Top 25 Most Significant People in Tech

4 min

Innovation and technology hold high levels of importance in today’s data-driven society. Technology is evolving so rapidly, it’s often hard to keep up with. Not long ago, people could never have imagined living in a world with artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality, self-driving cars and package-delivering drones.

Every day there is a new idea to make our lives easier, create a better future for our children or peel away the boundary between humans and computers. Some would say tech executives are the new celebrities. Perhaps Silicon Valley is the new Hollywood. Whatever you think, there is no doubt that the names listed below have been influential to the world we live in today. Though they are not all executives and not all of their impacts are positive, they are all somehow involved in influencing the tech sphere.

Below are 25 people –in no particular order – that we believe are the most significant in tech right now:

1. Ajit Pai

Known for being an advocate for the repeal of net neutrality, Ajit Pai is the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). He recently proposed measures to help mobile phone carriers block robocalls.

2. Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg is the CEO and co-founder of Facebook. He started the popular social network in college has led Facebook through acquisitions of Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus. Zuckerberg has recently been in hot water over fake news and user data privacy.

3. Satya Nadella

Since 2014, when Satya Nadella took over as the CEO of Microsoft, he has been a strong leader for the company, which now has an almost trillion dollar market cap. Under Nadella, Microsoft built its huge cloud computing platform, Azure and acquired LinkedIn and Github.

4. Xi Jinping

President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping launched the initiative, Made in China 2025. He planned to make China a powerful, self-sufficient force in technology and manufacturing, though the country is now withdrawing the clause about self-sufficiency.

5. Rich Hickey

Rich Hickey is the CTO if Cognitec. Cognitec is the parent company of the database, Datomic and the dynamic programming language, Clojure – both created by Hickey.

6. Bill Gates

Bill Gates is the second richest person in the world and the co-founder of the world’s biggest PC company, Microsoft. Gates is also a philanthropist and a humanitarian with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

7. Larry Page

Larry Page is the CEO of Google’s holding company, Alphabet and the co-founder of Google. Sergey Brin, Page’s friend and Stanford classmate, is Google’s other co-founder. Unlike other tech founders, Page has become increasingly distant from the public spotlight. Nevertheless, some of the processes he has put in place, carried out by the current leadership team are having a huge impact on organizations worldwide, including the media industry.

8. Evan You

Evan You, a software developer, is the creator of Vue.js, a popular open-source JavaScript framework. Much of the work he does is open source and is available to the public on GitHub. It is now hugely popular around the world.

9. Avi and Henri Ben Ezra

Avi Ben Ezra and Henri Ben Ezra are the two Israeli brothers behind the innovative chatbot company. SnatchBot. The brand has roused record-breaking adoption since launching, enabling businesses to create chatbots to fight credit card fraud and perform some of the most advanced customer service ever, with bots working alongside humans. It is fair to say that their technology have disrupted the highest number of industries: including government agencies.

10. Richard Stallman

Richard Stallman is the founder and president of the Free Software Foundation, a nonprofit advocating for the rights of software users. The foundation was created to support the free software movement, promoting the freedom to create, modify and distribute computer software.

11. Jeff Bezos

As the founder and CEO of Amazon, the most valuable public company, Jeff Bezos has revolutionized the way we shop. In addition to announcing one-day shipping and the purchase of Whole Foods, Amazon recently made a significant investment in a Tesla competitor.

12. Werner Vogels

Werner Vogels, the vice president and chief technology officer of Amazon, is known as the cloud computing guru. Vogels drives technology innovation in the company and is the only executive other than Bezos to speak publicly about Amazon.

13. Elon Musk

Elon Musk is the CEO and the co-founder of Tesla, where his mission is to accelerate the transition to a sustainable energy future. He is also co-founder and CEO of SpaceX where he is also the lead designer, overseeing the development of rockets and spacecraft to go to Mars.

14. Andrew Ng

Andrew Ng is the co-founder of Coursera and the chief scientist at Baidu, which comprises of the Silicon Valley AI Lab, Institute of Deep Learning and Big Data Lab. Ng has over 100 papers published on AI, machine learning and robotics.

15. Demis Hassabis

Demis is the co-founder and CEO of DeepMind, now a division of Google, which develops AI technology. DeepMind developed AlphaGom a computer program designed to play the board game Go.

16. Linus Torvalds

Linus Torvalds is the creator of the open-source operating platform, Linux. Running everything from cars to supercomputers, Linux is a global solution and one of the most reliable operating systems in the world.

17. Lisa Su

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) ‘s CEO and president, Lisa Su is credited for expanding the company into the graphics and video game chip market. ADM provides the chips for Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox.

18. Jeff Dean

Jeff Dean is a senior fellow at Google, where he is in charge of the deep learning AI research team called the Google Brain project. Googlers give Dean praise for Google search’s quick speed.

19. Vitalik Buterin

The creator of the second-most valued blockchain platform, Ethereum, Vitalk Buterin, is active in the cryptocurrency community and is only 23 years old. He also co-founded the popular cryptocurrency news site, Bitcoin Magazine.

20. Jon Skeet

Although Jon Skeet is famous for being the top user in terms of reputation on Stack Overflow, he is also a Google software engineer. He is very knowledgeable about C# and published the book C# in Depth in 2008.

21. Sundar Pichai

The CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, took over for co-founder Larry Page in 2014. Before that, Pichai led innovation efforts for Google Chrome, Chrome OS and Google Toolbar. 

22. Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s policies on tech are that he is not supportive of Europe’s fines on America’s firms, yet he also is talking about antitrust investigations against these firms. Amazon, Facebook and Google are the companies under fire. 

23. Jack Ma

The co-founder of Alibaba, the world’s largest e-commerce business with the world’s biggest public stock offering, Jack Ma, was once an English teacher. Ma announced this year he will be stepping down from his position as executive chairman.

24. Dan Abramov

Dan Abramov is a software engineer on the React team at Facebook and the co-author of Redux. Redux is a JavaScript library that is commonly used with React to build user interfaces.

25. Tim Cook

As CEO after Steve Jobs, Tim Cook led Apple to become the first trillion dollar company. Cook was hired by Jobs in 1997 as the senior VP of worldwide operations and he became COO in 2007, the year of the iPhone.

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