Executive Editor, The New York Times
Jill Abramson is the editorial leader of The New York Times, the nation’s preeminent news organization. Before being named executive editor in September 2011, she served for eight years as managing editor, guiding the newsroom through a turbulent period and helping change its approach to news dissemination in the digital era. In 2010 she took a sabbatical from that role to gain firsthand experience in the paper’s online operations. Abramson joined the Times in 1997 and served as Washington bureau chief from 2000 to 2003. Before that, she was an investigative reporter and deputy bureau chief at The Wall Street Journal from 1988 to 1997. She is the coauthor of Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas, a finalist for the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award. Abramson is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has taught writing at Princeton and Yale Universities.
Cofounder & Co-CEO, Warby Parker
Neil Blumenthal cofounded Warby Parker in 2010 together with three friends from the Wharton School of Business, where he completed his MBA that same year. Warby Parker sells affordable, vintage-inspired eyewear online and strives to lead by example as a socially conscious business. Through its “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair” program, the company matches every sale by donating a pair of glasses to someone in need. So far, more than 250,000 free pairs have been distributed worldwide. Before starting Warby Parker, Blumenthal was director of the nonprofit VisionSpring, which helps women in South Asia, Africa, and Latin America start their own businesses selling inexpensive eyeglasses in their communities. In 2012 he was recognized by the World Economic Forum as one of its Young Global Leaders.
Coauthor, Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing
Po Bronson gained renown as a wickedly trenchant chronicler of the 1990s dotcom frenzy. A former bond salesman, he covered Silicon Valley as a features writer for WIRED and parlayed his experiences into the comic novel The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest (1997)—later made into a movie—and the nonfiction best seller The Nudist on the Late Shift (1999). His next book, What Should I Do With My Life? (2003), hit number one on the New York Times best seller list. In 2006, Bronson began collaborating with Ashley Merryman on a series of award-winning magazine articles, reporting on recent science that overturned conventional ideas on parenting and education. Their subsequent book, NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children (2009), was on the Times best seller list for six months. Their new book, Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing (2013), examines the role of competition in our lives.
Founder & CEO, Beyond Meat
Ethan Brown founded Beyond Meat in 2009 to create new plant-based proteins that are virtually indistinguishable from animal products. As a child, Brown gained a deep appreciation for the natural world from his father, a professor, farmer, and conservationist. He began his career in the clean-energy industry and spent eight years at Ballard Power Systems, the world’s leading PEM fuel-cell company. Concerned about the impact of animal-based foods on climate change, he wondered if technology could be used to create better meat substitutes. After several years of collaboration with University of Missouri scientists, and with investment from The Obvious Corporation (cofounders of Twitter) and Silicon Valley VC firm Kleiner Perkins, Beyond Meat was born. The company’s high-protein Chicken-Free Strips are now sold nationwide. Beyond Meat was recently hailed by Bill Gates as one of three innovative companies reinventing the future of food.
CEO & Designer, Tory Burch
Tory Burch is CEO and designer of the women’s sportswear brand Tory Burch. She began her career working for such influential designers as Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang, and Narciso Rodriguez at Loewe. Recognizing an underserved market for chic, beautifully made clothing and accessories at a more accessible price point, she began developing her own fashion label, opening her first boutique in lower Manhattan in 2004. Today, Tory Burch is a thriving global business with stores in more than 50 countries. Her collection is also carried at more than 1,000 independent retailers worldwide, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdale’s. An avid philanthropist, Burch launched the Tory Burch Foundation in 2009; the foundation supports women entrepreneurs in the US through small business loans, mentoring, and education.
Founder & CEO, Nanex
Eric Hunsader is the founder and CEO of the stock-market data and analytics firm Nanex. A leading expert on high-frequency algorithmic trading, he is frequently called on to advise governments, central banks, exchanges, and regulatory agencies. Hunsader began his career as a software developer, creating real-time trading programs that are still in use. He founded Nanex in 2000. The company’s NxCore data feed is used by subscribers around the world, and its vast database has provided unparalleled insights into the causes of recent market volatility. Following the “Flash Crash” of 2010, Nanex processed trillions of trading records to explain what happened. The company’s work is cited in academic papers, books, and popular media—including The Colbert Report—and served as inspiration for Robert Harris’ novel The Fear Index. A Nanex chart was one of 100 images in a time capsule launched into space last year.
Chairman & CEO, Qualcomm
Paul Jacobs has served as CEO of Qualcomm since 2005 and was appointed chairman of the board in 2009. Under his leadership, the San Diego–based company has emerged as the leading provider of chipsets for mobile devices and is consistently ranked at the top of its industry on Fortune’s list of “Most Admired Companies.” Jacobs joined Qualcomm as a development engineer in 1990. Over the past two decades he has led numerous advances in wireless communications and has received more than 40 patents. In 1997 he became president of Qualcomm Consumer Products, where he spearheaded development of the first commercial smartphone. Other breakthrough innovations include the integration of GPS into cell phones and a platform that enabled over-the-air downloading of apps. He is the 2009 winner of the IEEE CASS Industrial Pioneer Award and has been named “Best Telecom CEO” four years in a row by Institutional Investor.
