30 Under 30 Grows Up
Exactly ten years ago, Forbes produced a new list, the 30 Under 30, that proved perfect for the times. It highlighted young disruptors and innovators at the exact moment the “technology industry” ceased to exist. Every single industry, of course, underwent tech-driven change, with the digital natives—those born in the 1980s and then the ’90s—driving it.
Forbes readers therefore learned early about Vlad Tenev and Robinhood, Whitney Wolfe Herd and Bumble, Zhang Yiming and ByteDance. Future Nobel Peace Prize winners (Malala Yousafzai), future pop-entrepreneurs (Rihanna), future billionaires (too many to name), all chronicled in their flight’s takeoff stage. “It felt like getting drafted into the big leagues,” says Dropbox cofounder Drew Houston of making the list. We began convening these young superstars at Under 30 Summits globally and connecting them digitally. Voilà—one of the world’s most important networks was born.
Just as adolescence kicks in around age 10, we recognize that the Forbes 30 Under 30 must spread its wings. The pandemic has scrambled everything and underscored how innovators in the private sector still produce miracles, from vaccines to seamless Zoom calls. We need to think fairer, in terms of opportunity. We need to think bigger, in terms of solutions. In the 30 Under 30, we have the perfect cohort—this year, nearly one-quarter immigrants, two-fifths women, half people of color and 100 percent looking at ways to make a positive impact at scale.
So throughout 2022, you’re going to see a more purpose-driven Forbes 30 Under 30. City-by-city chapters to foster collaboration. Month-long coworking residencies with service at their core. And gatherings across the world, including our first Under 30 Summit in Africa and a new global mentoring initiative.
The amazing young innovators in this issue can expect to be around for the next seven decades or so. We’re here to help empower them to make the world they shape even better than the one they inherited.