In a high-level session, four disruptive entrepreneurs discuss what disruption is all about: Mitchell Baker (Mozilla), Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia), Niklas Zennstrom (Atomico) and - also moderating the discussion - Yossi Vardi (DLD Co-Chairman) all have created organizations or products that disrupted their industries.
It turns out there are a few things all of them have in common: Serving a huge user base with a very small organization; getting the users actively involved in the main business of your company; and an open mind to collaboration and partnership over competition.
As the leader of the Mozilla Project, Mitchell Baker is responsible for organizing and motivating a massive, worldwide, collective of employees and volunteers who are breathing new life into the Internet with the Firefox Web browser, Firefox OS and other Mozilla products. Mitchell has been the general manager of the Mozilla project since 1999. She served as CEO of Mozilla until January 2008, when the organization’s rapid growth encouraged her to split her responsibilities and add a CEO. Mitchell remains deeply engaged in developing product offerings that promote the mission of empowering individuals. She also guides the overall scope and direction of Mozilla’s mission. As Executive Chairwoman of Mozilla, Mitchell continues her commitment to an open, innovative Web and the infinite possibilities it presents. Mitchell was honored as winner of the Anita Borg Institute’s 2009 Women of Vision Award and in 2010 she was the recipient of the Aenne Burda Award for Creative Leadership. In 2012, Mitchell was inducted into the founding group of the Internet Society’s Hall of Fame.
Dr. Joseph (Yossi) Vardi is a co-chair of DLD. With 40 years experience of co-founding, leading and participating in building over 60 high-tech companies, he is one of Israel's early entrepreneurs.
Vardi co-pioneered instant messaging as the founding investor and the former Chairman of Mirabilis Ltd., the creator of the highly popular instant messaging program ICQ, now owned by AOL.
Yossi Vardi looks back to an extensive government and public career. Serving, amongst others, include Director General of the Ministry of Energy and chairman of Israel's National Oil Company and Israel chemicals and of the Jerusalem Foundation. Numerous investments Yossi Vardi co-founded or helped to build went public, including answers.com, Scopus, Granite and Lasers or have been acquired by Cisco, AOL, Yahoo, IAC, Sierra Wireless and others.
He now acts on the advisory Board of Amdocs. Vardi served on boards of directors and advisory boards of numerous state and private corporations including Bezeq, Israel Electric, the Bank of Israel. He has also been an advisor to the CEOs of AOL, Amazon, and Allied Signal.
He has received many awards, including two time the Prime minister of Israel Hi-Tech award for life achievements, the Industry prize, the Ramniceanu prize and C-E-O's Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame.
Jimmy Wales is an American Internet entrepreneur best known as the founder of the Wikimedia Foundation, the charity which operates Wikipedia.org, and as the co-founder of Wikia.com.
Wales received his Bachelor's degree in finance from Auburn University and his Master's in finance from University of Alabama. He was appointed a fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School in 2005 and in 2006, he joined the Board of Directors of the non-profit organization Creative Commons.
In January of 2001, Wales started Wikipedia.org, the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, and today Wikipedia and its sister projects are among the top-five most visited sites on the web. In mid-2003, Wales set up the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization based in St. Petersburg, Florida, to support Wikipedia.org. The Foundation, now based in downtown San Francisco, boasts a staff of close to thirty focusing on fundraising, technology, and programming relating to the expansion of Wikipedia. Wales now sits on the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, and as founder continues to act as a key spokesperson.
In 2004, Wales co-founded Wikia.com, a completely separate company that enables groups of people to share information and opinions that fall outside the scope of an encyclopedia. Wikia's community-created wikis range from video games and movies to finance and environmental issues. Wikia's network is now ranked in the top 75 of all websites according to Quantcast.com, and strong growth continues.
Wales has received a Pioneer Award, the Gottlieb Duttweiler Prize in 2011, the Monaco Media Prize, the 2009 Nokia Foundation annual award, the Business Process Award at the 7th Annual Innovation Awards and Summit by The Economist, The 2008 Global Brand Icon of the Year Award,and on behalf of the Wikimedia project the Quadriga award of Werkstatt Deutschland for A Mission of Enlightenment. In 2007, The World Economic Forum recognized Wales as one of the 'Young Global Leaders.' This prestigious award acknowledges the top 250 young leaders for their professional accomplishments, their commitment to society and their potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world. In addition, Wales received the 'Time 100 Award' in 2006, as he was named one of the world's most influential people in the 'Scientists & Thinkers' category.
Niklas Zennstrom is one of today's most successful Internet entrepreneurs, best known for co-founding Skype, KaZaA, Joost and Joltid with his long-time business partner Janus Friis.
In 2007, Zennstrom co-founded Atomico Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on investing in passionate entrepreneurs building the next generation of consumer-facing technology businesses, and fostering a new ecosystem for entrepreneurship in Europe.
Zennstrom is best known for having co-founded Skype, the global leader in Internet voice communications, with over 432 million registered users. In September 2005 eBay Inc acquired Skype, and in 2009 Zennstrom was part of the consortium that acquired Skype from eBay. Prior to Skype, Zennstrom co-founded and served as CEO of Kazaa, the consumer file-sharing application that became the world's most downloaded Internet software in 2003, and Joltid, the world's leader in peer-to-peer technologies.
Zennstrom co-founded Zennstrom Philanthropies where he is focused on fighting climate change. Zennstrom was recognized by Time Magazine as one of its 100 Most Influential People in 2006, and has received numerous other awards. Zennstrom holds dual degrees in Business and MSc Engineering Physics/Computer Science.