Who's really who in the world of IT

Every industry has its own celebrity set even the nerdish IT industry. We have the hot-shot vendor executives that make star-studded appearances at mega trade shows in the US. While the red carpet routine isn't so routine here in Australia, the editor-in-chief of Computerworld's sister publication in the US Don Tennant says its galling to see these guys making an entrance more suited to Tom Cruise. With their hordes of handlers, the room will part, as they make their way to the stage.

Step aside Joan Crawford, these guys really know how to make an entrance. Having interviewed more than his fair share of the A-list Tennant shares some of his first hand observations making it clear they really are just regular guys. From Tennant's notebook -

Bill Gates: A very unassuming guy with a dry wit. I hooked up with him once when he was visiting China. When I expressed surprise at his comment that he didn't check his e-mail or even call into the office during his 17 days in China, his response was pretty funny: "Nobody calls me up and says, 'Hey, we wrote some code today,' and I say, 'Write more tomorrow.' So I know if I called in, I'm not even sure what I would say." You have to love that.

Scott McNealy: A down-to-earth sort who doesn't mind it when you mess with him. I interviewed him once in the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing, where the Chinese government accommodates foreign VIPs. When I walked into his suite, I looked around and said, "This is where I interviewed Gates last week. Looks like you slept in the same bed." McNealy did this dramatic shiver that made me wish it was a TV interview. It was hilarious.

But let's step away from the palatial presidential suites for just a moment and consider a new breed of celebrity. In the age of reality TV where everyday mums, dads and countless wannabe's become overnight sensations, it's time to turn our attention to an A-list more worthy of our admiration. That's right we are going to dim the spotlight on these high profile execs and showcase a new breed of talent that deserves to take centre stage - today's IT professional. Vendors may provide the products but they don't actually use it. Let's face it anyone who can make this stuff work has to be a superstar!

These guys and gals really do weave magic so let's create the ultimate "Who's Who in IT". If you agree with me that end users are the real superstars then step up and allow us to profile you. We want to give you the star treatment by allowing you to take centre stage and share some of your insights in these pages.

If you have an IT title then auditions obviously aren't required as you are already working your magic on a day to day basis and are an accomplished star.

Alternatively, nominate a colleague. Send e-mails to sandra_rossi@idg.com.au

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