Hakon Wium Lie, 34
Scandinavia is one of the most wired regions in the world. And within that realm, Håkon Wium Lie is a key player. As an early colleague of World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, Lie has had a central role in the Web’s evolution--particularly in relation to browsers. Working with Berners-Lee in Switzerland in 1994, Lie proposed the concept of cascading style sheets (CSS). CSS is a mechanism for adding typographical style (different fonts, color, spacing) to Web documents. Today, almost every major maker of Web browsers has adopted CSS--a big reason why Web sites look so much better than they did five years ago. Asthe Web matured, Lie’s career grew with it. When the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was organized to govern Web standards, Lie set up the W3C technical team in France. His chief concern was to maintain open (rather than proprietary) systems so the Web remained accessible to people using the widest array of access software. Lie has taken that passion for choice into the private sector as CTO of Oslo Web browser company Opera Software.
Opera claims to be one of the most standards-compliant browser companies in the industry, and Lie’s experience at W3C clearly helped them get that way.