If you’re in your late teens or older, you probably know how dramatically the Web hosting industry has changed since the dawn of the twenty-first century (a mere eight years ago). Web 2.0 was born, and it spawned children named Tweets, Apps and Blogs. Broadband crawled the globe, and wireless continues to expand. Open source software and content now has equal respect, if not equal footing, with proprietary holdings. All these changes and more have altered Web hosting’s face as users become more involved with actual creation of interface and content.
But, who are the folks behind these dramatic changes? Who started hi5 Networks, one of the world’s largest social networks today? Who’s helping Dell become more environmentally friendly, and who’s the person behind Google’s financial success? We’ll tell you about these people and more, through the 25 most influential people in the Web hosting industry listed below.
There are, literally, hundreds of influential people in and around the Web hosting industry today, but we scoured the Web to find the most visible and remarkable people who are active in speaking engagements and/or in creative and substantial contributions to society as well as to their work. We looked to the most well-known and publicized companies like Cisco, Twitter and Facebook to discover who represented a driving force behind those companies. Below you will find owners, founders and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) and Engineers, and the Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) who are behind the Internet’s most innovative, productive, and astounding growth in Web hosting to users today.
Although the entries listed below are numbered, this does not mean that we value any one individual or company over another.
Some of the following owners, founders and CEOs also wear many hats. Some serve as presidents of their companies, others are CTOs and others hide away in college labs s they continue to create and test new concepts. Some have sold their businesses and have moved on to other jobs. But, no matter what they do today, they have created companies and run businesses that have had a major impact on how the Web hosts its plethora of information.
- Akash Garg: Garg is a co-founder of hi5 Networks, Inc. with Ramu Yalamanchi, and he is the company’s Chief Technology Officer. He helped launched hi5 Networks in 2003, and it is now one of the world’s largest social networks, ranked as a top twenty website globally and the number one social network in twenty-six countries across Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa. More than 80 million individuals in over 200 nations are registered for hi5, which is currently available in 23 languages. The company remains private, and Akash oversees its technology infrastructure and software development, has guided the design and implementation of a highly scalable, highly available platform using a combination of open source and homegrown technologies on low-cost Linux machines, and originally developed the core product concepts and underlying technology that has helped to fuel the rapid growth of the site and its services. hi5 Networks is a key member of Google’s Open Social platform alliance. Akash gained his entrepreneurial spirit at Reactivity ( acquired by Cisco in 2007) as he assisted early-stage startups with technology strategy and direction, as well as architecting and implementing key portions of Reactivity’s flagship product. He graduated with a B.S. and M.S. in computer science from Stanford University.
- Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield: This husband and wife team founded Flickr, a Web 2.0 photo app, in February 2004 after three months of incubation. Caterina and Stewart started Flickr with seed money from family, friends and angel investors, and within thirteen months it blossomed so rapidly that Yahoo! took notice and purchased it for nearly $30 million in March 2005. This couple brought a new meaning to the words, “start-up,” and hope to those who had lost faith in the Internet as a tool for monetization after the dot-com boom and bust. Additionally, they brought a new face to the Web with their “2.0″ community-building photography applications that were an immediate global hit. Butterfield now serves as a Director of Product Management at Yahoo! Caterina currently sits on the board of Etsy, and she runs the Technology Development group at Yahoo!, known for its Hack Yahoo! program, and Brickhouse, a rapid development environment for new products.
- Damian Black: Mr. Black began his career with HPLabs Europe over twenty-four years ago, where he ran a Europe-wide software and services business unit specializing in Corba/DCE development tools and in object/expert systems technology. Upon moving to the U.S. in 1996, Black pioneered a new market category called IP Mediation, software to process Internet service data in real-time for the telecom marketplace. He then joined XACCT, where as VP Product Management he helped XACCT achieve market leadership in IP Mediation to the point where the company was acquired by Amdocs in 2004. Damian was also VP Business Development and VP Americas Sales for Followap, market leader in real-time Presence servers and mobile messaging (now part of NeuStar, Inc.). Currently, Mr. Black serves as President and CEO of SQLstream, a company that was formed in December 2002 to provide customers with a better way to integrate applications and data. Their Relational Asynchronous Messaging (RAM) and patented middleware implementing RAM, called SQLstream, uses SQL to specify all data integration logic declaratively. Although SQLstream is a private company, their revolutionary technology has grasped investors’ imaginations. SQLstream’s RAMMS (RAM Management System) and related solutions are currently being bid on multi-million dollar data integration projects by large publicly traded Systems Integrators.
