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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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David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/29/2015 | 1:16:27 PM
Re: Elon Musk
@SaneIT- What I love about Musk is the wide playing field. Sure, Johny Ive designes the most beautiful products and millions of people use them. But there's something about a guy who knows how to connect the dots between cars and space and solar panels and batteries that is just a whole different level of vision. It is like the QB that sees the whole field.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/29/2015 | 1:18:45 PM
Re: 10 Tech Stars: Will They Deliver in 2015?
@zerox203- Well, I agree with you that it might seem arbitrary, but I think that is the nature of making lists like these. I think the goal of a list like this should be to inspire people to think rather than to "get it right" and I think they certianly did that.
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
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.
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.
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 | 12:14:25 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. 
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