I dare say our illustrious panel failed in several instances to measure nominees against the actual definition of influence and has instead lazily retreated to those who are merely "popular."
Influence is defined as: "the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself; the power to shape policy or ensure favorable treatment from someone, especially through status, contacts, or wealth; a person or thing with the capacity or power to have an effect on someone or something."
Under these parameters, I fail to see how a professional football coach would ever be considered for such a list, unless such coach had so revolutionized the sport with new schemes that it spawned disciples everywhere. Jason Garrett is a talented, smart, passionate coach, but he is far from influential under even the broadest sense of the word.
Similarly, an author who publishes millions and millions of best-selling books may be popular, famous even, but such does not translate to influence per se unless, again, the works spawn movements or transform cultures in measurable ways.
Context being of prime importance in any ranked list, it would be improper for me to criticize and then fail to suggest far more deserving alternatives. So here goes.
Where is Meg Whitman, an individual with enormous influence, in and out of technology circles? Where is Queen Noor, whose many philanthropic initiatives are well-known and broad-based? And I see no Steve Forbes, the titular head of one of the most influential business magazines on the planet. Where is Edward Felsenthal, editor-in-chief of Time Magazine with 3 times the number of subscribers as David Remnick's The New Yorker? Where are all the elite Princeton venture capitalists and private equity leaders who, everyday, exercise their enormous influence and determine which new ideas, entrepreneurs, and companies get funded, sold, and acquired? Surely their multibillion-dollar value creation impact/influence is worthy of consideration.
Hopefully next time, such a list will include those who have actual influence and not just popularity.