The media is buzzing with news that Elon Musk has now become the richest person in the world - surpassing Amazon founder Jeff Bezos by nearly $10 billion. Musk's worth is reportedly sitting at around $194 billion. But, despite his impressive wealth and significant success at just 49 years old, Musk isn't the only person worth noting in the tech world. We can't ignore his importance and influence, but let's take a look at the other major players in the tech field. They all deserve our attention. While this list is by no means all-encompassing, here are some of the most important and influential people making waves in tech right now...
The most influential people in tech right now
1). Elon Musk
Yes, he had to be on the list. Not only has Elon Musk become the world's richest person, but he's made incredible contributions to the world of technology along the way. Forbes Technology Council's John Walsh III says, '[Musk] has influenced everything from digging tunnels more cheaply to connecting brains to machines, space launches, electric cars, rapid transportation, and electricity generation and storage—each time having an opportunity to radically reshape a particular market.' You can't deny, he's an important person in tech.
2). Jack Dorsey
As the CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey could be the tech leader of our generation. While he's the mastermind behind the social media giant, he's also determined to curb the spread of false information on the platform. Aside from Twitter, Dorsey also brought us financial payments company Square that has been influential in the digital banking and cryptocurrency space.
3). Pavel Durov
As questions around WhatsApp's privacy terms flood the media, the name Pavel Durov is coming up more and more. Not because he's in any way connected to Facebook or WhatsApp, but because he founded the increasingly popular alternative social networking platform, Telegram Messenger. In today's climate, Durov says he's confident WhatsApp won't be able to compete with Telegram's offering.
4). Tobi Lütke
German-Canadian entrepreneur and CEO of Shopify, Tobi Lütke is a name to remember in the tech industry. Rather than trying to take over the world of online shopping (ie, like Amazon), Lütke's company enables and encourages small, medium and large business to launch their own e-commerce sites. Forbes Technology Council's Maddison Long says, 'Tobi’s people-centric approach to leadership differentiates him from the Jeff Bezoses and Mark Zuckerbergs of this world.'
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5). Meredith Whittaker
The first woman on the list! And for good reason. Research scientist and co-founder of the AI Now Institute, Whittaker has become known for her no holds barred approach to demanding diversity and accountability in Big Tech companies. She's led walkouts from Google for their lack of accountability and diversity, and has become a spokesperson for AI ethics. This has led her to be known as 'the thorn in Big Tech's side'. In addition, she's also a member of the Board of Directors for private communication service, Signal.
6). Neil Gunther
A relatively unknown name in most households, but Gunther's role in the 'behind the scenes' tech world is substantial. Computer researcher Neil Gunther is responsible for developing the universal law for computational scalability. In short, his research has allowed people to understand how to scale computational systems. This is crucial in understanding the dynamics behind agile teams and how to achieve scalability in organisations.
7). Jeff Bezos
Like him or hate him, Bezos has made impressive contributions to the tech world. Somewhat a tech celebrity, the Amazon CEO has certainly made a name for himself. CEO of healthcare consultant company Alivi, Magdiel Rodriguez sums it up well when he says, 'When you look at all the companies, brands and organizations you interact with on a daily basis, you will be hard-pressed to find one that Jeff Bezos doesn’t influence, whether directly or indirectly. He might not be a tech professional but he does influence almost every industry'.
8). Susan Wojcicki
This powerhouse woman was the 16th employee at Google all those years ago, and is now the CEO of YouTube. As the Google Marketing Manager, she worked on the development of Google Images and AdSense. She was the person who initially suggested the company acquire YouTube back in 2006. She's also been outspoken about the gender gap in the tech industry as women only hold 20-30% of the positions.
9). Antonio Neri
CEO of fintech company Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Neri has been influential in the way he does business. And in how he's structuring the HPE business model. Recently, he's committed to running HPE as a service-led organisation, creating an 'Everything-As-A-Service' model. This is a brave move when you consider the traditional hardware-based sales models of most IT companies. IT expert Jo Peterson says, 'Neri’s engineering background, customer-centric approach and strategic acquisitions put HPE ahead in the market.'
10). Reshma Saujani
Another important woman in the world of tech, Saujani is committed to seeing more women in the historically male-dominated industry. She's an author, lawyer and avid programmer and, in 2012, founded the non-profit organisation Girls Who Code. On top of all of this, she was also the first Indian-American woman to run for Congress in the US. Saujani is sure to keep making waves in the world of tech - and politics - for many years to come.
Think there should be other people on this list, too? Let us know in the comments section below...