The Babe Ruth of Silicon Valley, and others in my top silicon valley people of 2005

2005 top Silicon Valley people
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor

There were many people this year that stood out. Here is a continuation of my prior people list. Again, in no order of importance, just my recollection at this moment :-)

-Jim Buckmaster, CEO of Craigslist. He's made "think local, act global" into a reality. There is now a Craigslist on nearly every community corner around the world (catty corner to every Starbucks!)

Craigslist provides a heck of a lot of value while monetizing just a tiny fraction of its traffic. And that creates a tremendous amount of customer loyalty. Craigslist is very much a new rules enterprise.

-Greg Gianforte, CEO of RightNow Technologies. Greg spends a lot of time in Silicon Valley even though his thriving CRM software-as-a-service company is headquartered in Bozeman, Montana.

Greg loves to build companies and offer advice. In fact, his column on why startups should not take VC money, is simply superb. People should read it every day.

BTW, Geoffrey Moore, of Chasm fame, promised to refute every single point in Greg's VC column. It hasn't arrived yet, so maybe the blogosphere will deliver this reminder to Mr Moore :-)

-Network Appliance CEO Dan Warmenhoven and co-founder Dave Hitz. They make a good double act and excellent company. Their Silicon Valley anecdotes are great, and so is their positioning of the company alongside a very solid view into the IT industry.

This is a company that knows where it is going. If they are right about the location of the meta control/choke point (the data) then NetApp might very well be the next Cisco.

-Irving Wladawsky-Berger, chief strategist at IBM and one of its most influential thinkers and leaders. We caught up recently, and swapped notes on a lot of things, including blogging.

Irving continues to be huge champion of open source, open standards, and industry standard hardware platforms. IBM's support for Linux and its legal defense of the open source movement is a direct result of Irving's work.

-Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer. Okay, this is the ONE person on these lists I didn't get to meet in 2005 and it is probably ten years since the last time we met, but you've got to hand it to Steve Jobs; he has hit more out of the ball park in the past few years than anyone else in the industry.

Steve Jobs is the Babe Ruth of Silicon Valley. Let's see if Bill Gates can reinvent Microsoft, the way Steve Jobs has done at Apple--many times over. Then there is Pixar--a movie studio without a single dud movie.

I've said this before and I'll say it again: Bill Gates, you are no Steve Jobs...but then again, maybe you are?  :-)

-Larry Ellison-CEO of Oracle. Okay, this is just one of TWO people on these lists that I didn't meet with in 2005, and it's probably a couple of years since we last met.

Larry Ellison is notable because I'm still amazed at how he managed to roll up a massive chunk of the enterprise software sector. And he did it so quickly. A strong legal team certainly helps.

But what if the enterprise software market goes away? The software-as-a-service contingent is one threat, another is the roll-your-own brigade such as Jotspot.

The other threat is that the enterprises, the customer base itself, goes away, victims of what I call New Rules Enterprises.

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