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Hot 30: The Bay Area’s Vibrant Innovators Making an Impact on the Worldwide Web

It’s Indian summer in San Francisco, and temperatures are on the rise. As are the local luminaries in our annual Hot 20, er . . . Hot 30. That’s right. We were so impressed by the crop of talent and brains moving the needle this year—in fields as diverse as technology, music, education, sports, and arts—that we added 10 bright stars to our list.

AIRBNB Founders, Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky, and Joe Gebbia

You’d expect a website started by two designers and a computer engineer to look great and perform beautifully. And you might get lost in its virtual catacombs. What you might not expect is to pop out the other side with a booking for a stay in a Bedouin tent or a Thai tree house. That’s the Airbnb experience.

Launched in 2008 as a place to list spare beds for the night, the site has become a hub for accommodations in more than 26,000 cities. On Aug. 4, the company broke its bookings record with 60,000 people staying in Airbnb properties in one night.

Not only has the team uncovered an economy of unused space, it has proven that the ancient art of hospitality is alive and well. Since its release this past June, the site’s Wish Lists feature—destination listings where Airbnb devotees including designer Yves Béhar hope to stay—has racked up more than a million “hearts.” Even cofounder Joe Gebbia frequently opens his SF home to guests. “It’s delightful to have the world come to your living room…and get paid for it,” he says. –by Anne Sage

HEARSAY SOCIAL cofounder and CEO, Clara Shih

Clara Shih’s recent appointment to Starbucks’ board of directors comes after quite the rapid and jaw-dropping trajectory. At age 29, Shih already counts a New York Times bestseller (The Facebook Era), the development of Facebook’s first business app (Faceconnector), and a nod from Fast Company as one of the most influential people in technology among her many bona fides.

A self-described “problem solver,” Shih also cofounded Hearsay Social in 2009 along with her Stanford classmate Steve Garrity. Based in San Francisco, Hearsay works with big brands like 24 Hour Fitness and Westfield Malls to turn their local staffers into social media ambassadors. And last summer, the company helped break a Guinness world record while powering the most successful Facebook campaign in history—a Farmers Insurance promotion that received more “likes” in 24 hours than any page to date.

This is all a culmination of Shih’s belief in empowerment through technology. “I’ve always had big dreams,” she says. “The great thing about technology is that if you pull the right team together, you can make those dreams real.” —A.S.


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