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  • Writer's pictureMike Hanna

5 Influential Leaders in Tech and Software

With all the innovations that are happening in software and tech, it can be hard to narrow down the most influential leaders to a list of five. Here are a few of our picks for some of the most innovative leaders in the software and tech industry.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon

Jeff Bezos mainly gets attention for his consumer focus. Of course, he is well known for his launch of Amazon, the online bookseller turned marketplace. Amazon then phased into content production with the launch of Amazon Studios in 2010 and the acquisition of the Washington Post in 2013. They continued with another consumer-focused move with the purchase of Whole Foods in 2017.

But behind the scenes of its B2C operations, Amazon is transforming the B2B tech landscape with its cloud storage solutions. Amazon is also innovative behind the scenes of its fulfillment practices. Image recognition algorithms factor in product metrics to sort parcels coming off trucks, a far more efficient practice than human operated barcode scanners. It’s just one of the many ways that Amazon tech and innovation is changing the way enterprises will conduct their business.

Of course, even from the consumer standpoint, Amazon has revolutionized the way we consume information with Echo home smart speakers, which brings our world one step closer to the internet of things (IoT).

Tim Cook of Apple

Tim Cook stepped into the role of Apple CEO after founder Steve Jobs. He has continued the trailblazing work of Jobs with continued domination of the consumer mobile sphere with products like the Apple Watch Series.

But Apple has been focusing on other tech ventures as well, such as advanced artificial intelligence that streamlines the consumer experience of using Apple devices, which help it further outpace the very fragmented army of Android. Apple has also dabbled in the area of self-driving cars, and has recently been granted a permit to start test driving them on public roads in California. Computer glasses are also on the radar, as is (of course) a much faster iPhone on a 5G network. Apple also has discussed plans to head off against streaming content giant Netflix.

Additionally, Apple has been focused on reorganizing their production process to be powered by sustainable energy, renewable resources, and an environmentally friendly supply chain.

Satya Nadella of Microsoft

Satya Nadella has revitalized Microsoft in the wake of a failed Windows Phone, a much-debated acquisition of Nokia, and a general market outlook of Microsoft as a has-been. But once Nadella took over from Steve Ballmer in 2014, Microsoft once again started making inroads in tech and software.

They have partnered with competitor Apple to release productivity apps for iDevices, such as the Microsoft Office Suite Apps. They have launched new lines of competitive computers for both enterprise and personal use like the Surface Studio with an adjustable 28 inch screen receiving high acclaim from creatives. The Windows 10 Operating System has helped Microsoft bounce back in terms of software offerings, and it forges ahead in the cloud computing space with Office365 and Azure.

Finally, Microsoft is experimenting with cutting edge storage solutions in the form of glass slides (Project Silica), a technology that may meet the increased global demand for storing the massive amounts of data it produces at ever-increasing rates.

Jack Ma of Alibaba

Jack Ma is showing us that innovations in the tech space have definitely moved outward from the US to include global innovators. This Chinese businessman is a textbook story of self improvement in the face of difficulty; he was once turned away from working at a KFC while 23 other applicants (out of 24) were hired.

The world might have been a much different place if Jack Ma had gone to work frying up chicken legs, because what he’s done since then is found one of the largest game-changers in eCommerce, AliBaba. AliBaba is a sort of Chinese version of Amazon, but its counterpart AliExpress is a fulfillment point for merchants outside of China looking to source cost effective products and a B2C disruptor in the global economy.

But much like Jeff Bezos across the Pacific over at Amazon, Ma’s brainchild is not just a middle man of consumer goods. Alibaba has pioneered consumer facing tech solutions such as the Hema App, which allows customers in China to head to the grocery store, scan what they like, and walk out—and have their order delivered home within half an hour. Virtual fitting rooms, facial recognition payment systems, and even an unstaffed hotel with a robotic concierge are just a few of the other ways Ma has envisioned transforming the retail space with tech and SasS.

Marc Benioff of Salesforce

Marc Benioff is the charismatic leader of Salesforce, one of the largest purveyors of CRM software providing a variety of different enterprises with customer relationship management solutions tailored to their size and industry. He is one of the key figures driving change in human capital management through cloud solutions and pay-per-use metered payment models. Salesforce has certainly changed the skyline of San Francisco with the Salesforce Tower, and the landscape of software integrations with its acquisition of Mulesoft—a software application that brings together disparate SaaS products and devices into one streamlined management system. Salesforce has a highly rated work culture and is regarded as one of the top ten companies to work for by Fortune Magazine. In addition to his work in tech, Benioff is a philanthropist with dedication to social causes, frequently calling out for equality in pay between genders, among other issues.

What would it be like to work for a software leader?

These are some of the biggest movers and shakers in the tech space, and incidentally, some of them got their start in software sales. If you yourself are in software sales, the idea of working for a dynamic leader with a long range vision of changing the world might sound appealing.

Fortunately, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of other amazing opportunities in tech, and many companies headed by great leadership. If forward-thinking purpose to your work is part of your job search, send an email to and let’s discuss where you would like to go.

Alternatively, if you are the leader of a tech or SaaS outfit and are looking for the right talent to move your vision forward, I can help you make that placement.

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