A smattering of techies have made Vanity Fair’s annual “New Establishment” 100 list, as if this is something we need to catalog.
Never mind that by making the list annual, Vanity Fair never gives itself a chance to define what makes the new establishment, you know, new.
And certainly never mind the – as Gawker points out – calculated controversy of sticking Russian President Vladimir Putin at the top. (Oh, by the way, any bloggers fancy being shot in the head?).
Ok, our tech brethren, with parentheses representing last year’s rank:
3. Sergey Brin (3), Larry Page (3) and Eric Schmidt (new entry), Google
4. Steve Jobs, Apple, Disney and Pixar (2)
6. Jeff Bezos (6), Amazon
16. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft (returning)
25. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook (new entry)
37. Larry Ellison, Oracle (20)
70. Jonathan Ive, Apple (37)
So those top three make sense, as much as any completely arbitrary list is going to make sense.
But then things get weird. Apparently Ballmer was booted while Bill and Melinda Gates were recognized for philanthropy last year (Bill has been tossed, along with Bill Clinton, this year).
Adding Zuckerberg. Makes sense.
But – and this gets to the crux of why these lists are completely stupid – what is with the massive drop for Ellison and Ive?
That’s a 13-step drop for Ellison, who just last week was named the most highly compensated CEO in America.
Ive was lead designer on iPod and iPhone. So 2007 was big for him, what with the announcement of the iPhone. But wasn’t this the year everybody bought one? And isn’t Jobs scheduled to give his latest iPod toy presentation next week?
My question is: When we are talking about the people who shape our daily lives, can we really measure their influence on a year-to-year basis?
What if Vanity Fair pulled out this list every five years, allowing us to look at the shuffle in rankings at broader intervals and determine what is changing in the character of this country and the people who lead and influence it? The magazine might actually be able to wring some insightful journalism out of its work.
Then again, these are dinosaurs at work here. I’ve just realized as I type that the inclusion of Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report, ranked 74, is supposed to represent the rise of the blogger. Matt Drudge, you may know, had his shining moment when he broke the Monica Lewinsky story.
That was 10 years ago.