remain nameless, felt Bill Gates' impact on society was negligible. Really?

Hopefully, I'll have the final 45 tomorrow and will post it on the blog for discussion. The journalists' individual scores, I'm told, will not be published...


  • 1.
  • At 02:25 PM on 23 Jan 2008,
  • James wrote:

Someone thought Bill Gates had no impact on society?

How can anyone say this, even the most anti-Microsoft/Bill Gates person would normally find it hard to deny the impact they have had on technology, whether or not you believe it is negative or not. Crazy.

In any case, looking forward to having a look at the list so I can hash out my opinion on it.

  • 2.
  • At 06:31 PM on 23 Jan 2008,
  • glyn wrote:

The person in question is probably one of those who thinks Bill Gates has had no impact yet Steve Jobs should be knighted.

  • 3.
  • At 07:34 PM on 23 Jan 2008,
  • Paul Kerton wrote:

To suggest that Bill Gates impact on the ICT industry is "negligible" is frankly absurd.

I would nominate Florence Nightingale, for her impact on Pie charts in Powerpoint presentations! :-)

  • 4.
  • At 09:12 AM on 24 Jan 2008,
  • Tom wrote:

I note that you mention "Impact on Society". With the recent announcement by the internet group known only as "Anonymous" that they have declared open season on the Cult of Scientology, and their epitomisation by certain american news sites (Fox News, for one) as a stereotype of internet anonymity and the affect it has on individuals, that they should garner a mention on your list? After all, they should be somewhere at least on the shortlist.

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