TIME Magazine just released its hotly-anticipated annual list of the world’s 100 most influential people, many of whom built their names through digital and tech innovation.
After careful deliberation, we’ve come up with our favourite ten from the list, and would also like to give a nod to roboticist Henrik Schärfe, MIT researcher Donald Sadoway and hackers Anonymous. These are the ones that made our clear cut:
Salman Khan, founder, Khan Academy
Khan Academy aims to provide nothing less than a free, top-notch education to anyone, anywhere. The site, dreamt up by ex-hedge fund manager Khan in his Silicon Valley apartment, offers short lessons on everything from maths to history, with over 140 million lessons delivered so far.
Ben Rattray, founder, Change.org
Ben Rattray, 31, started petition platform Change.org in 2005 to provide a better way for people to tell their stories and promote their causes. Successes include helping force major US banks to drop an unexpected fee and helping close anti-gay clinics in Ecuador. Rattray plans to open offices in 20 countries by the end of this year.
Hans Rosling, co-founder, Gapminder Foundation
Rosling, 63, is passionate about advancing the public’s understanding of data and science. His foundation, Gapminder, pioneered software to convert statistics into stunning interactive graphics (Trendalyzer – acquired by Google in 2007). Oh, and he can swallow swords…
Pete Cashmore, founder, Mashable
Pete Cashmore, 26, started Mashable from his bedroom in Scotland when he was 19. It’s now one of the world’s largest websites and a must-read for social media news junkies. If he could invite any three people to dinner, they’d be Richard Branson, Albert Einstein and Bono.
Marc Andreessen, VC
Marc Andreeseen, 40, co-wrote the first popular web browser and co-founded Netscape (acquired by AOL in 1998 for $4.2 billion). Now, he’s put together $2.7 billion in funds with partner Ben Horowitz to back companies changing the way the web is used, from Facebook, Twitter and Skype, to Pinterest and Instagram.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook
The list of organisations on 42-year-old Harvard grad Sheryl Sandberg’s resume is impressive: McKinsey, US Treasury (chief of staff), Google (vice president) and, since 2008, Facebook. She’s not only helping grow Facebook’s user base – she’s monetising it.
Apple’s 51-year-old former chief operating officer faces the daunting task of picking up where legendary Apple founder Steve Jobs left off. Cook joined Apple in 1998. He’s credited with pulling Apple out of manufacturing, a dull-sounding move that nevertheless transformed the company’s efficiency.
Swedish serial entrepreneur Daniel Ek, 29, runs Spotify, the company tipped to save the recording industry from the twin threats of piracy and iTunes. He founded his first company at age 14 and started legal music streaming service Spotify in 2008. Apparently, he drinks six coffees a day.
Virginia Rometty, CEO, IBM
Ginni Rometty, 54, made history last October as the first woman to lead IT behemoth IBM. During her 30 years with IBM, she’s pushed it into cloud computing and analytics, emerging markets India, China and Brazil, and more corporate responsibility. Now, with oversight of $6 billion investment a year in R&D, she’ll have more influence than ever.
Erik Martin, general manager, Reddit
Erik Martin – 33, San Francisco Bay Area resident – is the guiding force behind viral news board Reddit. As TIME’s staff point out, under his leadership, Reddit played a pivotal role in organising protests against the SOPA and PIPA antipiracy laws last year.
Who else deserves a mention? Write a comment below or tweet us @venturevillage.