8 Important Voices in Tech

by on April 27, 2010 | posted in SEO Theory

With the exponential growth of Twitter and the ever-growing number of blogs on the internet, the level of content noise online has reached an all-time high. Many people talk, but not many are worth listening to. From within the content jungle a few voices stand out as true influencers of the web, those people who create change, are capable of criticizing others, and wield their audience like a weapon. These people, in my opinion, are the ones every content-architect in tech should model themselves after.

There may be more, there may not, but in my time profiling the web from a SEO’s point of view, these are the ones that are making a true dent in the technosphere.

Lisa Barone, Outspoken Media | Twitter | RSS

Lisa Barone

Lisa Barone is the head blogger at Outspoken Media, an internet marketing company. They, and she, live up to their name – they aren’t afraid to throw their verbal weight around to criticize those that deserve it. Barone’s voice impacts the web constantly, whether through actual changes, or by starting conversations that needed to occur.

More Lisa goodness:

Loren Feldman, 1938 Media | Twitter | RSS

Loren Feldman, founder of 1938media, is the authority for internet video in the technology sector. His videos are biting, funny, insulting, and intelligent. There is no individual not worthy of criticism, and no business maven who doesn’t deserve having their head beat in with a rock. Feldman’s approach works and influences the web, because beneath his rocky video exterior, there is clearly a kind, intelligent individual who knows the difference between branding and actually being an asshole.

Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, 37signals | Twitter | RSS

37signals

Included in the same breath because their ideology is often unified, Fried and Heinemeier Hannson wrote the book on rewriting the book. They consistently and unabashedly tear down the foundations of many business concepts, aren’t afraid to call out companies, and run a blog with daily viewers in the six digits. If I had to use one word to describe their impact, it would be “transformative”. And, authentic. And, right.

Jason Calacanis, This Week in Startups | Twitter | RSS

Jaosn Calacanis

Although the brunt of recent criticism for his SEO approach with Mahalo, the way he handled a recent firing, and the naming convention of his show, Calcanis is a voice to be listened to. If you aren’t being criticized, you aren’t saying anything important. Calcanis frequently speaks up and uses his influence to impact the web, and is at once a powerful entrepreneur and also a down to earth, helpful individual. His main enterprise is Mahalo, but his entrepreneur-interview show TWiST is the program that shapes decision-making and impacts the world of technology.

Andrew Warner, Mixergy | Twitter | RSS

Andrew Warner

In a similar vain to Jason Calacanis, Andrew Warner interviews prominent entrepreneurs and business thinkers to help his viewer base improve and grow their own companies. Warner’s voice is infectious and energetic, but he is still willing to criticize and question the points and ideology of even his most respected guests – making his impact on the web a substantial one.

Some of these interviews are now paid-subscription only, but the written transcripts are still available.

Aaron Wall, SEO Book | Twitter | RSS

Aaron Wall is one of the leading voices in the SEO community, and, undoubtedly, the king of criticism in the sector. Lisa Barone tends to reach out into tech a little further, but Wall’s biting and intelligent critique of the SEO world, from Mahalo, to Google’s recent public disrespect for the Open Graph, back to Rand Fishkin’s paid linking policy, makes Wall a fearful and important force in the world of search.

Although I don’t always agree with him, his opinion will always be greatly respected, and his blog is one of the few still worth reading in search.

Robert Scoble, Building43 and Rackspace | Twitter | RSS

Robert Scoble

Robert Scoble is the premier early-adopter online. He frequently gets flack for egoblogging, but his large audience, direct connection to the pulse of technology, and strong opinions continue to push him beyond that, and allow his voice to pervade as “important” on the web. As long as Scoble blogs, people will listen, and that makes him an extremely influential part of Web 2.0.

Important Doesn’t Mean Right

I don’t necessarily agree with many of the opinions of the above influencers, but that doesn’t change their importance and scope of influence. If you want to stay connected to what’s happening and what will happen next in tech, follow these people. And you might just learn something along the way, too.

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  • http://www.twitter.com/willpao Will

    Def. important voices, but as you point out, important doesn’t equal right, and I don’t think 37 Signals is always right. In fact, I think most of their controversial blog posts are wrong. “The Next Generation Bends Over” post is loaded with wrong and false assumptions. Their premise doesn’t even make any sense. VCs would rather a company get bought then have an IPO? Uh…no. Sequoia would not have preferred Google to get bought; Google is one of Sequoia’s biggest money-makers.

    I wanted to write that comment on 37 Signals, but they disabled comments on that post. VCs don’t get really rich off a bunch of quick flips like Mint’s. IPOs are their path to gold. I’m sure they would have had Mint have an IPO. 37 Signals’ assumption that Mint’s VCs pressured it towards selling was baseless and completely made up.

    • Ross

      Good point Will, as that’s something I definitely wasn’t aware of. I think if we take 37signals points with a grain of salt, i.e. this is not the only definitive answer, it’s just a good recommendation towards one, they are very worth listening to.

      I.E. on points like “no companies need VC funding”, it’s easy to look at it like an absolute, but if we observe it from a viewpoint of “too many companies are using VC funding.. less should” rather than “none should”, they’re making some good points. Same as the period when “free” was a chic thing because of Chris Anderson, they made a strong push against an over-reliance on it by vilifying it publicly, and that has definitely made an impact (although I can’t measure it) on the tech community.

      I shouldn’t have stated “And right.” on the description of them. Absolutes are dangerous and I’m definitely not a fan of them.

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