John Hawkins over at Right Wing News has a survey of bloggers asking for the 20 greatest figures in American history. The results are kind of interesting. He asked us for a list of between 1 and 20 people that had shaped US history. I, like others, took that to mean anyone who had influenced our history, whether they were American or not.
My list included:
Tim Berners-Lee (for conceptualizing the world wide web)
Lee Atwater (for changing the face of modern campaign politics)
Barry Goldwater (founder of the conservative movement, though it has since been bastardized.)
Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina (jointly for creating the browser)
FDR (jointly with Kennedy and Reagan for mastering the political technology of their day and changing the way politicians connect with citizens)
Michael Jordan, Karch Kiraly, and Dale Earnhardt (for being the greatest in their respective sports. (I don’t think football has ever had a figure like these, and baseball is debatable)
Bill Gates (for making technology accessible to a broad consumer market)
Steve Jobs (for giving Gates ideas)
A lot of these guys are remembered for what they did 100 years ago, and many, I believe, will be recognized for the next 200 years. Berners-Lee, Andreessen and Bina will likely not be recognized outside of the tech community for some time to come, but the path they have set our feet upon will change the way we get and use information – and information is power.
So those are my thoughts. What do you think?