Identifying the most Texans in high tech isn’t an exact science: As with anything, it’s all about who you ask. Well, we asked more than one hundred industry observers all over the state and sifted through hundreds of potential candidates in search of those who best met the definition of power today: the ability to change the way business is done, move markets, shape perceptions, shake up the status quo, and affect the lives of the rest of us. Position wasn’t a guarantee of a place on the list; lots of CEOs are too busy running their hot new start-ups to have any impact past the front door. Neither was wealth; the state’s high-tech boom has created lots of multimillionaires, but driving a Ferrari or building a home to rival Bill Gates’s is a measure of ego, not power. And, finally, being powerful in the past doesn’t necessarily ensure that you’re powerful today (see ya, Ross Perot).
One thing became clear after talking to these key players: The high-tech industry is shifting dramatically because of the Internet. Some of Texas’ oldest tech companies are changing their stripes to compete in the new Internet economy, while a number of start-ups