The year that was 2017 is coming to a close. Like any year, it was full of events that will be talked about long after the year fades into history. Among the billions of people on Earth in 2017, a select few have stood out as the most influential. These people made major shifts in the world of business, technology, and much more.
Looking back on 2017, these people will be remembered for what they did in this year, and the years to come.
There were countless people who shook the foundations of politics, business, and entertainment in 2017, but these are five people that truly made their mark on the world. The lesson for us, is to learn how we can better value and our time and work, so we can be as influential as people like them.
There’s a key takeaway from each of these people’s actions. Even if you’re not working at a global level, you can easily apply some of their principles to your own business.
Kenneth Frazier (Image source)
As the CEO of Merck, Ken Frazier widened the company’s lead over other competitors. For example, its cancer drug, Keytruda, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be taken in combination with chemotherapy in previously untreated cases of advanced lung cancer.
Frazier also took a public stance when President Trump failed to condemn white supremacists. He went on record saying: “As CEO of Merck, and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”
Ken’s stance shows that business leaders have a right and a responsibility to stand by their ethics and beliefs, while still prospering as a business.
Bobby Kotick (Image source)
The concept of esports, or professional competitive gaming, is something that has only recently found success and proliferation. A large part of that is due to the efforts of Bobby Kotick, who is CEO of one of the largest publishers in gaming.
In March of 2017, Kotick pitched his idea to Kraft and other executives, to create a league in which professional gamers play in front of a live audience. The inaugural Overwatch League was formed, featuring teams from New York, London, and Seoul. Owners include Comcast, and Los Angeles Rams owner Stanley Kroenke.
Despite his original pitches failing to gain traction, Bobby Kotick surrounded himself with the right people who had knowledge of sports management. When he came back and pitched his idea in 2017, he found huge success.
Our takeaway here is simple: you should support your business concepts with the right resources. If you have an idea that you know has potential, you need to surround yourself with the kind of people who can help you bring it to fruition. Even if the concept doesn’t pan out, it can easily lead to something bigger and better for your business.
Geoffrey Hinton (Image source)
In the field of artificial intelligence, Hinton is leading the charge in Canada with Toronto’s $180 million artificial intelligence research center. Known as the Vector Institute, Hinton’s goal is to mix academic research with commercial pursuits.
His influence in 2017 helped companies like Google and Facebook open offices in Edmonton and Montreal. He also released two papers in October detailing “capsule networks” that offer enhanced machine vision test results and better recognition of handwriting and everyday objects.
Critics have often said that Canada’s investment into neural networks is coming at a time when the technology is reaching its limits and exists in a bubble that will inevitably pop. Hinton remains steadfast in his opinion that the technology has a long-term viability.
The takeaway here is something that everyone in the field of technology should understand. Throughout history, some of the biggest innovations in technology came from concepts that everyone wrote off as a bubble that would burst.
Innovation will always be valuable. Hinton shows us that getting these ideas into the right hands can bring the support of massive brands and influencers to the table.
Mohammed Bin Salman (Image source)
The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia made some huge changes to his country in 2017. While his ultimate goals remains unclear, he has shown interest in selling a stake of the Saudi Arabian Oil Co., which could be one of the largest IPOs in history.
He also pushed for women to have the right to drive. This would add an estimated $90 billion to the economy by 2030, and represents a major step forward for women’s rights in this part of the world.
The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is showing the rest of the world that traditions aren’t always set in stone, nor are they right. In business, we often follow specific traditions because we believe they are the only way to success.
What we need to remember, is that there are many pathways to success. Breaking down walls can sometimes lead to even better results.
Millie Bobby Brown (Image source)
For many of us, we assume that success is tied to both experience and age. Too often, we forget that success does not discriminate based on age. Whether you’re a business owner or someone looking to start a business, your age and experience does not necessarily translate to your level of success.
Millie Bobby Brown, one of Time Magazine’s most influential teens of 2017, is a 13-year-old actress who received an Emmy nomination for her role in Netflix’s series Stranger Things. According to her, the secret to success is not overthinking her role. For her, the character of Eleven is a piece of her.
This instinctual approach is easily something that we can apply to business. It’s best not to overthink things like age or experience. Focus on what your instincts tell you, and stick to your guns. Those are the secrets to success more than anything else.
These major players made waves in world politics, gaming, and technology respectively, but they are joined by numerous others who help influence the major industries in our modern world. Which people do you believe were the most influential in 2017? Let us know in the comments!