10 Kingmaker VCs With The Most Digital Clout
Social media has now become the most effective platform for generating clout and exposure. Naturally, the Elite use this opportunity to their advantage by generating visibility for their brand through strategic twitter and blog presence. Power players in the Venture Capital world – even more so – have exploited social media to exponentially rise to the top and attain a voice in their industry.
This should not be surprising as absolute power is something that can only be given, not taken. A leader's authority – especially in the entrepreneurial world – is granted by others. In other words, the people determine supremacy. And in 2012, what better way to see who the masses deem powerful than by examining Twitter and the hottest blogs?
The kingmakers of entrepreneurship are – in fact – born through Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. Those with the most followers (or now, those with the highest Klout score) become faces of their industry. Here are the most cunning of power investors – who have gained their success through social media dominance – and now all of a sudden sit on top of the world:
1. Mark Cuban
Cuban is the embodiment of the term “Celebrity VC.” From Entourage appearances to starring in Shark Tank, he has been able to transfer his incomparable success as an entrepreneur and investor into Hollywood. By doing so, he has become an idol to the hackers, the hustlers, and the masses.
2. Richard Branson
Twitter could single-handedly be the best marketing tool for Richard Branson. With his extravagant lifestyle, any guy and his brother wants to see what the Rebel Billionaire is up to at any given moment.
His massive following – in combination with strategic viral campaigns and frequent interaction with the media – has allowed Branson to attain an all time high in clout.
3. Ashton Kutcher
When “Dude, Where's My Car” debuted in 2000, no one would have expected Kutcher to become a brilliant tech wiz with an eye for winners. From Airbnb and Fab to SocialCam, Kutcher knows how to use his celebrity to access dealflow like none other.
4. Al Gore
Former VP Al Gore is another surprise winner that, back in 2000, no one would have ever expected to dominate the tech sector. But after “An Inconvenient Truth,” Gore captured the hearts of innovators and disruptors everywhere. With 2.5 million Twitter followers, Gore finally has the soapbox he always dreamed of.
5. Jack Dorsey
After being pushed out as CEO of Twitter, it must've hurt Dorsey's ego every time he tweeted. But then again, when he tweets “jump”, over 2 million people say: “how high?”
Now, of course, he is back as Executive Chairman of Twitter – as well as founder and CEO of Square – and Dorsey is now widely regarded as the “next Steve Job” (and Elite Daily agrees). To even have one person call you that, you must have tremendous influence.
6. Fred Wilson
Fred Wilson is known as the most feared investor on the East Coast. A suitable idol for any ambitious entrepreneur, Fred Wilson not only founded one of the most successful VC firms in the world, but has also played a major role in the emergence of social media.
Wilson has invested in (and advised) Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Zynga, Meetup, and more. Note: His blog is a great read.
7. Biz Stone
As another co-founder of Twitter, it is no surprise that Biz rules the social media landscape. He has written two books on blogging, in addition to operating a popular blog himself. Now, through the Obvious Corporation, Stone is finding the next up-and-comers to revolutionize the world we live in.
8. Eric Schmidt
Current Executive Chairman of Google (and former CEO for 10 years), Schmidt has planted seeds of power everywhere: serving on the boards of Apple, Princeton University, and Carnegie Mellon.
He is consistently ranked among the most important people on the web, which couldn't be any more true as Schmidt has impacted the digital world tremendously. Schmidt has influence everywhere, especially among techies considering that he created the Unix OS “lex”.
9. Charlie O'Donnell
Charlie O'Donnell's blog – thisisgoingtobebig.com – is full of invaluable wisdom and advice for aspiring (and established) entrepreneurs and is one of the most read within the industry. He may not be a household name to those too far removed from the startup scene like Kutcher is, but that's not his goal.
As a voice of the NYC entrepreneurial, Charlie has most respected VC's out there and he's had his hands in some game-changing startups (and VC firms like First Round Capital and now his own: Brooklyn Bridge Ventures).
I've now been blogging for eight and a half years and it's undoubtedly my most valuable career asset–but not just for its reach.
10. Kevin Rose
As a founder of a ton of successful startups, host of TechTV's “The Screen Savers”, and venture partner at Google, Rose has set himself up for serious exposure. Being on MIT's 35 Under 35 List didn't hurt either.
He may (only) have just over a million Twitter followers, but then again, he was a major backer of Twitter at the perfect time. He has also invested in Facebook, Foursquare, Square, and Dailybooth.
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