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Silicon Valley TOP10: The most amazing and inspiring people in tech right now

Silicon Valley TOP10: The most amazing and inspiring people in tech right now

OHMYGOSSIP – There’s a misconception that Silicon Valley is all about creating frivolous apps and getting paid buckets of money to do it while working in a frat house. Some of the brogrammer culture does exist in pockets, but it doesn’t define the cradle of innovation where thousands work and create in Silicon Valley. Here is Silicon Valley´s TOP 10 most amazing and inspiring people in tech right now.

1. Mark Zuckerberg
Cofounder and CEO, Facebook

It has been a big year for Zuckerberg. At Facebook’s annual F8 developers conference in April, he laid out a 10-year road map for Facebook, detailing short-term plans to ramp up video, search, and apps, such as Instagram and WhatsApp, in the next five years. The company’s long-term focus will include bigger projects like drones, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality.

Zuckerberg also became a dad last fall, prompting him to pledge to give away 99% of his $50 billion fortune throughout his lifetime. He will do so primarily through a new organization he cofounded with his wife, Priscilla Chan, called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which is aimed at making long-term investments in causes and organizations that will improve health, education, and equality.

2. Larry Page
Cofounder and CEO, Alphabet

Once just a search engine, Google has grown so tremendously that its cofounders felt it was time to restructure the company. In a letter last summer, Page announced the creation of Alphabet, a holding company that oversees Google and numerous other subsidiaries. As Alphabet’s CEO, Page can focus on acquiring new technologies, fostering “moonshot” projects, and developing talent — his first move was promoting Google’s Sundar Pichai from senior vice president to CEO.

In June, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that Page had personally acquired two companies working on creating a flying car, an investment unaffiliated with Alphabet.

3. Travis Kalanick
Cofounder and CEO, Uber

Worth $68 billion, the ride-hailing service Uber, helmed by Kalanick, holds steady in its place as the most valuable private tech company in the world. Under Kalanick’s leadership, the startup also raised the largest round of venture capital ever, bringing in $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in June.

Uber continues to expand and innovate, particularly through new services, such as UberEats, which brings meals to New York City customers, and UberRush, which helps businesses make deliveries. Kalanick leads the charge as Uber expands and conquers new markets, even as it faces fierce competition in China.

4. Elon Musk
CEO, Tesla; CEO and CTO, SpaceX; chairman, Solar City

Musk continues to be one of the world’s most influential entrepreneurs — and preeminent multitaskers. Musk has his eyes set on dominating land and space through Tesla Motors and SpaceX, two of the hottest and most progressive companies of our generation. In April, Musk unveiled Tesla’s mass-market Model 3, racking up 375,000 preorders in one month. The company is reportedly struggling to meet demand.

In June, Musk made a highly criticized all-stock offer for Tesla to acquire the floundering solar-energy company SolarCity; Musk owns 22% of the company and serves as its chairman. And if that weren’t enough, he also envisioned a futuristic transporation system called the Hyperloop that would take people from LA to San Francisco in less than an hour. One company building a system based on that idea has now secured $80 million in series B financing in May and has begun testing its technology.

5. Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner
Cofounder and executive chairman (Hoffman), CEO (Weiner), LinkedIn

In March, Weiner gave his $14 million stock bonus back to LinkedIn employees after the company’s stock tumbled 40% following the company’s tepid February earnings report. Weiner hoped the move would help reinvigorate employees and improve morale.

By June, the company’s stock-price woes had become moot. The tech world shook after Weiner and cofounder Hoffman oversaw the professional social network’s sale to Microsoft for a stunning $26.2 billion in cash. The deal marked Microsoft’s largest acquisition ever, with the software giant paying a 50% premium to close the deal. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella plans to eventually sync LinkedIn’s network with Microsoft Office, ideally bolstering the overall user experience on both sides.

6. Jack Dorsey
Cofounder and CEO, Twitter and Square

As CEO of both Square and Twitter, Dorsey has his fingerprints all over Silicon Valley. In November he took the mobile payment company Square public, opening at $9 a share, lower than the $11 to $13 originally proposed. Though some outlets called it a flop, many entrepreneurs would kill for the company’s $3 billion market capitalization and $1.3 billion in revenue.

And after returning to Twitter as interim CEO last July (and officially appointed CEO in October), Dorsey has spent the past year turning the struggling social network around by solidifying its mission and making product adjustments, including plans to incorporate more live video and crack down on the hateful abuse many users complain about.

7. Tim Cook
CEO, Apple

In the past 12 months, Cook guided the tech giant through the launch of Apple Music, which garnered 6.5 million paid subscribers in the first month after the service’s free-trial period; released the Apple TV 4, which can run third-party apps and access Siri; and introduced the iPad Pro, the company’s largest tablet, boldly declaring the end of PCs with it.

Under Cook, Apple also recently invested $1 billion into Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing service that is blowing Uber out of the water in China. The deal was Apple’s first major investment since it bought Beats Electronics in 2014.

8. Marc Benioff
Cofounder and CEO, Salesforce

It might not be a shiny, consumer-facing product, but the cloud computing software company Salesforce is crushing it and remains one of the hottest tech companies in the world. Helmed by Benioff, the $50 billion business boasts a 22% compound annual growth rate and is expected to rake in more than $8 billion in revenue this year.

Benioff has become a model CEO not just for financial success but also for social involvement, standing up for gender equality, workplace diversity, and LGBT rights. He has openly criticized legislation that could be used to discriminate against LGBT workers and publicly pledged to guarantee equal pay for men and women.

9. David Marcus
VP of messaging products, Facebook

It has been nearly two years since Marcus left his cushy job as president of PayPal to join the Facebook team as vice president of messaging products, a move he has called a “once-in-a-generation opportunity.” Under his rule, Facebook’s Messenger has grown into a beast of its own, with 900 million monthly active users as of April.

This year Marcus built out Messenger’s AI capabilities to include Spotify song sharing, Uber and Lyft ride hailing, food ordering, and flight tracking. And with the recent unveiling of chat bots for businesses, Messenger aims to make sure you never have to deal with human customer service again.

10. Brian Slingerland, Scott Dylla, and Daniel Reiner
Cofounders, Stemcentrx

Previously a Goldman Sachs vice president and a senior scientist at OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, respectively, Slingerland and Dylla publicly launched Stemcentrx in September along with Reiner, a serial investor and former telecom executive. Their mission: to end cancer by targeting cancer-specific stem cells.

Less than a year later, the pharma giant AbbVie bought the biotech startup for $10.2 billion, when the company was valued at $5 billion, in one of the largest tech acquisitions ever. AbbVie showed special interest in Stemcentrx’s lung-cancer-fighting drug Rova-T, which could grow the company’s oncology business. AbbVie hopes to bring the drug to market by 2018.

THE SILICON VALLEY 100: The most amazing and inspiring people in tech right now by Business Insider

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