10 Tech Stars: Will They Deliver in 2015? - InformationWeek
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10 Tech Stars: Will They Deliver in 2015?

Juniper Research names the top 10 tech leaders and -- as with any good top 10 list -- we quibble with the rankings.
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(Image: Peshkova/iStockphoto)

(Image: Peshkova/iStockphoto)

Juniper Research released a white paper today listing its Top 10 Tech Leaders, Influencers and Visionaries of 2015. Who doesn't love a top 10 list? Of course, the best thing about a top 10 list is that you get to argue endlessly about the rankings, who belongs on the list, and who is overrated. And this list gives us plenty of fodder for debate -- including the utter lack of women in the top 10.

Before we dissect the list as we would the pre-season football polls, let's look at the criteria Juniper chose for compling the rankings. The first thing to understand is that Juniper Research decided to make it harder on itself: The firm isn't recognizing the most influential people of last year. Rather, it's attempting to predict who will be most influential in the 12 months ahead. Predicting the future and then making a top 10 list out of it doubles the fun.

Executives are ranked based on eight criteria: Innovation, scalability, reach, business model, personal capital (personal influence), outside impact, end-user impact, and vision. For the most part, the criteria seem aimed at going beyond growth or results inside a company. Juniper Research wanted to measure impact across a variety of sectors. That makes sense, because we're not judging "best CEO" or "Wall St. MVP." Juniper Research is measuring the impact these execs are having on technology, and tech is a bigger game than the bottom line.

Juniper Research's analyst team created a short list of 20 tech leaders it thought were most likely to score well on the list. Then, the team assigned a score ranking in each category. The total scores were tallied to come up with the list. Out of respect for the leaders on the list, Juniper Research did not make the individual scores public.

One of the most interesting things about the list (I promise, no spoilers), is that it includes traditional tech "leaders" as well as those with design responsibilities. It is clear that Juniper Research took the idea of who imagines and envisions the technology very seriously when putting together the rankings. Some traditional movers and shakers are nowhere to be found, while other names will surprise you.

Check out the list, counted down like any good top 10, and tell us what you think. Who is overrated? Who did Juniper miss? Who should have been No. 1? Let's debate in the comments section below.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

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SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/1/2015 | 8:18:24 AM
Re: Elon Musk
You've got to love a guy who says "gasoline cars are dead" then goes out and builds an electric car that can actually compete with them and does so well enough that the big companies are copying/borrowing from them.  Or a guy that says the world would be better if we could get some more things into orbit then goes out and makes a way to get things into orbit at a lower cost.  He's pushing industries not just because he has the mind to do it but the will to do it.  So many brilliant people just say "oh that's too crazy to catch on" so their idea sits for decades until the public is ready.  I like Musk's approach of doing it on his own if the public isn't ready to pitch in just yet.  
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/31/2015 | 12:14:25 PM
Re: High priced speculation
@asksqn- The problem is all the times the 8-Ball says, "Ask again later." Takes up a lot of time. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/31/2015 | 12:12:35 PM
Re: Geared up
@nasimon- I actually think it had the vision, but not the product. Which is why it bought Nokia. I mean Bill Gates was way ahead of his time with WebTv and other parts of his whole house strategy. The idea was too soon and now to me looks like Roku or Apple TV or insert your favorite smart TV accessory here. Basically, they decided in a way that seemed to make sense for them that they were a software company. That was a highly profitable decision.

They didn't do poorly so much as they were passed by the rise of a new set of hardware. They didn't have the internal skills to do anything about it at first. I think unlike some other companies (IBM comes to mind) they did a great job of responding to threats form multiple areas (their cloud response to Amazon has been fantastic, in my opinion). 

The Surface was also an amazingly good and quick response to the iPad. 

Anyway, I'm not 100% sure it is fair to blame a software company for not being the first to take advantage of a new line of hardware. And when the opportunity sprung up they jumped on it. Ballmer started it. Nadella seems to be keeping them down a good road.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/31/2015 | 12:04:19 PM
Re: Netflix content creator?
@nasimon- Netflix produces shows and pays to have many others produced. Shows like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards. Granted, I don't believe anyone is specifically writing scripts inside Netflix's offices, but that's true of a lot of content companies. Netflix curates, pays for, and chooses to produce shows that otherwise wouldn't be produced. I consider that content creation just like if a magazine were produced by a company but written by all freelancers or something.
progman2000
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progman2000,
User Rank: Ninja
5/31/2015 | 9:13:32 AM
Re: For some reason it's never been in vogue to be a Bezos fan
I will say I'm not really sure that Musk is underrated. Tesla and Solar City has had huge run-ups in the stock market over the last year. Recetntly they have actually pulled back quite a bit - I thought the Elon effect was actually over rated for a bit there.
nasimson
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nasimson,
User Rank: Ninja
5/31/2015 | 8:37:02 AM
what an inspiring list
What an inspiring list of dreamers and executors of this age. They are having a profound impact within our life time. I am amazed by the future of technology.
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Ninja
5/31/2015 | 12:19:29 AM
Re: For some reason it's never been in vogue to be a Bezos fan
I agree I love Amazon products and tablets. I think they are underrated and provide cost efficient options for users. I also agree that Elon Musk will be known for enahancing batteries not for Tesla cars. Getting the battery to last and harness the power it needs to power us in a mobile world is the NBT if he can make it work.
progman2000
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progman2000,
User Rank: Ninja
5/30/2015 | 9:18:41 PM
For some reason it's never been in vogue to be a Bezos fan
But I hope he delivers big. I am personally vested in Amazon so I am biased but lets face it they are ginormous, he must be doing something right.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
5/30/2015 | 7:42:16 PM
Re: Elon Musk
@ David. I agree. I give more credit to Musk because he is making things.  The things his company are creating is really making a difference in the various industries he is taking part.  He is also willing and taking change in new directions.  Not just following the path past leaders have establish for him.
nasimson
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nasimson,
User Rank: Ninja
5/30/2015 | 8:58:53 AM
Netflix content creator?
> Netflix undoubtedly disrupted an industry, and continues
> to do so as a content creator. I don't mean to underestimate
> the contributions Netflix is making to storage ...

Netflix is a content distributor, not a creator. Or am I missing something here?

 
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