The tech industry is inherently inspiring given the boundaries it pushes, the new benefits it brings to our lives, and the future it holds. So when a study shares the leaders considered the most inspirational within the inspirational tech industry, it’s hard to not take notice.
Hired, a job search marketplace, released a report yesterday on a survey conducted among 3,600 tech workers. It asked respondents to rank the tech leaders they considered the most inspiring. Here’s what the survey showed, along with some perspective on what makes each of these leaders so inspiring.
1. Elon Musk
Love him or not, Mr. Musk came in as the No. 1 most inspiring leader in all of tech. The CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, and The Boring Company has encouraged many to think big. Musk makes bold proclamations, and while he rarely delivers them on time or exactly as he said he would, the sheer audacity of what he believes can be achieved is inspiring.
2. Jeff Bezos
The world’s richest man has built one of the most influential companies in history, Amazon, from the ground up. He openly shares his wisdom, especially in his annual shareholders letters, which are always written by him and packed with nuggets of inspiring business wisdom. He, like Musk, has reached into space exploration as well with his Blue Origin company, which he has called his most important work.
3. Satya Nadella
The Microsoft CEO is highly inspiring because of his emotionally intelligent style of leadership and his belief in the importance of purpose in our work. In fact, of all the things Nadella could point to as key success factors for Microsoft’s recent resurgence, he pointed to how hard Microsoft works at connecting employees to the meaning behind their work.
4. Mark Zuckerberg
The Facebook founder and CEO inspires through the gravity of what the company he created does–it has changed the very nature of the connections we have with people in our lives. While Zuckerberg has undergone intense scrutiny for privacy concerns around his creation, he has been forthright about Facebook’s failings on this front and steadfast about his intent to fix them.
5. Jack Ma
The Alibaba founder and richest man in China has a well-known rags to riches story. He grew up poor, failed his college entrance exam twice, got rejected from many jobs including one at KFC, and launched two failed internet companies before launching Alibaba. He recently announced he was stepping down as chairman of Alibaba, offering a trademark statement: “The one thing I can promise everyone is this: Alibaba was never about Jack Ma, but Jack Ma will forever belong to Alibaba.”
6. Sheryl Sandberg
The author of the wildly inspiring Lean In, activist, philanthropist, and role model for women worldwide should have landed higher on the list. Oh yeah, she’s also the COO of Facebook. Before joining Facebook, Sandberg held positions at the World Bank and at the White House, as Treasury chief of staff.
7. Reed Hastings
The Netflix co-founder and CEO built one of the fastest growing, most influential companies in the world, all from the frustration he felt at getting a $40 late fee charge for an overdue DVD rental.
8. Susan Wojcicki
Wojcicki quit her job when she was four months pregnant to join a small startup (Google) and has risen through the ranks to become the CEO of YouTube–and one of the most powerful women in tech. She was the highest ranking woman at Google to respond to a controversial stance taken by a Google employee on why females aren’t fit to be engineers.
9. Marissa Mayer
The ex-CEO of Yahoo is no stranger to controversy. Every move she made to fix Yahoo was questioned and she experienced two massive cyber-security breaches during her tenure. She left Yahoo when it was bought by Verizon and, according to the New York Times, is cooking up her next act, which may include a new tech incubator called Lumi Labs. Mayer is seen as a role model of tenacity and how well the human spirit can hold up even in the face of scrutiny that would melt most of us.
10. Anne Wojcicki
The founder and CEO of 23and Me is known for overcoming obstacles, a spirit that infuses her genetics testing company. Wojcicki persevered getting her products through FDA approval and on to market after many stops and starts.