Recently, Fortune magazine released its annual list of 40 rising business stars under the age of 40. While there was sure to be a few media gurus in the mix, given today’s focus on social and digital media networks, 16 major players from areas of digital media and online technology are featured – making up 40 percent of the list. From Google and Hulu to Facebook and Twitter, some of business’ most successful leadersare in the digital realm, and show no signs of stopping.
The list comes right off of the heels of a recent Business Week article declaring Gen Y “The Lost Generation,” an interesting conclusion given that some of the hottest online trends are started and carried on by members of Gen Y. While Business Week focuses on the economy and Gen Y’s not-so-lucky economical situation, it’s hard to believe that Gen Y has seemingly given up all hope. With so many leaders to look up to – many of them on Fortune’s list – there are still options for Gen Y, and they can take note from the Under 40 set to provide inspiration.
While Gen Y may not have an edge in the job market, many are taking it upon themselves to be innovative, create their own opportunities and take a risk – which is exactly what may of those on Fortune’s list did. Instead of waiting for the jobs to come to them, recent graduates are starting their own companies, and the reward is in their favor. They focus their time on adding value to their projects, and in turn expect a positive outcome for their efforts.
Below are some of our favorite examples for Fortune’s list. They, along with the rest of the 40, are the ones changing the game, leading the way for innovation, change, and greater responsibility.
Biz Stone and Evan Williams, Founders of Twitter
Who ever thought a service limiting users to 140 characters would grow to be a billion dollar business? Twitter has been instrumental in allowing its users to express themselves in a brand new way, creating support and controversy along the way.Whether it was helping Iranians inform the rest of the world , or being a platform for a number of customer service controversies, Stone and Williams show that no idea is too simple to be successful.
Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of Facebook
At 25, Zuckerberg is the youngest person on the list, but has had the success of someone twice his age. He dropped out of Harvard to help the site grow – not any easy choice to make. His decision has paid off, with Facebook continuing to reach monumental milestones in popularity, user growth, and profit.
Jason Kilar, CEO of Hulu
Kilar spent more than a decade at Amazon.com, helping to make it what it is today. He took a risk leaving for Hulu, the experiment site launched by NBC. A year and a half ago, Hulu was virtually unknown to even the savviest Internet users; now, it’s one of the most popular sites on the Web.
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com
A multimillionaire by the age of 24 (he sold LinkExchange.com to Microsoft for a cool $265 million), Hsieh joined Zappos as a consultant, and became CEO the following…
To learn more about the Top 40 over 40, go to Sparxoo, a digital marketing, branding and business development blog.