Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Apple's Jobs Tops BoomTown's 10 Most Fascinating Techies in 2010 Survey

Of course, he won.

Dominating tech’s mindshare and press coverage in 2010, Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs also handily took the No. 1 slot of a reader poll conducted by BoomTown in the last days of year.

Jobs–who introduced a range of innovative products, such as the iPad, over the course of the 2010–garnered just over 30 percent of the votes for the question that asked: “Who are the 10 Most Interesting People in Tech in 2010.”

Among the reasons he was selected, from comments posted by those who took the survey:

“With the iPad, he’s re-inventing the personal computer. Again.”

“Because he never stops.”

And my favorite: “Because if he had to be dictator of the world, he’d actually take doing a good job of it seriously.”

And, despite not acing him out for Time magazine’s “Person of the Year,” WikiLeaks head Julian Assange got 16.3 percent for the No. 2 spot, followed by Facebook’s co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg at 10.1 percent.

Said one voluble commenter: “Whether one agrees or not with the how, governments and the individuals in power tend to do things that, we as a public, need to know, given that their actions, ultimately, impact how we must live our lives. Assange, is merely bringing to light things that many would rather not have brought into the light of day. One could argue that we do not need to know, for security or other reasons. However, negotiations, diplomacy and conflict, are all simply ways or resolving issues. Since, as a public, we allow these people into power, should we not know they are acting on ‘our behalf’?”

Arguing for Zuckerberg and his increasingly powerful social networking site, one person said: “Changed the way we looked at the Web and added another layer of connection between user and the Web, as well as sites connecting to each other.”

A wide range of people, not included by name on the list I compiled, got the No. 4 slot with 7.3 percent. They included Google Android head Andy Rubin, Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake, Demand Media co-founder and CEO Richard Rosenblatt, Arianna Huffington and, um, me!

Longtime Silicon Valley entrepreneur-turned venture capitalist Marc Andreessen was No. 5 at 6.3 percent.

“Visionary as a grad student, very successful as an entrepreneur, now doing some really interesting things as a VC,” said one person.

The red-hot attention around social buying start-up Groupon–and its gutsy choice not to take Google’s offer of billions of dollars–got co-founder and CEO Andrew Mason the No. 6 slot with 5.7 percent.

Pure curiousness about the future outcome spurred one choice: “Is he really lucky or really good? I’m guessing 2011 is a fairly decisive year. I’d like to know more about him…”

The mishegas around Yahoo and its voluable CEO Carol Bartz put her in the No. 7 position.

Said one commenter: “She’s taken the impossible job and will succeed. However, rewiring is taking more times than expected…”

Innovation put social magazine iPad app Flipboard co-founder and CEO Mike McCue at No. 8 with 2.3 percent.

No. 9 was Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg at the same percentage, with the inevitable Betty White clocking in at No. 10 with 2.1 percent.

The reason for picking the longtime Hollywood movie and television star, after lobbying by rabid Facebook fans got her a gig on “Saturday Night Live”?

Simply put: “She rocks.”

And, indeed, she does.

Here’s my lovely bar chart showing the winners, which, perhaps most fascinating of all, did not include anyone from search topper Google or software giant Microsoft or microblogging leader Twitter (click on the image to make it larger):


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik