1 & 2) Larry Page and Sergey BrinThe founders of Google have built their Yahoo-smashing search engine into a growing empire that shows no signs of slowing down. Page and Brin have an amazing knack for making good decisions and as a result have been able to move into the online advertising market, television and other markets, all while seeing their stock continue to rise. They are two genuine innovators residing at the top of our list.
3) Rupert MurdochRupert Murdoch is a man who understands the value of good content. The Australian mega-businessman and his Fox Corporation owns several of the most sought after film companies, newspapers and television networks in the world. Never afraid to go against the grain, Murdoch has become an influential figure because of his keen understanding of what the “masses” want to see in their news and entertainment.
4) Bill GatesAlthough he stepped down as the chairman of Microsoft in 2000, and moved to part time work at the company in 2006, it would be hard to imagine that Gates will not continue to be a force in the business world for the rest of his life. He and his wife Melinda are currently making an imprint on the world through their charitable acts in Africa and other points around the globe. Raising the quality of life for the world’s population certainly makes Bill Gates as influential as they come.
5) Steve JobsHow much does Steve Jobs mean to Apple and the business community as a whole? When recent rumors that Jobs was very sick with an undetermined illness surfaced (they later turned out not to be true) Apple stock lost a good chunk of its value – despite near-record earnings for that quarter! It’s hard to deny the influence of a man who has so radically changed the computer industry (Apple), the music business (iPod), the mobile phone industry (iPhone) and even Hollywood (Pixar Studios).
6) Larry EllisonAs the founder of database giant Oracle Systems, Ellison reshaped the way we use computers and access information. And while many would simply have rested on their laurels (and hundreds of millions of dollars) Ellison continues to look for new ways to reinvent the technology sector. Ellison buys up software companies he believes have industry-changing potential and then uses his own drive and muscle to guide them into profitability.
7) Warren BuffettEveryone from world leaders and blue-haired old-ladies hang on every word that comes out of Warren Buffett’s mouth. Why? Because he’s made them all buckets and buckets of money! With his folksy wisdom and uncanny ability to pick winning stocks and develop smart financial strategies, Buffett remains a highly influential figure in both Bull and Bear markets. Need to check his credibility? Warren Buffett is currently the second richest man in America.
8 & 9) Jerry Yang and David FiloThe founders of Yahoo! may have had their hands full in recent years dealing with Google and its seeming endless onslaught of innovation, but Yang and Filo are still forces to be reckoned with in the Internet business. They have formed several strategic partnerships that have changed the way people get their information online – and continue to push Yahoo! forward as one of the most important companies of the 21st century.
10) Steven SpielbergMuch more than a producer-director, Steven Spielberg continues to be a tastemaker and a trend-setter in the entertainment business. In a Hollywood-world where you’re only as good as your last hit, Spielberg has had incredible longevity – banging out hit after hit for over 30 years. And when the studios couldn’t get things done to his satisfaction, he started his own, forming Dreamworks Studios with partners (and fellow influencers) Jeffery Katzenberg and David Geffen. Spielberg is now involved in the growing video game industry as well – proving once again that he can recognize a powerful trend when he sees one.
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