Lewis Ranieri, 52
Vice chairman, Hyperion Capital Management Inc.; developed the mortgage-backed securities market while a bond trader at Salomon Brothers Inc. during the late 1970s and 1980s
"When the United States was young and they connected the two coasts with a telegraph, it was a remarkable technological breakthrough. We're at the beginning of a revolution like that with the whole restructuring of financial services. If I were able to be in the beginning of my career, I hope I would be a thinker and a shaper. I have always been involved in the broad spectrum of institutions and assets.
"What intrigues me is the balance between electronic commerce and traditional methods. There's no question about the power of the new technology, but we're only seeing one side of a double-edged sword. We see the convenience, content and cost savings that cyberspace gives you, but what is the price? Loss of individuality and physical contact.
"The last time we had a recession, people had a little credit, most owned their car and they were trying to pay off their mortgage. Now, there's much more leverage in the system.
"How will this dispassionate, Orwellian machine we are building treat everyone in the lean years? The financial services structure we are carrying into those years has never existed. It's a culture that has never been tested.
"We are, at the same time, physical and intellectual beings. There's a great appeal for us in cyberspace, but there is a great appeal for us as individuals as well. That's the balance that must be struck. Our essential humanness is what is at risk here."