Jon Leibowitz

Chairman, Federal Trade Commission

  • It’s no wonder David Vladeck has been shifting the emphasis at the Bureau of Consumer Protection from pro-business to pro-consumer: his boss, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, is of the same ilk. Leibowitz’s most recent pet project is combating what he calls the cyberazzi, or the reams of invisible data catchers that track individuals' online movements for advertising purposes. Leibowitz, an advocate of an open-yet-safe Internet, recently said he'd consider a “chaperoned” version of Facebook for kids younger than 13.

    #4 in Navigators Combined score: 66.8

Doug Leone

Partner, Sequoia Capital

  • Leone has been a partner at Sequoia for nearly two decades. He’s led the firm’s Chinese and Indian expansion. Recent investment successes include mobile network manager Aruba Networks and hosting company Rackspace, which went public five years ago, as well as data intelligence firm Netezza, which was acquired by IBM in 2009, two years after its IPO. Another investment, customized gift maker CafePress, went public in March.

    #7 in Angels Combined score: 64.4

Lawrence Lessig

Cofounder, Creative Commons

  • One of the Internet’s most thoughtful and outspoken commentators, Lawrence "Larry" Lessig is an academic-cum-activist. The Harvard Law professor pioneered Creative Commons, the Web’s preeminent open-licensing system: an online alternative to copyright protection. He’s also helped lead the Stanford Center for Internet and Society and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. With degrees in management, law, and philosophy from Wharton, Penn, Cambridge, and Yale, the self-described “constitutionalist” clerked for both Federal judge Richard Posner and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. A thinker who takes the political implications of the Internet age seriously, Lessig is a zealous and well-schooled evangelist for the open Web.

    #7 in Evangelists Combined score: 64.0

Bradley Manning

U.S. Army Whistleblower

  • The Army intelligence analyst is accused of 22 counts of U.S. Military code violations, including aiding the enemy, for allegedly providing WikiLeaks with hundreds of thousands of classified documents regarding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The leaks were the largest breach of American military security to date, and have been called a catalyst for Arab Spring. Derided as a traitor and hailed as a hero, Bradley Manning remains in prison awaiting trial, which is scheduled for September. The latest motion from his civilian attorney asks for the government to release 250,000 pages of documents it allegedly has regarding Manning’s transmission of state secrets.

    #9 in Revolutionaries Combined score: 47.6

Josh Marshall

Founder, Talking Points Memo

  • It’s hard to believe that Talking Points Memo is just over a decade old. The little liberal blog that could has since become an influential source for original reporting, and a real force on the Hill. For his own part, its founder, Josh Marshall, has kept up the buzz with spinoffs TPMCafe and TPMMuckraker, both sources for up-to-the-minute and often exclusive political commentary and news. After breaking news of politically motivated U.S. attorney dismissals in 2007, Marshall took heat from across the partisan spectrum—but then was proven right by mainstream press reports. Even Jay Carney had to apologize.

    #7 in Opinionists Combined score: 63.0

Mike Masnick

Founder, Techdirt

  • Mike Masnick is perhaps best known to the tech world as founder of the popular blog Techdirt, but to most Americans he’s the guy who in 2005 coined the phrase “the Streisand effect,” which refers to the Web’s tendency to subvert attempts at hiding information. (Barbra Streisand had sued a photographer to take down an aerial photo of her house. The image had been downloaded six times, but after the lawsuit became public, more than 400,000 people visited the photographer’s website.) More recently, Masnick has been using his Techdirt platform to argue vigorously in favor of Internet copyright legislation that benefits the public first and foremost.

