It Site Man
WHY HIM? A former editor of the defunct mag Might, Eggers has become a media baron — minus the millions — from the comfort of his Brooklyn apartment. His website, Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency (www.mcsweeneys.net), and the print version (McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern) are must-hits for anyone who appreciates an ironic sensibility. Designed like a scientific journal, McSweeney’s is gaining cult status, thanks to such uproarious send-ups as ”I Am Michiko Kakutani,” a spoof confessional about the New York Times book critic.
UNLIKELY SOURCE OF INSPIRATION: Trade mags. ”I’ve got about 40 in the bathroom; my favorite right now is The Acorn, a quarterly newsletter from a convent in Fargo, N.D.”
NEXT: Keep those hits coming: McSweeney’s will soon feature ”stuff killed from SNL and Letterman.” On the serious side: Eggers will publish a a nonfiction work about the history of America (due from Simon & Schuster next year).
WHY IT? Say goodbye to the Beanie Baby. The latest kid craze revolves around this adorable computer creature. The breakout star of Game Boy’s ubiquitous Pokemon computer game, Pikachu (PEE-ka-choo) fronts the ratings-rich animated Pokemon TV series, and has paws in everything from key chains to pencil toppers, notebooks, and sleeping bags. (If all this makes you scratch your head, ask any kid.)
WORK HABITS: According to its cartoon cohort Ash, who does the talking (Pikachu’s is a one-word vocabulary: ”Pika!”), this critter balances work with ”being a cute and cuddly creature.”
WORST JOB: ”The constant battles with our rivals, Team Rocket.”
NEXT: Pokemon’s U.S. movie debut, expected later this year.
WHY HIM? He spawned millions of amateur city planners with SimCity, the simulation game that turns players into the architects of a growing metropolis. Now it looks like Wright has constructed another hit with this fall’s The Sims, which gives players godlike control over the people living in SimCity. Think Tamagotchi, but with adults.
WEIRDEST CAREER MOMENT: His first game, Raid On Bungeling Bay, a helicopter shoot-’em-up for Nintendo, sold 750,000 units in Japan but flopped in the U.S.
UNLIKELY SOURCE OF INSPIRATION: Harry Houdini. The essence of magic — and games — is ”knowing how to get people to erroneously build a model in their brain,” says Wright, whose mother was a member of an amateur magician’s society.
Y2K PLANS: For his annual New Year’s bash, guests will be asked to re-create a historical moment from the last millennium — in miniature.
HE’LL REPRESENT WWII: for example, with five plastic soldiers and firecrackers going off.
Donna Dubinsky & Jeff Hawkins
AGES: 43; 42
WHY THEM? Everyone with a pocket and a love of gadgets owes a debt of gratitude to this Silicon Valley duo, the driving force behind the PalmPilot, the anal organizer’s dream come true.
WORK HABITS: ”Donna is the business person, and I design the products,” says Hawkins. ”I call myself ‘lots of influence, no authority.”’
NEXT: A PalmPilot in every pocket. ”I don’t see why all age groups wouldn’t be interested in having [one] for the right price,” says Hawkins. While they’re waiting, their newly formed company, Handspring, will release a top-secret Palm-compatible gadget just in time for Christmas.