I know, I thought it was a joke at first, too. I actually received a tweet about the list on April 2, with a link to a slideshare (embedded below) and a note about me being on a list with some top automotive leaders. So, when I was looking at the list on slide 8 and saw myself on there with the likes of Obama, Steven Chu, Elon Musk, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Bob Lutz, and other bigwigs, I thought at first that it must be a carryover joke from April 1. Apparently, it’s not.
It seems that Appinions gave a presentation at the 2013 New York International Auto Show about an industry influence study it had conducted. Its study was based on a methodology developed using over a decade of Cornell University research. (For anyone not familiar with Cornell, it’s one of the US’ 8 Ivy League schools — others being Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, and Dartmouth.)
So, this was apparently a real study that Appinions conducted.
Anyway, I’ll add more about the study at the bottom, but let’s cut to the chase. Here’s the tweet I received from Twitter friend Dean Frankel:
— Dean Frankel (@skepticsfool) April 2, 2013
And if you skip to slide 8 of that slideshare, here’s what you find:
If it isn’t yet clear, I have to say that I’m a little shocked to be on that list. Besides the obvious, there are a few reasons why this still feels like an April Fools’ Day joke.
For one, aside from President Obama, exiting Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Mayor Bloomberg, a New York Times journalist, and a Washington Post journalist, I’m the only person on the list who isn’t focused on cars full time (my focus these days is essentially split between solar power, wind power, electric cars, and bikes).
Secondly, while most of those people on that list are out there writing or putting into law transportation policy, developing the next generation of cars, giving dozens of speeches a year, and appearing on national television, I spend almost all day (every day) simply reading and writing about cleantech. While the goal is to influence society for the better, it’s hard to believe my opinion has anywhere near the influence of political and business leaders who actually have to get dressed every day. But I guess that’s one of the wonders of the internet age, and of the decentralized media age that the internet has enabled. And, very importantly, it’s something that is enabled by the enthusiastic sharing of our content that you all do — imagine how little influence this independent, bootstrapped blog would have if you didn’t click all those colorful buttons on the tops and sides of our posts. Keep (or start) clicking those!
Thirdly, I hadn’t really covered green cars at all until the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf came onto the scene. And the same goes for CleanTechnica as a whole. We’ve covered biofuels for a long time. (Particularly, CleanTechnica senior reporter Tina Casey and reporter Adam Johnston have covered that beat). But, for years, we didn’t cover much else in the clean transport space. Of course, as the electric vehicle revolution slowly got rolling, we made it a priority, and I have personally become somewhat obsessed with EVs. But that still feels like a rather recent development.
So, all I can say is, I’m happy Appinions showed the Top 20 list instead of the Top 10 list!
If you’re curious about the rest of Appinions’ presentation (which is quite interesting and goes far beyond fuel economy), here’s the full slideshare:
If you can’t view the slideshare for some reason, here’s a key quote about the study, followed by some key slides (in my somewhat influential opinion):
“Appinions is an opinion-based influence marketing platform designed to give companies the unmatched ability to identify, analyze, engage, monitor and measure influencers. Built on more than a decade of Cornell University research, Appinions extracts and aggregates opinions from more than 6 million sources including blogs, social networks, forums, and newspaper and magazine articles, thus providing a more complete picture of influence. By analyzing opinion, Appinions can focus on the thought-leaders most capable of impacting a conversation.”
Lastly (and perhaps this should have been first), I’d like to give a huge thanks to the many readers who have taught me probably more than half of what I know about fuel economy and clean cars. I think that, more than anything, I’m simply an agent for crowdsourcing the knowledge and ideas of the many cleantech experts, semi-experts, and thoughtful human beings whose work or views I get to read on a daily basis.