- Danny Kolke: Danny Kolke founded Etelos in May 1999 and, in the process, revolutionized the way Web-based applications are developed, distributed and consumed to empower organizations to use Web-based applications to achieve their goals.The underlying concepts are embodied in the platform through the Etelos Application Server (EAS), English Application Scripting Engine (EASE), Apps on a Plane (AOP) and the Etelos Marketplace as well as other products such as Etelos CRM ™ for Google Apps and Etelos Server for Google Apps. He also serves as this company’s CTO. In addition to frequent speaking engagements, Kolke is a regular contributor to industry publications on CRM, healthcare and the small business market. He is the managing editor of Etelos Developer Magazine, which is published to 15,000 web-development firms across the U.S. and Canada. He also is an accomplished and published jazz pianist and artist.
- Dr. Mendel Rosenblum: Dr. Rosenblum is the co-founder and Chief Scientist of VMWare, a global leader in virtualization solutions from the desktop to the data center that was formed in 1998 and sold to EMC in 2003. The other co-founders were his wife, two graduate students and a friend from Berkeley. What the observer may not know is that this group revived virtualization on the Intel platform, making this power affordable beyond the mainframe. With VMWare, virtualized servers can be moved from one machine to another like files, delivering capacity on demand, aiding in disaster recovery and simplifying software migrations and maintenance. With 2007 revenues of $1.33 billion, more than 100,000 customers, nearly 14,000 partners and over 6,000 employees, VMware is one of the fastest-growing public software companies. Rosenblum is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University, where he leads a group focused on operating systems research. Together with his students, he developed the Hive operating system, the SimOS machine simulator and the Disco virtual machine monitor. In 2002, he received the ACM SIGOPS Mark Weiser Award for his creativity, innovation and vision in operating systems research. He holds a doctorate and master’s degree in computer science from the University of California at Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Virginia.
- Jack Dorsey: Jack Dorsey is Twitter‘s CEO and co-founder along with Biz Stone, Evan Williams, and possibly a few other people. But, according to Stone, Dorsey was the one with the idea for their free service for people to communicate through the exchange of quick and short (140 words or less [PDF]) answers to the question, “What are you doing?” According to Stone, Dorsey grew up in St. Louis and became obsessed with dispatch routing at age fourteen. He wrote open source software for dispatching, which still is used by many taxi cab companies today. From this idea, he wondered if a service could be built from instant messaging. He went to Obvious (home to Twitter and Odeo), and Odeo built a prototype in two weeks and “everyone started using it” in May 2006. Never expecting Twitter to take off like it did, this company continues to dumbfound many experts who wonder how Twitter stays alive both financially and technically. Using Ruby on Rails at Joyent, this company scaled exponentially with complaints about downtime gathering steam in 2007 (A recent 2008 report at Royal Pingdom shows Twitter takes the top spot for downtime, but — c’mon folks — a free service with 98+ percent uptime?). But, it appears that Twitter moved from Joyent to at NTT America, a move that was announced on May 7 this year. Still, onlookers and the media are drawn to the Twitter turmoil that continues to plague this start-up. You can follow Jack’s Tweet’s (a Twitter posting) and visit his Web site. Both tools provide heavy clues as to the unconventional demeanor of this company’s co-founder and CEO. If this isn’t an influence, what is? It’s a whole new way to communicate.
- James Q. Crowe: Think of the largest communications and Internet backbones in the world, and you might think about Level 3 Communications, Inc. Level 3 offers integrated, flexible and reliable communications services to national and global service providers as well as Federal government agencies. They just launched a global content delivery platform that helps companies deliver content more effectively, and eighteen of the world’s top twenty telecom carriers rely on this company for its global fiber network to deliver end-to-end communications solutions. Shortly before Mr. Crowe came on board with this company, he served as chairman of WorldCom following its $14.3 billion merger with MFS Communications Company (MFS) in 1996. Mr. Crowe founded MFS and served as its President and CEO from the time he took this company public in 1992 to the merger date, when he served as Chairman of the Board of WorldCom from January 1997 until July 1997. Mr. Crowe then assumed leadership as President and CEO of Level 3 in 1997, when it was a diverse group of companies. He then reshaped these holdings into a single company centrally focused on communications and information services. In 2005, Mr. Crowe won an election citation from the National Academy of Engineering for contributions to the development and deployment of Internet-based communication technologies and services.