    #10 in Navigators Combined score: 59.2

Yukihiro Matsumoto

Chief Architect, Ruby, Heroku

  • “Matz,” as the 47-year-old Japanese programmer Yukihiro Matsumoto is affectionately called amongst developers, is the creator of the Ruby programming language. Introduced in the 1990s, Ruby is an object-oriented language (meaning, when building code, a programmer can identify any bit of data as an individual object, making it easier to command) that has earned praise from the coding community for its simplicity and practicality. After gaining a steady following in the open-source community, Ruby’s popularity exploded in part due to the Ruby on Rails framework developed by David Heinemeier Hansson (who is also featured on the Digital Power Index). In July 2011 Matz joined Heroku, a cloud-hosting company owned by

    #8 in Builders Combined score: 53.6

Marissa Mayer

Vice President of Location and Local Services, Google

  • Hired in 1999 as Google’s first female engineer, Mayer now spearheads the company’s campaign to recruit local businesses, competing with companies such as Yelp and Groupon for an estimated $35.2 billion market. Mayer nabbed the promotion to vice president of location and local services in 2010, after achieving success in search products. But her influence is likely most evident as one of the few public faces of Google. She regularly appears on the conference circuit and in press rounds and has become an emissary for women in tech.

    #6 in Evangelists Combined score: 66.0

Sascha Meinrath

Director, New America Foundation Open Technology Initiative

  • Since 2009, Sascha Meinrath has been spearheading the Open Technology Initiative at New America Foundation: an effort to develop open-source, low-cost community wireless networks, particularly in underserved areas. In April, the NAF announced the formation of the OTI and named Meinrath a vice president of the foundation. It’s no surprise that Meinrath was one of the more prominent Internet culture leaders to oppose SOPA and PIPA last year.

    #9 in Navigators Combined score: 60.0

Dave Morin

Founder and CEO, Path

  • Path is, in essence, an online journal that can be shared with a close circle of friends. The mobile app notched 2 million users earlier this year, following relatively rapid growth after the release of an updated version in late 2011. Morin created the company in 2010 as an alternative to Facebook, where he’d worked since 2006 when the site had just 10 million users. He also did an early stint at Apple, where he developed the platform that allows developers to build Facebook applications. Trivia fact: Morin was previously a nationally ranked downhill skier.

    #9 in Visionaries Combined score: 47.4

Ed Morrissey

Blogger, Hot Air

  • The staunch conservative got his start with an energetic personal blog, “Captain’s Quarters,” that exploded on the force of his writing, bringing in guest contributors like Senators John McCain and James Inhofe. (When he started blogging, Morrissey was working as the manager of a call center.) He now co-blogs with the anonymous Allahpundit on and writes a weekly column for, delivering right-wing boilerplate with spice. Incidentally, Keith Olbermann has named Ed Morrissey both the “Best Person in the World” and the “Worst Person in the World” on different occasions.

    #6 in Opinionists Combined score: 63.4

Matt Mullenweg

Cofounder, WordPress

  • With a personal website like, you know he’s a digital powerhouse. Matt Mullenweg was just 19 years old when he first began work on what would become WordPress. Now 28, Mullenweg, the founding developer of the now popular open-source blogging software, has watched it grow to power more than 70 million websites (it’s used by 49 of the top 100 blogs on the Web). Most recently, Mullenweg, who lives in San Francisco, was listed by Forbes as one of the most influential angel investors on AngelList, a funding platform that connects investors with entrepreneurs, through which he invests in five to six startups at $25,000-$100,000 a year.

    #6 in Builders Combined score: 55.4

Elon Musk

Founder, SpaceX

  • The cofounder of PayPal, the online payment system that was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002, Musk has dedicated the last decade to innovative technologies in space travel, electric cars, and solar power. He founded SpaceX, the rocket engineering company that recently sent an unmanned capsule to the International Space Station, and hopes to capitalize on the expectation that private industry will supplant NASA. He’s cofounder and head of product design at electric car company Tesla Motors, and the largest shareholder of solar power system maker SolarCity.

    #6 in Visionaries Combined score: 71.0


Tunisian Blog Collective

  • The only publication nominated as a digital influencer, Nawaat is a blog started by Sami Ben Gharbia, Sufian Guerfali, and Riadh Guerfali in 2004. It began as a platform for Tunisians disenchanted with government censorship and fraud. The site was integral to the coverage of the Tunisian Revolution, which began in December 2010, despite overwhelming efforts by Tunisian authorities to make the site inaccessible. After Tunisian President Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia, the site’s administrators turned some of their attention to training Internet activists and building the Arab activist community.

    #6 in Revolutionaries Combined score: 52.2

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