Web 2.0 Madness – Division 3 – Round 1

(Introduction to series here, earlier posts in round 1 here and here)

I am falling behind, in comparison to the “real” tournament, but that’s ok.  While the companies/websites had very few upsets, I expect to see more shakeups in the people categories, simply because I wasn’t as careful when ranking them in the initial brackets.  We’ll start with Division 3, “Industry Contributors.”

(1) Robert Scoble vs (16) Steve Wozniak
If this was a contest of influence, Woz would undoubtedly win this matchup as the cofounder of Apple Computer.  Scoble on the other hand was a technologist for Microsoft before becoming a blogger.  That’s right, “just” a blogger. But while Wozniak’s recent claim to fame is his apperance on Dacing with the Stars, Scoble has become one of the loudest voices of the social web, with over 70,000 twitter followers.  Whether Scoble has any real impact on the industry is open to question, but he’s certainly one of the most influential people reporting on it.  And that’s enough for an easy victory in round one.

(2) Guy Kawasaki vs (15) Justine Ezarik
While at Apple, Kawasaki marketed the Macintosh. Recently, Justine (iJustine) marketed the Mozy backup service. Slight difference in scale, sure.  Kawasaki has over 90,000 twitter followers, and he’s one of the founders of AllTop, a news aggregation site.  He’s definitely a loud voice, but not necessarily a very personal one.  He’s come under criticism for most of this twitter links being auto-generated AllTop messages.  Justine, on the other hand, takes an opposite approach, engaging in what some call “Lifecasting” the details of her life on her video blog and to her over 250,000 twitter followers.  She’s embraced the social web in a different way than Kawasaki, but the result is the same – ruthless gathering of followers to build a massive reach.  Right now, I think the under-30 “internet celebrity” seems to be beating the over-50 “marketing genius.”  The dust has yet to settle but I’ll give iJustine the big upset.

(3) Tim O’Reilly vs (14) Jimmy Wales
O’Reilly is credited with creating the term “Web 2.0” and is a household name among tech geeks everywhere.  Wales is less well-known but is one of the creators of Wikipedia, and has taken the idea behind public wikis into the for-profit space.  There’s no doubt both these individuals have a firm grasp on the social web and are influencing where it’s going in the future.  It’s hard to make a decision on who to award this matchup to, but from their respective wikipedia articles I learn that Wales has a nickname of Jimbo whereas O’Reilly is also known as Tadhg Ó Raghallaigh.  With nothing else to go on, Jimbo will not upset the publishing giant.

(4) Jeremiah Owyang vs (13) Maria Thomas
As of the writing of this post, neither of these individuals has an entry in the English-language wikipedia.  Owyang is a senior analyst at Forrester Research whose day job involves analyzing the social web.  His 35,000+ twitter followers (myself included) enjoy his insight and rely on him to pass along key pieces of information.  Maria Thomas is the CEO of the growing web commerce site Etsy, dedicated to homemade crafts.  They both represent important aspects of the social web.  Owyang embodies the appeal of twitter and its many uses, whereas Thomas shows how the ‘net can scale a small business into something huge.  Given their relative influence on ideas and the industry, though, this time around the win goes to the analyst.

(5) Chris Brogan vs (12) Michael Arrington
Chris Brogan is the president of New Marketing Labs, and 55,000 people listen to what he has to say about social media and marketing on twitter.  Michael Arrington is the voice behind Techcrunch and has been named as one of the most influential online citizens several times.  It’s an interesting matchup; Brogan advises, Arrington reports.  Of course, Arrington does more than report.  He founded Techcrunch and made it successful, and is behind several other successful ventures as well.  Brogan’s high seed is a reflection of my own interest in his articles.  From an objective standpoint though, it’s hard to deny Arrington’s influence (which is why Time named him one of the 100 most influential individuals in the world in 2008).

(6) Seth Godin vs (11) Arianna Huffington
Godin is the recognizable face of new marketing (as he calls it, “permission marketing”), which is in many ways fundmental to how companies do business on the social web.  Huffington is a writer and founder of prominent political blog The Huffington Post.  While Huffington has helped carve out a place for the journalist blogger, Godin’s approach to business is helping everyone understand how Web 2.0 translates into economic reality.  In the battle of writers, the business writer beats the political one.

(7) Jeff Atwood vs (10) Bruce Schneier
Atwood is that rare blogger whose posts are always solid, original, and interesting.  He writes mainly about software design, which limits his exposure (but he has quite a faithful following, including over 12,000 twitter followers, a huge number for a non-celebrity non-eMarketing-type).  Schneier is a security expert who writes about everything from airport terminal lines to browser authentication schemes.   They both write about somewhat narrow topics with broad implications, and are highly respected within their fields.  Who wins out?  Well, as much as I admire Atwood, until he’s interviewed on 60 Minutes or profiled in the New York Times it’s hard to say he’s more influential than Schneier.

(8) Gina Trapani vs (9) Veronica Belmont
Trapani founded popular website Lifehacker.com, whereas Belmont hosts an internet video broadcast about the Playstation 3. Lifehacker has grown into a highly successful site and Trapani has since moved on to greener pastures, whereas Belmont has become an Internet celebrity with over 200,000 twitter followers.  Which one is more “Web 2.0”?  Hard to say.  But I do know if you stopped a hundred random Social Web citizens and asked them which of these two women they had heard of, Trapani would win out (GoogleFight agrees!).  She wins in my book too, securing a pass into round 2.

So your winners today are:

  • (1) Robert Scoble
  • (15) Justine Ezarik (Upset)
  • (3) Tim O’Reilly
  • (4) Jeremiah Owyang
  • (12) Michael Arrington (Upset)
  • (6) Seth Godin
  • (10) Bruce Schneier (Upset)
  • (8) Gina Trapani

Stay tuned for the first round of the final remaining division!