- Jimmy “Jimbo” Wales: Wales was instrumental in creating Wikipedia, a free open content encyclopedia and the largest encyclopedia in the world, in 2001. This project paved the way for Web creativity, collaboration and sharing among users. Wales became Wikipedia’s spokesperson and the face of this project, a role that caused Time magazine to name him to its 2006 list of the world’s most influential people and to its 2008 online 100 Finalists in the world’s most influential people. But, Wales public role and the public nature of his wiki creations has caused sensation and controversy between Wales and his critics. With that said, this project ws so large that it had colleges revisiting how individuals used citations and reference materials for their research projects.
- Mena Grabowski Trott: Yes, WordPress is an incredible open source application for bloggers, but Mena Trott has a huge place in the story about their competition. She and her husband, Benjamin Trott, started Six Apart during a period of unemployment in 2001. That business and her blog, dollarshort.org, provided the impetus for the creation of the Movable Type publishing platform, TypePad weblogging service and, after an acquisition in January 2005, LiveJournal, an online community organized around personal journals. Named one of Fast Company’s “Fast 50 for 2004” and PC Magazine’s “People of the Year” for 2004, Mena speaks regularly at industry conferences such as Supernova, AdTech, DEMO 2004 and The Wall Street Journal’s “D: All Things Digital.” Mena can be found writing about weblogging and Six Apart at Mena’s Corner.
- Tony Lucas: Mr. Lucas founded XCalibre Communications Ltd., a managed hosting company located in the U.K., while still a student at college in 1997. He quietly built this business for a decade until he made a splash with his computing infrastructure, FlexiScale, at the Future of Web Apps (FoWA) expo in London on October 3, 2007. Flexiscale is a pay-as-you-go storage and bandwidth solution, where high quality low contention virtual dedicated servers provide customers with instant provisioning and automatic scaling – and that competes directly with Amazon EC2. Lucas has described himself as an entrepreneurial evangelist who is “more interested in doing something disruptive and exciting that helps business than in chasing money,” and the idea for FlexiScale came to him in 2004 when his customers’ Web sites were spiking in traffic and dropping out of site in the process. Within one week following FoWA, customers fulfilled FlexiScale’s initial server build out, and the demand for this service continues to grow. According to the FlexiScale blog, XCalibre’s business grew from a traditional Web hosting service in the U.K. to an international company from October 2007 to March 2008, and this expansion has shoved Lucas into the limelight as he travels throughout Europe and the U.S. to promote his new product.
The following influential people have driven the machines, the software and the technology behind Web hosting, the Internet, and user-experience on the Web today. While this is no means a “end-all” list of influential CTOs and Web engineers, it’s a list filled with individuals who we feel are in touch with the current market trends and conditions. Many of the following ‘techies’ speak at public events, are inventors and have contributed significantly to their fields of hardware and software and to the general public with their intellect and creativity.
- Adam D’Angelo: Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz started the social networking site, Facebook, from their dorm room in 2004. But, Adam D’Angelo – as Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Facebook – is responsible for keeping Facebook up and running. Mr. D’Angelo attended high school with Zuckerberg and moved to Palo Alto to help him relaunch Thefacebook.com as Facebook. Now, he leads the Platform Development and Data teams and oversees new product design and architecture. In addition, he guides the site’s infrastructure to ensure expansion and scalability. Previously, Mr. D’Angelo worked as Facebook’s Director of Data Mining and Distributed Systems for ad targeting, collaborative filtering and spam detection. In 2005, Mr. D’Angelo was named one of the top 24 finalists in the international Topcoder Collegiate Challenge, a battle that pits some of the world’s top international collegiate coders against each other to determine their ability to design and implement complex algorithms in a timed environment. Mr. D’Angelo holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the California Institute of Technology.
