Ben Silbermann

Cofounder, CEO, Pinterest

Silbermann's first product, which he launched with a college friend, was a shopping app called Tote. Tote failed to take off, but it did reveal something interesting: Rather than buy things, people used Silbermann's app to email themselves pictures of products to view later. This struck a chord with Silbermann, who had been a collector all his life. In the fall of 2009, surmised that a digital collection--of books, clothes, or even insects--could be a powerful medium for self-expression, and the idea for Pinterest was born.