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The next Steve Jobs?

Last updated on: September 1, 2011 09:02 IST
Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder, Square CEO.

Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder, Square CEO: Like Steve Jobs, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has returned to the fold of a company he started and then left.

He worked with fellow technorati like Biz Stone and Evan Williams to set up short-message service Twitter in 2006; it caught on after conference goers at the 2007 South by Southwest music festival started using it.

He stepped down as CEO in 2008, but returned to focus on product development earlier this year, and always kept a board seat.

Now, Twitter is valued at about $8 billion and is considered a hot IPO prospect for next year or 2013.

While overseeing product at Twitter, Dorsey, 34, also serves as chief executive of Square, an electronic payment service introduced last year.

Many have compared Square's group of products, including card readers and an app that users download, to Apple products, citing their elegance and ease of use.

Dorsey, famous for often mundane Tweets about subjects such as the weather and what he ate for breakfast, lives within walking distance of both the Twitter and the Square offices and shuttles between the two.

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The next Steve Jobs?

Last updated on: September 1, 2011 09:02 IST
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO: Like Jobs, Zuckerberg dropped out of college -- in his case, Harvard -- but unlike Jobs, Zuckerberg had already founded his company, Facebook.

In fact, he founded it from his college dorm room in 2004, and then moved to Palo Alto, met angel investor Peter Thiel, and the social network service took off.

Facebook quickly displaced then leading network, MySpace, while fighting off lawsuits from others who said Zuckerberg had stolen their technology.

It now has 750 million users around the world and will pull in an estimated $4.05 billion in advertising revenue this year; many analysts believe it threatens Google when it comes to search functions.

Along the way, Zuckerberg declined offers from other companies who wanted to buy Facebook; it is now expected to hold an IPO next year and is currently valued at around $70 billion.

Zuckerberg, 27, was portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg in last year's hit movie, The Social Network.

He is credited with inspiring teens and twenty-somethings to study engineering and aim for careers in Silicon Valley.

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The next Steve Jobs?

Last updated on: September 1, 2011 09:02 IST
Jeff Bezos, CEO.

Jeff Bezos, CEO: Bezos, 47, started in 1994 from a garage of a rental home in Bellevue, Wash., a suburb of Seattle, mimicking the Silicon Valley garage start-up legend of Hewlett-Packard.

He changed the way people buy books, then expanded that online approach to almost any product available in bricks-and-mortar stores, turning into the world's leading Internet retailer.

Like Jobs, Bezos has shown an unusual ability to come up with more than one blockbuster idea. After dominating sales of physical books online, Amazon came up with the Kindle e-reader, changing once again the way people buy books and how they consume them.

Bezos' latest billion-dollar business is Amazon Web Services, which sells computing power and storage from the cloud.

AWS has become a crucial backbone for Silicon Valley Internet startups like video-company Animoto to more established tech companies like NetFlix and big organisations including NASA.

Bezos has been obsessed by space exploration since a child. He started Blue Origin, which has funding from NASA to develop technology to support human space flight.

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The next Steve Jobs?

Last updated on: September 1, 2011 09:02 IST
Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO and co-founder.

Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO and co-founder: Hastings, 50, shook up Hollywood by offering DVD rental by mail in red envelopes and then online streaming of television shows and movies to Internet-connected devices.

His company changed the way people view entertainment and helped drive video rental store chain Blockbuster into bankruptcy.

Under Hastings' leadership, the company has grown rapidly to more than 25 million subscribers and a share price that has tripled since January 2010.

Hastings also sits on the boards of Facebook and Microsoft. A former Peace Corps worker who taught math in Swaziland, Hastings suddenly became wealthy at age 36 when his first company, software developer Pure Software, went public.

He worked to improve education in California and advocated for charter schools, a cause he has remained involved with.

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The next Steve Jobs?

Last updated on: September 1, 2011 09:02 IST
Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Google founders.

Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Google founders: Larry Page returned as CEO of Google in January, 13 years after he co-founded the Internet company with his college buddy Sergey Brin, building on the foundations of their earlier search engine, Back Rub.

Page, who laid the foundation for Google in postgraduate research on how Internet websites link to each other, is regarded as the a heavyweight thinker whose ideas spawned the search engine that revolutionised the Internet and created an advertising market that now brings it $29 billion a year.

Some hope he will jumpstart a company that in recent years has stumbled awkwardly on emerging Web trends such as social networking.

So far, under his helm, Google has launched its Google social networking site and made a bold $12.5 bid to buy Motorola Mobility, which puts Google's Android operating system in a better footing as it launches a direct attack against Apple.

The 38-year-old is described by industry insiders as intense but not flashy, and pays himself only $1 a year in salary.

The son of Jewish Russian immigrants who were economists and mathematicians, Sergey Brin, 38, came to the United States as a child without knowing English.

Last year, he told the Wall Street Journal Web censorship in China 'smacked of the 'totalitarianism' of his youth' in Soviet Russia; Google now directs traffic from mainland China to uncensored search engines in Hong Kong.

In 2008, Brin made a $5 million down payment to book a seat on a private space flight. He is currently on leave from the Ph.D. programme in computer science at Stanford University, where he received his master's degree.

He directs special projects at Google.

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The next Steve Jobs?

Last updated on: September 1, 2011 09:02 IST
John Chambers, Cisco Systems CEO.

John Chambers, Cisco Systems CEO: Despite his company's failure to succeed in consumer technology and his recent admission that his company 'has lost its way', many analysts say it is too soon to discount John Chambers, the CEO of technology bellwether Cisco.

In a way Chambers, 62, is already an industry icon with investors still hanging on his every word about the industry during quarterly earnings reports.

Since he joined Cisco in 1991, Chambers has transformed the then-$70 million company into a $40 billion one by providing the nuts and bolts for the high-speed networks that keep it running.

It's not hot like a social network, but it makes them work. Chambers became president and CEO in 1995, but still seems to have time to demonstrate duck-calling skills.

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The next Steve Jobs?

Last updated on: September 1, 2011 09:02 IST
John Doerr, Kleiner Perkins Partner.

John Doerr, Kleiner Perkins Partner: John Doerr, 60, has funded some of Silicon Valley's most successful companies, including Amazon, Google, and Netscape.

Lately, he has turned his focus to clean-technology investing, backing companies like solar-panel maker MiaSole and fuel-cell maker Bloom Energy.

Three years ago, he launched the iFund, a $200 million fund that invests in products that build on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

During their joint appearance to launch the fund at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Doerr dubbed Jobs 'the supreme commander of the rebels'.

A St. Louis native, Doerr worked at Intel Corp.'s before joining Kleiner Perkins in 1980, and holds several patents for consumer memory devices. President Obama has described him as 'one of the businessmen I admire most'. He serves on the board of Google.

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The next Steve Jobs?

Last updated on: September 1, 2011 09:02 IST
Larry Ellison, Oracle co-founder and chief executive.

Larry Ellison, Oracle co-founder and chief executive: The flamboyant Larry Ellison, a 67-year-old billionaire and one of the richest people in the world, built software giant Oracle into a dominant force from its founding in 1977.

Ellison, known for public attacks on rivals, has drawn comparisons to technology executive Tony Stark in the Iron Man movies.

Ellison also races sailboats and flies planes. It was widely reported that Steve Jobs served as the official photographer at Ellison's fourth wedding in 2003.