- Christophe Bisciglia: Bisciglia probably has the most recognizable face in the Google-sphere, with his long wavy hair, his lean and angular build, and a smile that could melt an iceberg. He’s become a poster boy for his employer since his idea to teach cloud-computing to students at his alma mater, the University of Washington, was initiated in 2007. Now, Carnegie Mellon, MIT, and Tsinghua University in Beijing have picked up on the idea, offering similar classes to their students, and Bisciglia has since worked out comparable deals with Berkeley and Stanford.What gives Bisciglia the authority to teach Google’s Academic Cloud Computing Initiative (ACCI)? Four years at Google and his current position as Senior Software Engineer is one answer. Additionally, he holds multiple patents related to search quality and has co-authored an academic paper on undergraduate distributed computing education. Most recently he worked with the National Science Foundation to extend access to the ACCI to the broader research community. Bisciglia, who was born in 1980, earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science at the University of Washington.
- Dr. Albert A. Esser [PDF]: Dr. Esser is Dell‘s Vice President for data center infrastructure, where he is responsible for enhancing Dell’s enterprise-class IT solutions by sharing insights gained from customers with the company’s Server, Storage, Data Center Solutions and Services teams. Although only with Dell since September 2007, Dr. Esser already has created an impact on Dell’s movement toward a greener environment through energy-efficient improvements in data centers. Prior to Dell, Albert was the CTO and Vice President of Technology at Emerson Network Power, where he was responsible for Global Product Roadmap and Technology Development. He has been honored with many awards, among them the GE 6 Sigma Certified Master Black Belt, GE’s Whiteney Award, and GE’s Dushman Award. He is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Wisconsin and holds a position on the Advisory Council at the University of Minnesota. His degrees include a Diplom Electrical Engineer from the University of Aachen, Germany, and a Dr.-Ing. Electrical Engineering from the University of Aachen. He holds 13 U.S. patents.
- Dr. Werner Vogels: The link for Dr. Vogels will take you to his blog, “All Things Distributed.” This is a fitting title for a blog written by theVice President and Chief Technology Officer at Amazon.com. Dr. Vogel is responsible for driving the company’s technology vision, which is to continuously enhance the innovation on behalf of Amazon’s customers at a global scale. He joined Amazon in September of 2004 as the Director of Systems Research, then was named Chief Technology Officer in January of 2005 and Vice President, World-wide Architecture in March of that year. Over the past years, Vogels has helped Amazon grow from one of the largest online retailers with more than 55 million active customer accounts into a platform on which more than one million active retail partners worldwide do business. Dr. Vogels once was a research scientist at Cornell University, where he was a principal investigator in several research projects that targeted the scalability and robustness of mission-critical enterprise computing systems. Dr. Vogels holds a Ph.D. from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and has authored close to 80 articles for journals and conferences, most of them on distributed systems technologies for enterprise computing. He is the only executive apart from Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos to speak publicly on behalf of Amazon.com.
- Greg M. Papadopoulos: Sun Microsystems introduces their Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of Research and Development with the heading, “Not only an innovator and a visionary, but a rocket scientist too.” Mr. Papadopoulos directs the company’s approximate $2B in R&D portfolio and manages Sun’s technology decisions and architecture. His team leads Sun Labs, the DARPA High Performance Computing System program, global engineering architecture and advanced development programs, and he is the creator and lead proponent for Redshift, a theory on whether technology markets are over or under-served by Moore’s Law. Before joining Sun in 1994, Papadopoulos was senior architect and director of product strategy for Thinking Machines, where he led the design of the CM6 massively parallel supercomputer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in systems science from the University of California at San Diego, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT. Papadopoulos was an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, and he also worked as a development engineer at Hewlett-Packard and Honeywell, where he designed flight-control systems for Boeing jetliners. He co-founded three companies: PictureTel (video conferencing), Ergo (high-end PCs) and Exa Corporation (computational fluid dynamics). He is chairman of the board for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, and as a member of the President’s Board on Science and Innovation at the University of California.
- Harald Prokop: Prior to joining Akamai in 1999, Mr. Prokop worked on high-performance and parallel computing at the MIT laboratory for Computer Science. His master’s thesis, “Cache-Oblivious Algorithms,” resulted in an active new research branch of algorithm theory that includes the efficient use of memory hierarchies. From that point, Mr. Prokop joined Akamai as one of this company’s first engineers, and has held various leadership roles within Akamai’s Engineering department. Along the way, he became one of the architects of Akamai’s proprietary system for Internet performance measurement and traffic management, a key component of the company’s services. He designed the development and testing process that brings Akamai services to market. In 2004, he received Akamai’s highest employee recognition, the Daniel Lewin Award, for his outstanding technical contributions to the company. Currently, Mr. Prokop serves as Senior Vice President of Engineering at Akamai. He manages the company’s engineering efforts and is responsible for building the services that run on Akamai’s globally distributed computing platform.
