The Empire Strikes Back. The Godfather, Part II. Aliens.
Every great sequel does something special. It expands the universe of the original, taking you somewhere new and different. It drives the franchise forward, introducing new characters, settings, and time periods (think Yoda, the young Vito Corleone, any scene with Bill Paxton). It also stands firmly on its own.
So it is with the Globe’s second annual Tech Power Players 50 — our list of the most influential, and interesting, people in the New England technology scene, as ranked by Globe journalists and an external advisory committee. The goal of the original list was to celebrate the local tech community, and tell its story, by highlighting the biggest names and trends in the industry. This year, those names and trends have evolved.
The theme for 2023 is resilience. It’s been a challenging year for the industry, with layoffs, hiring freezes, the venture capital slowdown, crypto meltdowns, you name it. But the people and companies on this year’s list have helped New England thrive in the face of adversity. They’ve built billion-dollar companies, led key institutions, mentored newcomers, advanced the state of the art, and helped make the industry more diverse and equitable. They come from sectors like software, AI, cybersecurity, climate tech, venture capital, and education.
And while it advances the themes of the original, this year’s list stands on its own as a snapshot of who’s who in local innovation. These are the people you’ll want to know if you are starting out, or if you’ve been working in tech for decades. These are the people who are creating the future.
The honorees reflect the breadth of the industry from venture capital to entrepreneurs, from startups to big companies, from universities to mentorship programs. The tech areas include software, cybersecurity, AI and robotics, climate tech, health tech, and crypto. (Biotech was generally excluded.)
We ranked them by their economic impact and influence in the tech community, with consideration given to efforts in mentorship, diversity, and equity. We prioritized recent achievements, particularly in the past year. In some cases, we chose to honor more than one person from the same company in one slot.
For each candidate, two aspects were weighted equally: (1) their business impact in terms of value created (revenues, company valuations, number of jobs) and other economic considerations, and (2) their broader influence in the tech community in terms of ideas, reputation, mentorship, and efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The advisory committee, Globe newsroom, and general public submitted over 200 nominations. The committee scored all candidates and passed their recommendations to the Globe’s team of business and technology journalists. The top 50 slots were ranked based on an internal process that included segmenting the list by sectors. (Some members of the committee were included on the list; these decisions were made by the Globe staff alone.)
The Globe convened 10 local leaders in business and technology to serve as advisers for the list:
Mohamad Ali, CEO, IDG
Kent Bennett, Partner, Bessemer Venture Partners
Desh Deshpande, Chairman, Sparta Group; Trustee, Deshpande Foundation
Kim Driscoll, Lieutenant Governor, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Paul English, CEO, Boston Venture Studio
Linda Henry, CEO, Boston Globe Media Partners
Scott Kirsner, Correspondent, The Boston Globe
Youngme Moon, Professor, Harvard Business School
Eric Paley, Managing Partner, Founder Collective
Katie Rae, CEO, The Engine
Tech Week: May 15-19
Want more? Join us for Tech Week, a series of technology-related events and experiences, including virtual panel discussions, in-person networking opportunities, and roundtable discussions hosted by Globe journalists and our partners. RSVP here.
Gregory T. Huang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @gthuang.