Monday, March 5, 2007

50 Most Important People on the Web?

PC World has a list of the "50 Most Important People on The Web." Yes, we all know that these lists are marketing gimmicks and not serious attempts at analysis and measurement of influence. Still, it's a lot of fun to go through them. This list is interesting because it contained names I had never heard of before and because it has informative blurbs against each entry. While there will be endless quibbling about the choices in this list, there was one stark reality that leapt out at me: the lack of non-US spots on the list. I could count only five:
  • #13 Henry Chon, CEO of Cyworld. The Korean site that inspired MySpace.
  • #15 Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, the creators of Kazaa, Skype and now Joost.
  • #20 Jack Ma, COO of Business to business portal and control of Yahoo! China.
  • #43 Mikko H. Hypponen, F-Secure. Finnish security maven.
  • #48 Mohammed and Omar Fadhil, Iraqi bloggers. Writing about the situation in Iraq from the ground in Baghdad.
There's no question that the vast majority of content, as well as underlying infrastructure and tools, come from the United States. Even so, just 10% of the total list representing the world outside of the US seems like a very low number to me. Keep in mind that the US accounts for about 20% of all internet users and is growing slower than every other region in the world.

I'm sure the compilers of the list had no plan to consciously exclude, but I really hope to see this number increase over time.