- Padmasree Warrior: Working Woman magazine honored Warrior with its “Women Elevating Science and Technology” award in 2001, when she was an employee at Motorola, Inc. Two years later, in 2003, Warrior became Motorola’s CTO and that company’s first female executive vice president. On December 4, 2007 she left Motorola to become CTO at Cisco Systems, where she coined the term, “Platform Disturbia,” an “anecdotal way of describing the fragmentation in the mobile industry [that] can be a great opportunity for developers, but brings with it significant challenges.” In February 2008, Warrior was named by Pink Magazine as one of the top 15 most influential women driving innovation (and revenue) in corporate America. Warrior received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. She holds masters in chemical engineering from Cornell University and serves as an advisory board member at both schools. In 2007 she was honored to receive Doctor of Engineering, Honoris Causa from New York’s Polytechnic University.
- Patrick J. Kerpan: This link will take you to Kerpan’s blog, where he writes about “thoughts on software – especially trends that are driving the world of Open Development.” Kerpan is Chief Technology Officer for Cohesive Flexible Technologies (CohesiveFT), the provider for Elastic Server On-Demand that enables customers to build and manage applications for virtualized infrastructure. In this role, Kerpan is responsible for directing product and technology strategy. Kerpan was one of CohesiveFT’s founders in 2006. Previous to his role at CohesiveFT, Kerpan founded Bedouin Inc. until its acquisition by Borland, Inc. in 2000. He then served as Borland’s former CTO and General Manger of one of that company’s most successful business units. Borland’s acquisition of Bedouin Inc. led to the growth of ALM products in the Borland portfolio, including Kerpan’s lead in the acquisition of the public company Starbase. Before Bedouin, Inc., Kerpan was managing director of derivatives technology for Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, responsible for derivatives technology worldwide. Before that, he served as executive director of financial engineering for Swiss Bank Corporation, where he was responsible for developing global portfolio management and risk analysis systems. Kerpan also served as lead developer for O’Connor and Associates artificial intelligence group.
- Steve Chen: Chen currently is CTO of YouTube, a video-sharing site owned by Google and one that he helped co-found in 2005. Before YouTube, Steve worked at PayPal, where he met Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim. Chen moved on to work at Facebook, but left that position when he and Hurley and Karim launched YouTube. They created and fostered a community around sharing video and in the process unleashed a revolutionary platform for creative expression. One year later, Chen was named one of the “50 people who matter now” in business by Business 2.0. Just months later, on October 16, 2006, Chen and Hurley sold YouTube to Google, Inc. for $1.65 billion. Chen also received 625,366 shares of Google and an additional 68,721 shares in a trust as part of the sale. Chen is a graduate of the Illinois Math and Science Academy and college at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) may spell “sales” to many people; but in the Web and Internet industry those CMOs may surprise many people with the many hats they wear. Take Dr. Schrader below, for instance, who can practice teaching computers to discern human emotion, yet who also can lend his expertise to Teradata’s marketing division. And, then there’s Seth Godin, who seemed to come out of nowhere to take the marketing world by storm with his “Purple Cow (the remarkable product).” This category, while slim, holds little boredom.
- Dr. David K. Schrader: Dr. Dave Schrader, lead Strategist and one of the Marketing Directors for the Teradata Applications Solutions group, started his career with a PhD in hand from Purdue University in 1983. He made his mark early at Servio Corporation as the Engineering Manager for the GemStone object-oriented database product (now business), then traveled to a large but now defunct industry giant, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). He then dove into another startup (Teradata), which was acquired by NCR, part of the AT&T conglomerate. He now focuses on market micro-segmentations, preliminary business plans, briefings for early adopting customers, identification of new application business opportunities and speeches at MBA programs nationwide. He has been instrumental in the development of several of Teradata’s offers, and was the marketing liaison for the Teradata-BroadVision relationship to foster Moment-to-Moment Marketing. Dr. Schrader also was responsible for the Active Enterprise Intelligence initiative, intended to help customers derive more value from their Enterprise Data Warehouses by writing new applications and applets for front-line employees and systems. He is a trustee of the Marketing Sciences Institute, and is a board member of TierFleet, a data appliance startup company, and has published several technical papers and holds 2 patents. Finally, in an attempt to give consumers a better banking experience, Schrader is teaching ATMs to discern emotions.
