Thursday, Apr. 29, 2010

Under the Influence

The TIME 100 is not about the influence of power but the power of influence. Some of the people you'll encounter on this list are influential in the traditional sense — heads of state like Barack Obama, corporate leaders like Robin Li, CEO of the Chinese search-engine company Baidu. But we also seek out people whose ideas and actions are revolutionizing their fields and transforming lives — like Matt Berg, who is using text-messaging technology to improve community health monitoring in Africa, and Rahul Singh, whose organization GlobalMedic was among the first on the ground after January's Haiti earthquake, providing millions of gallons of water to those most in need. You might not have heard their names before, but their innovations and efforts will help change the world for years to come.

The 2010 TIME 100 boasts some innovations too. We have multiple covers, wrapping front and back around the magazine. We've consolidated the list into four categories — leaders, artists, thinkers and heroes. We sent one photographer, Marco Grob, roaming the world to shoot a dozen luminous portraits of our honorees for the cover and the pages inside.

Other things haven't changed. As always, part of the magic of the TIME 100 is the pairing of writer and subject; this year you'll hear from Bono on humanitarian Bill Clinton, Sarah Palin on iconoclast Glenn Beck, Cyndi Lauper on pop icon Lady Gaga, Jeff Koons on the artistry of Steve Jobs, and Phil Donahue on the talk-show legend that is Oprah Winfrey. We also enlisted a few of our own writers to profile people in their fields — for example, TIME's political columnist Joe Klein on Admiral Mike Mullen, with whom he'd recently traveled to Afghanistan.

The maestro of those pairings was assistant managing editor Radhika Jones, who did a masterly job of curating the list and editing the issue, with help from a stalwart team of section editors. Design director D.W. Pine supervised each cover iteration, and photo director Kira Pollack and her team commissioned and collected the unparalleled array of images in the issue. Senior art director Christine Dunleavy performed the design feat of fitting 100 profiles into a beautiful magazine package. Statistical analyst (and TIME 100 alumnus) Nate Silver worked with graphics designer Lon Tweeten to create the Influence Index, a measure of all 100 honorees according to their connections on Facebook and Twitter. And assistant managing editor Ratu Kamlani and deputy chief of reporters Andrea Dorfman made the whole process seem easy.

Our TIME 100 online poll attracted a lot of attention this year, and we committed to putting the winner on the list. Mir-Hossein Mousavi won with a total of 831,549 votes, beating out Lady Gaga and Kim Yu-Na in a last-minute surge. (Gaga's and Kim's fans need not despair; they're on the list too.) For his annual TIME 100 essay, columnist Joel Stein, at great personal risk, assembled a rival roster of the 100 least influential people in the world. You can see his entire list at And we'll showcase a special edition of the TIME 100 on the iPad — including photo galleries and video from our cover shoots, in which honorees like Bill Clinton and Didier Drogba talk about the people who have influenced them most.