Over the last decade, technology executives, startup founders, and venture capital investors have become America’s new rock stars. Tech titans like Apple and Google have become some of the most profitable and respected companies in the country, and their leaders have been celebrated as icons of American innovation. Millions of people use their products every day. Internet-based startups like Facebook and Twitter have grown to become central players in American life. In cities across the country, thousands of young people are launching their own companies, perhaps hoping to become the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg.
In a series called the TIME Tech 40, we’re highlighting the most influential figures in technology. From the top CEOs and startup entrepreneurs to the most respected venture capitalists and tech “big thinkers,” we’ll call out the individuals changing the landscape of American business.