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  • 05.31.08

Influential Business Leaders and the Wall Street Journal

This is a quick reprint of an article I posted yesterday on my site "Influential Business Thinkers – Are Gurus Evolving?

This is a quick reprint of an article I posted yesterday on my site “Influential Business Thinkers – Are Gurus Evolving?” 

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Entrepreneurial and influential business thinkers have always been a
secret passion of mine. In addition to having amazing thoughts, you
have to have the business acumen to take action and reach results that
many people do not even perceive. The Wall Street Journal had this
article about a shift in how business leaders are changing- “New Breed of Business Gurus Rises

The way professionals (and researchers) define data is also of
extreme interest to me, especially when looking at how online
information is being passed back and forth through online communication
tools such as social media and search engines.

In the Wall Street Journal article, they ranked the gurus by a
fairly simple methodology “The ranking is based on Google hits, or
results mentioning the person when searched in Google, media mentions
in LexisNexis, and academic citations for 110 business “gurus” who
ranked high in the 2003 survey or have since won a significant
following. The thinkers were ranked in each area, the rankings were
summed, and those sums were ranked to create the final list.”

This idea is great from a historical perspective, but it is
ironically funny that the WSJ used such an out-dated way of searching
for gurus and thought leaders online. I am familiar with Google and
LexisNexis data indexing, and the academic citations for “gurus” is
pretty straight-forward…

Google is not the “end all, be all” of if you are a Guru or Thought-leader. Sure some people may
find information about you… but there are many reasons that someone may
have falsely inflated numbers in Google. For instance Bill Gates is on
the top five list, but if you count all the “hits” of Bill Gates
online, you don’t end up with just business guru mentions… you end up
with sites talking about his car and his photo of being arrested when
he was younger. Surely Bill Gates is a business guru, but the metrics
of his juvenile years throws the numbers off. (He is also the richest
man of who owns several search marketing companies that cannot manage
to push some criminal photos off his own search results for his
personal reputation.)

Along the same line of thinking as the WSJ, I started a series of articles called “Other Smart People
that includes individuals in my industry that are pre-qualified only by
my appreciation of the skills and expertise they share.

While my qualifier and testing may be based only on personal
interpretations, I think that social media is pushing us farther and
farther away from scoring individuals based sheerly on metrics and
datasources online. Google itself is shifting over to more and more
algorithms that rank the popularity of specific personalities and
sites- which is abused fairly frequently by search marketers who don’t
“play nice”

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In the instance of the Wall Street Journal list, I wonder if there
is anyone with my skillset manipulating the scoring system to merely
get on top of a list like that? The opening phrase for the WSJ article
is “Psychologists, journalists and celebrity chief executives crowd the
top of a ranking of influential business thinkers” and I have this gut
feeling that Psychologists and journalists ARE NOT on the top of the
influential list of gurus, and that people like Robert Scoble (FastCompany blogger) and Seth Godin
(Best Selling Author, Speaker) who are influencing hundreds of
thousands of business professionals every day should be on that list.

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