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Can a software developer change the world?

Which people will change the 21st Century? Could software developers actually matter?

I'm sitting on a flight to Boston, with my seat companion, US Senator John Kerry, next to me. He lucked out - I'm the perfect person to sit next to on a flight as I hate to talk on flights (and he was accosted by nearly everyone in the Salt Lake Airport). Must have spent the weekend in Utah skiing. (You mean you didn't?)

But several rows behind me is Jon Karlen of IDG Ventures with his family. (I offered to change seats with him and babysit. He demurred but give him four hours with his children in a confined space and I'm betting he'll take me up on it. :-) Jon and I talked before we boarded the plane and he was telling me about some of the investments he's considering. One, in particular, is highly interesting to me.

Which is the more important person? Senator Kerry is the obvious response. But is he? We're in the middle of disrupting a staid software industry now, and Jon's investments (at least, one of them) may well prove to be a key in that disruption.

Can software change the world? I was taught by my professor and thesis advisor, Larry Lessig, that code matters. Can code matter more than a senator? I think so. Code changes us, often without our knowing it.

Your thoughts? Does software matter this much?