Corporate VP for Windows, Microsoft
Julie Larson-Green heads up all engineering activities at Microsoft’s flagship Windows division and the Microsoft Hardware Group, reporting directly to CEO Steve Ballmer. Before moving into this role late last year, she led design and development on the Windows 7 and Windows 8 operating systems—the successes of which were widely attributed to her revamping of the development process. A Washington native, Larson-Green began her career as a software engineer at Aldus and joined Microsoft twenty years ago as a program manager for Visual C++. But she soon found her passion in designing the end-user experience, starting with early versions of Internet Explorer. In 1997 she moved over to Microsoft Office, where she led user interface design for Office XP, Office 2003, and finally Office 2007, for which she won an Outstanding Technical Leadership award. In 2007 she was appointed corporate vice president for program management of the Windows Experience.
President & CEO, Yahoo!
Marissa Mayer is president and CEO of Yahoo!, a role she assumed in July 2012. Before that she spent 13 years at Google, having joined the company as a software engineer—employee number 20—in 1999. Mayer oversaw the explosive growth of Google Search and its extension into areas like image, book, and product search. She also led the development of many popular services, including Google News and Gmail, and is listed as an inventor on several patents in artificial intelligence and interface design. From 2010 to 2012, she was vice president in charge of the company’s local and geographical products, including Google Maps, Google Earth, and Street View. Mayer earned her masters degree in computer science from Stanford, where she also taught programming. She serves on the boards of Walmart and several nonprofits, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Ballet, and New York City Ballet.
Coauthor, Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing
Coauthor, Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing
Ashley Merryman is an award-winning journalist and former speechwriter in the Clinton administration. In 2006 she began collaborating with Po Bronson, using science to develop a fuller picture of our lives as individuals and in society. They have written for Time, Newsweek, New York, and other leading publications, and their acclaimed book on the science of child development, NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children (2009), was on the New York Times best seller list for six months. Their new book, Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing, looks at how competition affects every aspect of our lives, from work to play. They have won nine national awards, including the PEN Literary Award for Journalism, the Mensa Press Award, the AAAS Science Journalism Award, and two Clarion awards.
Founder & CEO, BuzzFeed
Jonah Peretti is founder and CEO of the social news site BuzzFeed, which offers a pioneering mix of shared content and original reporting. With former Politico writer Ben Smith as editor in chief, BuzzFeed now reaches more than 40 million unique users each month, most of whom link through from social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. The site has also piqued interest in the media world for its unique advertising model, which eliminates traditional banner ads in favor of sponsored posts and gives advertisers an opportunity to engage with its users with creative and shareable content. A graduate of the MIT Media Lab, Peretti has taught at NYU and the Parsons School of Design, and he was one of the cofounders of The Huffington Post in 2005. He has been called a “viral marketing hotdog” by The New York Times and “the poster boy of guerrilla media” by AlterNet.
Platon is renowned for his iconic portraits of world leaders, activists, and celebrities, which have been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. Born in London of Greek and British parents, he graduated from the Royal College of Art and began his career with British Vogue. After relocating to New York, he worked for George magazine and soon became a frequent contributor to publications like Vanity Fair, GQ, Esquire, Rolling Stone, and Time, for whom he shot more than 20 covers. His portrait of Vladimir Putin for Time’s 2007 “Person of the Year” issue took first prize at the World Press Photo contest. In 2008 he was named staff photographer at The New Yorker, where his celebrated photo essays won National Magazine Awards in 2009 and 2010. In 2011 he received the Peabody Award for his collaboration with Human Rights Watch. He is the author of two monographs, Platon’s Republic and Power.
Author, Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better
Clive Thompson writes a monthly column for WIRED magazine on the everyday impact of new technologies. He is also a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine. Thompson was a Knight Science Journalism fellow at MIT. His work has been widely anthologized, and he has received two Mirror Awards for his coverage of digital media. His new book, Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better, will be published by Penguin in September.
Cofounder, Medium & Twitter
Evan Williams helped create two of the biggest services on the Internet—Blogger, which he ran for four years before its sale to Google in 2003, and Twitter, where he was CEO for two years and now serves on the board of directors. Twitter was one of the first projects spun out by The Obvious Corporation, an Internet incubator that Williams cofounded with Biz Stone and Jason Goldman in 2006 and where he now serves as CEO. Obvious is currently launching a new collaborative publishing platform called Medium, now in private beta testing. Raised on a family farm in Nebraska, Williams has been recognized by Inc. as one of the “Entrepreneurs of the Decade.” He has been named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and was included on Time’s list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.”