When people talk about the most influential thinkers in New Media, the same names tend to come up again and again--Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, Gary Vaynerchuk, Derek Sivers, et cetera. While the praise they receive is well deserved, their contributions are only a sliver of what's going on. For a variety of reasons, many of the most interesting innovators in digital and interactive media are not getting the attention that is commensurate with their influence and impact. It's time to change that.
1. Jordan Harbinger
As a young attorney at a highly competitive law firm, Jordan Harbinger realized early that mastering the science of human influence would be his secret weapon. About a decade ago, he turned this epiphany into one of the first talk show-style podcasts. Since then, Harbinger has built The Art of Charm into a media and consulting empire. In the midst of a landscape full of imitators, Harbinger has made a name for himself as an interviewer without parallel. It is no surprise that many people in the know now refer to him as the Charlie Rose of podcasting. Not a bad thing to be in 2016.
2. Blaine Graboyes
Blaine Graboyes has built his career on getting there first. He was the co-founder of the first DVD company in New York City, the inventor of the technology that allows the embedding of multimedia in PowerPoint, and the first digital producer represented by ICM talent agency. Now he's at it again. Most recently, Graboyes founded GameCo, the first organization to bring skill-based video games to casinos in order to court the Millennial set. You'll be seeing a lot more of Blaine and his newest creations over the next few years.
3. Gabriella Mirabelli
Being the CEO of Anatomy Media--a boutique creative consultancy that works with the world's biggest television brands--has given Gabriella Mirabelli an intimate view into where the industry is headed. Over the last few years she has observed that same convergence of technological and behavioral change that gutted recording and publishing before it. Seeking to do her part to head off a similar calamity, she dug deep into potential creative solutions from sources ranging from non-entertainment fields to the carpool line of her teenage kids' school. As a result, Mirabelli has pulled together a comprehensive approach (as typified by her podcast Up Next) specifically designed for network executives looking to adapt to the multiplatform reality of the New Media era. Her strategic outlook and compelling style of putting it across has made her a much sought after advisor for powerful media executives who are serious about changing with the times.
4. Debbie Kiederer
Luxury retail usually isn't what first comes to mind when one thinks of pioneering New Media, but in the case of Debbie Kiederer the description is more than apt. As founder of ChalkDust Consulting, Kiederer has become notorious within the world of elite high-end Fortune 500 consumer brands for being the go-to source for high-tech branding and marketing solutions. In 2010 Debbie partnered with Heidi Brown to start up MobileFields, LLC, establishing a niche in the entertainment mobile space. Two years later she helped launch LiveLux.com--a retail sales solution that upended the traditional assumption that high-end shopping has to be an on-premise experience. And if the industry buzz is accurate, her next project could potentially reinvent ecommerce from the ground up.
5. Caitlin Burns
Transmedia and Virtual Reality are the two hottest areas in New Media right now, and Caitlin Burns has been on the forefront of both for years. Early in her career, she played a pivotal role in creating and developing some of the first and most prominent Transmedia campaigns for some of Hollywood's biggest movies. As COO and Founder of Datavized, she is embracing New Media's furthermost frontier with WebVR, a Web-hosted Virtual Reality technology. Her latest innovations are already in huge demand as she and her team apply VR to fields as wide ranging as biomedical research, finance, and journalism. The future is now, and Caitlin Burns is helping it unfold right before our eyes.