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Which Is More Important - Saddam Hussein or Google?

2006 was the year of YouTube, Flash video, Vista, and the Wii

The year 2006 in which YouTube became culturally ubiquitous, Flash video became the de facto Internet video standard of the Web, Microsoft beta-launched Vista, and the Wii entered our lives - was also memorable for one or two other real-world events such as the hanging of Saddam Hussein, prompting the obvious question: Is the progress of i-Technology front-runners like Google and eBay more, or less, important than the trial and execution of Saddam.

The difficulty of a working life spent examining and indeed celebrating the vibrant and energetic world of Internet technologies (i-Technology) is that there is always a risk of allowing the real - as opposed to the virtual - world to slide into relative insignificance. E-mails risk seeming more important than reality, and the birth of mere Web sites takes on the gravity of much more substantive and world-changing events.

How do we gauge the relative importance of a war criminal's extinction and a Web site's birth? What, in short, matters most: the world of geopolitics, wars, and globalization, or the far more peaceful, equally globalized world of the Internet?

It is a problem set that can be addressed in different ways. In the case of Bill Gates, for example, he has committed greater sums of money made through i-Technology than any man alive (specifically, an endowment fund now worth US $24 billion) to bringing innovations in health and learning to the global community, a cause that has attracted in addition the substantial fortune of Warren Buffett - who gave the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 85% of his fortune.

But what of the rest of us, those of us with a current net worth less than $53 billion and a 2006 salary plus bonus of $966,667? Should we just rejoice that 2006 has seen the liveliest array of Web 2.0 start-ups since the bursting of the Silicon Bubble? Or should we take more interest in the prospects for global peace, or lack of it, in a real world that doesn't necessarily reflect the same sense of order and indeed hope as the World Wide Web?

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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