- Geva Perry: This link will take you to Geva Perry’s blog, where he writes about “cloud computing, grids, middleware, everything-as-a-service and more.” As Chief Marketing Officer at GigaSpaces Technologies, Geva Perry is responsible for all marketing and business development activities at GigaSpaces, including strategy and positioning, product marketing, corporate marketing and strategic alliances. His first mission when hired by GigaSpace in 2004 was to take this company’s linear scalability to the “guys with the most pain” on Wall Street, where very millisecond shaved from latency issues made a difference. GigaSpaces walked off with six of the top ten U.S. investment banks as customers, as well as large exchanges such as NYSE and CME, and large European banks such as Monte Paschi, Societe Generale and Commerzbank among others. Perry’s experiences include his role as Chief Operating Officer at SeeRun, a developer of real-time business activity monitoring software, co-founder and general partner of Synergy Ventures, a New York-based venture capital fund focused on enterprise software start-ups, and employment at Earthweb, an online publisher of content for the developer community, before, during and after its highly successful IPO in 1998. Geva received a bachelor’s degree from Hebrew University. He holds an MS from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
- Lew Moorman: As Senior Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development at Rackspace Managed Hosting, Lew Moorman is instrumental in driving strategic planning, product development and new business initiatives. Moorman joined Rackspace – a provider of advanced Linux-based Internet hosting services targeted to small- to medium-sized enterprises worldwide – in 2000, one year after its initial launch, and has served a variety of strategy and marketing roles throughout the company’s expansion. Although Moorman recognizes that uptime is valuable to clients, he’s a firm believer in customer service. Moorman’s strategy is to provide quality technical service 24/7 through highly qualified technicians, which means that Rackspace has cut the cord on their voicemail. Rackspace always has been a strong Linux and NT shop, but Moorman plans to expand into Sun Microsystem offerings. Before joining Rackspace, Moorman held several positions at the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, advising a variety of high technology clients on critical strategic issues. Moorman received a B.A. from Duke University and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.
- Omid Kordestani: Just about any Google-aholic can rattle off the names of Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. some even can tell you the name of Google’s Senior Vice President of Engineering, Bill Coughran, Jr. But, few can admit to knowing Omid Kordestani, Google’s Senior Vice President of Global Sales & Business Development. Omid works behind the scenes to generate worldwide revenue as well as the cash needed for day-to-day operations of the company’s sales organization. As Google’s “business founder,” Omid led the development and implementation of the company’s initial business model. Since joining in May of 1999, he has brought Google to profitability in record time, generating more than $10 billion in revenue in 2006. Previous to Google, Omid held key positions at several start-ups including Internet pioneer Netscape Communications. He grew Netscape’s online revenue from an annual run-rate of $88 million to more than $200 million in 18 months. Prior to Netscape, he held positions in marketing, product management, and business development at The 3DO Company, Go Corporation and Hewlett-Packard. Omid received an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from San Jose State University (where he gave the commencement address in 2007). Kordestani was named one of Time‘s “100 People who shape our world” in the May 8, 2006 issue. Forbes also listed him as one of America’s 400 richest Americans in 2006.
- Seth Godin: It takes some guts to call yourself an “agent of change,” but Godin has managed to pull it off thus far. An author of ten best-selling books, Godin focuses on how people can change the way that people think about marketing, change and work.Seth recently was chosen as one of “21 Speakers for the Next Century” by Successful Meetings, and he has become a popular speaker at many Web-based companies. He previously was founder and CEO of Yoyodyne, the industry’s leading interactive direct marketing company, which Yahoo! acquired in late 1998. As a part of the sale to Yahoo!, Godin became their Vice-President of Permission Marketing. For a period of time, Godin served as a columnist for Fast Company and in late 2005, Godin founded the “recommendation network” website Squidoo. He holds an MBA from Stanford University, and was called “the Ultimate Entrepreneur for the Information Age” by Business Week.