The day before we do a top 10 list, Shaun and I have lunch in a local diner and go over ideas for something timely but interesting.
Last week the big news was Michael Jackson, so we did the thriller list, but after we finished lunch, someone (in the interests of collective responsibility) made a comment about another Michael Jackson list we could have done: the strangest people in IT.
Jackson may have been keen on the title King of Pop, but his life can hardly have been considered normal. But let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Techies are by nature a little different from the rest of the population.
Some of the people on this list are successful billionaires, some Nobel prize winners or high-tech nomads. However, some individuals are weird even by geek standards. Those who made this week's top 10 list have managed to not only be hugely successful in the business, but to generate some great stories of oddball behaviour.
mention: Thomas Dolby
Shaun Nichols: Not too many tech executives can also lay claim to a hit song and landmark video. Most people know Thomas Dolby as the man behind the early 1980s new wave hit She Blinded Me With Science. When not creating or producing fodder for MTV, however, Dolby has in fact been a very influential character.
In 1993, Dolby started a small digital music outfit called Headspace. As the web took off, the company developed the RMF music format and the Beatnik browser plug-in. The company, now known as Beatnik Inc, is an established developer of music software for PCs and mobile phones.
Dolby has proven to be a musical and technological visionary. Certainly an odd, if not wonderful combination.
Iain Thomson: I'll give you this one Shaun, but not for the horrifyingly bad She Blinded Me With Science. I've a soft spot for Mr Dolby because he did a lot of good work on Def Leppard's seminal 1983 album Pyromania under the name Booker T. Boffin. He did get sued by Ray Dolby, inventor of Dolby noise reduction and co-inventor of the video tape, who coincidentally has a son called Thomas.
I can't help thinking that the internet needs more rock stars, especially those who care enough about music to create their own format.
mention: Steve Ballmer
Iain Thomson: I can't decide whether Ballmer's genuinely weird or it's all just an Uncle Fester impression put on to freak people out.
His conference exhortations have gained him an amused following, and there were moves at the UK launch of Windows XP to get the crowd chanting 'Do the dance monkeyboy!' but sadly people chickened out.
There have been reports that the Wild Man of Microsoft dismembers office furniture in fits of temper, and he is apparently a very tough man to face in a boardroom negotiation. This is what makes me think that he's acting up; when he starts to sweat and get bulgy-eyed there's still plenty of people who aren't willing to take the risk that he won't vault over the table and sink his teeth into their throats.
Shaun Nichols: One can never accuse Steve Ballmer of lacking passion. From the aforementioned 'Monkeyboy' dance to the enraged developers developers developers mantra, Ballmer has given us some classic YouTube clips.
When you get down to it, however, there are few people I would rather have running a large tech firm than Ballmer. He may seem a bit like Uncle Fester on a three-day speed binge, but he also runs a pretty tight and well-oiled ship at Microsoft.
It is said that Windows Vista was Bill Gates's baby, but Windows 7 is Steve Ballmer's baby. Given how smoothly Windows 7 development and rollout has gone, and given what a disaster Vista turned out to be, one has to give a tip of the hat to the Ballmer way of doing things.
Yes, Microsoft has had some clunkers of late, but that is more due to years of sloppy practice and bloated software that had little to do with the CEO. Even with the company in the worst situation it has seen in years, it seems a great many Microsoft employees still hold a firm belief in the company, and a lot of that has to do with Ballmer.
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