The 13 Most Powerful Geeks In The World19
By Steven Novak
The 13 Most Powerful Geeks In The World
As the saying goes, the meek shall inherit the earth. In the era of technology, this has never been truer. Sure the geeks, the nerds, the dorks, and the dweebs have it tough as kids, but they almost always get the last laugh. Geekdom has infiltrated our society so completely that it now commands the most innovative, creative and entertaining parts of our lives. They use gadgets, gizmos and software to rule the world! As in the KoldCast TV web comedy series MacAwesome, life just isn’t the same without these guys. Will the geeky creators of MacAwesome and the zombie comedy series American Heart rise to become wealthy and powerful like those on our list of The 13 Most Powerful Geeks in the World? And what about you? How powerful and wealthy can you expect to be if you are a geek?
MacAwesome, Episode 1, Women Don’t Sleep
1. Carlos Slim Helu
Known simply as Carlos Slim, this Mexican businessman, philanthropist and the chairman and CEO of Telmex, Telcel and America Movil, is not only a lifelong geek, but also the richest man in the world as of April 2010. So what’s his net worth? Oh, somewhere in the ballpark of $60.6 billion US. He’s got Mexico wired and is transforming the way Latin America uses technology.
2. Kevin Rose
As a child, Kevin Rose was a Boy Scout, which, in itself isn’t all that strange. He was also an Eagle Scout though, which is about as geeky as it gets. He is the co-founder of Revision3, Pownce, WeFollow, and CEO of the social-bookmarking website Digg. He’s barely into his thirties and has more digital pull and fatter pockets than most will ever see.
3. Vlasimir Yevtushenkov
As the majority stakeholder of the telecommunications company Sistema and owner of Sitronics (which happens to run Russia’s largest mobile network), this lifelong geek and notoriously reclusive tycoon is worth somewhere around $9 billion US. He reigns over more than 200 companies ranging from microchips to toy stores. If we’re lucky, maybe he’ll make the real-life version of “Small Soldiers.”
4. Steve Jobs
In the late 1970’s, Steve Jobs, with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Mike Markkula, and others, designed, developed, and marketed one of the first commercially successfully lines of personal computers, the Apple II series. And that was just the beginning. Jobs has also served as chief executive of Pixar Animation Studios, and he became a member of the board of The Walt Disney Company in 2006. He’s also kind of a geek – go figure.
5. Azim Premji
Often referred to as the Indian Bill Gates, Azim Premji is the chairman of Wipro Limited, a company that holds Wipro Technologies, one of India’s largest software development companies. This geek was once voted one of the 20 most powerful men in the world by Asiaweek. He’s also among the fifty richest people in the world, and was rated among the 100 most influential people by Time Magazine in 2004.
6. Peter Cashmore
Born on September 18, 1985, this 25 year-old geek is the founder of Mashable.com, which he started in a small Scottish town in 2005 at the age of 19. Though he hasn’t even reached his thirtieth birthday, the kid is already dividing his time between Scotland, San Francisco, and New York while most of us divide our time between our house, our car, and cubicle.
7. Satoru Iwata
As the fourth president and CEO of Nintendo – succeeding the long-standing previous president, Hiroshi Yamauchi in 2002 – Iwata helped the company generate a forty-one percent increase in sales during his first year and separate the gaming giant from the rest of the pack. In some respects, the company run by this geek spends more time with the children than their parents… and that’s pretty cool.
8. Mark Zuckerberg
After spending his youth delving in all sorts of geeky endeavors that included mucking around creating computer programs and learning the long dead language of Latin, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg co-founded the popular social networking site Facebook with friends Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, and Chris Hughes while not doing his homework at Harvard University. He is now one of the youngest billionaires in the world with personal wealth of nearly $4 billion US.
9. La Ka-Shing
As the chairmen of Hutchinson Whampoa Limited and Cheung Kong Holdings, Sir Ka-Shing Li is not only the richest person of Eastern descent in the world but the fourteenth richest of any descent. His estimated wealth is somewhere in the range of $16.2 billion and growing. He commands the world’s largest beauty retailer, and in Hong Kong he’s known as “Superman.” If all that doesn’t get you chicks, nothing will. He’s a nerd god.
10. Larry Page
Computer scientist and industrialist Lawrence “Larry” Page is a co-founder of Google Inc. and its ever-expanding universe. Ignoring the fact that he founded an Internet giant with a reach unlike any other, Larry’s personal wealth alone is somewhere around $17.5 billion US. Even so, every time you search for anything (dance lessons, movie times, porn), you’re buying this geek an expensive car. Think about that.
11. Barack Obama
He’s the 44th President of the United States of America, the first African American to hold the office, and has sometimes been referred to as the first “nerd president.” Granted, nerds and geeks are completely different things, but I would argue that they fall into the same general category. During his campaign Obama greeted Leonard Nimoy with the traditional Vulcan salute and was always seen with blackberry in hand. That’s pretty geeky (and awesome) in my book, even though he recently sounded more like former president George W. Bush when he referred to Twitter as “Twitters” in a recent speech – something a textbook geek would never do.
12. Masayoshi Son
This nerd found his calling while studying at UC Berkley in the 1970s. Early on he recognized that the microchip would make a lot of people wealthy and began producing at least one moneymaking idea a day. This soon paid off and what did he do? He bought a bunch of Space Invaders arcade systems and placed them all over campus. Today, Masayoshi Son holds the peculiar distinction of being the person who has lost the most money in history (approximately $70 billion US in the dot com crash of 2000), this Korean-Japanese geek and chief executive officer of SoftBank Capital and SoftBank Mobile is currently worth a whopping $7 billion US – and he’s still the richest man in Japan.
13. Bill Gates
Since founding Microsoft with Paul Allen, Bill Gates has consistently ranked among the world’s wealthiest people, and was wealthiest overall from 1995 to 2009 (excluding 2008 when he placed third). Microsoft pretty much controls the computer software market, and Gates’ impact isn’t likely to go anywhere anytime soon. If that wasn’t enough to make him a geek, he also created his first program at 13 and scored a humble 1590 out of 1600 on his SATs.
MacAwesome – First Day, First Love
Steven Novak is a writer, illustrator, graphic designer and admitted lifelong nerd with an embarrassingly large DVD collection. He is currently working and living in the Southern California desert. His most recent fantasy/action adventure novel, “Forts: Fathers and Sons,” is available everywhere books are sold.