Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Anton Zuiker: 'Quiet Visionary' & 'Local Brand'

I've been telling you for years about the humble brilliance of my friend Anton Zuiker, whose life and work embody the highest form of servant leadership. The best part about him is that he's never satisfied: somehow he keeps topping himself. The last time he came through town, he filled me in on the mind-numbing progress of his science blogging conference in North Carolina's Research Triangle. After the initial annual event, which drew scientists from around the country, he landed a sizable foundation grant to help underwrite the second one, scheduled for January (participants will be coming from as far away as Sweden for that one).

So I'm especially pleased that North Carolina's largest newspaper, Charlotte's News & Observer (he lives 150 miles away in Durham) has recognized what a gem he is. In a recent piece, it had this to say about him: "The Web has evolved into a tribal Internet of passionate bloggers like Zuiker, and he has become a sort-of local brand. He's a quiet visionary. He's a low-key doer. He's a let's-get-together-and-see-where-this-goes guy. It's the Zuikers of this new, interwoven world who may play a significant role in determining how far Web 2.0 goes from being a sociable network to a social force...A couple of years ago, Zuiker and several other Triangle bloggers began to reach out to other bloggers in the region to talk about everything from the techie part of creating a blog to content, style and their wide-ranging interests. The group became and would have periodic gatherings, barbecues and even a bowling meet-up."

Last year, he wrote this interesting piece for the same paper. Last week, he hosted a fellow former Northern Ohio Live editor, author Michael Ruhlman, for a food blogging event. Next month, he'll be a presenter at the uniquely stimulating Converge South conference in nearby Greensboro, where he'll talk about yet another of his online initiatives. And he does all this while holding down a fulltime job and being a great dad to two small girls. Like I said--servant leadership.


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