1. Chris Cox runs your newsfeed.
In the earliest days of Facebook, the newsfeed was essentially a “bunch of knobs” that Facebook’s employees turned to figure out what users should see when they logged in. Today, the newsfeed team has a few dozen people on it, led by Cox and lead engineers like Lars Backstrom — and for the most part, it’s now done algorithmically.
2. Sam Lessin is in charge of your Facebook profile.
Lessin is a director of Facebook’s Identity product group, which oversees the Facebook Timeline. He’s also part of the team that oversees how Facebook users interface with privacy settings.
3. Andrew “Boz” Bosworth is in charge of the ads you see on Facebook.
Known affectionally as “Boz,” Bosworth is the product group lead for ads — meaning he oversees engineering, design, and product on the ads front.
He leads up Facebook’s big effort to find ways to make money and establish itself as a real business following the company’s massive shift in focus to mobile devices. Under Boz, the company has developed a number of new advertising schemes, such as Mobile App Install ads and highly successful ads in the newsfeed — the ads most Facebook users see on a daily basis.
4. Eddy Cue is in charge of all of Apple’s iPhone services, like Maps.
Following the disastrous release of Apple Maps, Eddy Cue took an increasingly large role over online services — like iTunes and iCloud — at Apple and became internally known as the company’s “Mr. Fix It.” His importance continued to increase when Scott Forstall left the company following the Maps fiasco.
5. Meanwhile, Craig Federighi is in charge of the rest of your iPhone.
Along with Cue, Federighi gained an increasing share of importance at Apple when he took over the company’s software division. He was one of several stars in the design of the new iPhone operating system.
Instead of the “skeumorphic” design led by Forstall — which was supposed to look and emulate real-world objects like note pads and casino tables — the new operating system has a distinctive modern feel to it.
6. Michael Sippey designs your Twitter experience.
Sippey calls the shots for a deep product team that includes the likes of Michael Davidson and, until recently, well-known designer Joshua Brewer (who recently left to start his own company).
7. Kevin Weil decides what the ads on Twitter look like.
The point-man for Twitter’s rising advertising platform, Weil is the man that is in charge of the ad products that end up in a Twitter feed. He’s described as “the Sam Lessin of Twitter ads.”
8. Amit Singhal is determining what shows up in your Google search results.
Singhal, a distinguished fellow at Google, is not just charged with making sure the search results for Google’s search — its most widely known product — are relevant. Part of Google’s new era of search is building out the “Knowledge Graph,” which basically returns direct answers for questions or searches like “distance to the moon.”
With the emergence of “Google Now,” a context-aware predictive search algorithm that Google is building out, the technological problem Singhal now tackles is enabling Google to answer questions users are — literally, with their voices — asking their devices.
9. Susan Wojcicki’s team decides what ads you see on Google.
There is a saying at Google that goes along the lines of, “what Susan wants, Susan gets.”
That’s because Wojcicki is in charge of the lion’s share of Google’s revenue — of which more than 90% comes from advertising. Google’s business, unlike others like Apple, scales to the number of users that are accessing the Internet and are able to interact with ads.
10. Salar Kamangar is running a fortress of cat videos and memes at YouTube.
Prior to taking over YouTube, Kamangar was vice president of Google’s web applications, including Gmail and Talk, and also worked on Google’s monetization products. Now, YouTube is one of the top destinations on the Web, and serves as one of the highest-potential products Google has in its arsenal.
11. Jason Wilson is the mastermind behind Pinterest’s design.
In addition to designing Pinterest’s first iPad app, he was in charge of the site’s big redesign. He was previously a designer at both Facebook and Apple. Most recently, Wilson worked with Lytro, a piece of camera technology that takes a photo that can be embedded on the Web and refocused at any point.
12. Tommy Palm is the reason you can’t put Candy Crush down.
In an interview with Valleywag, Palm swears that there is “no evil scheme behind” the highly addictive and highly successful smartphone game Candy Crush Saga. Palm started programming games for Commodore 64 back in 1986 as a hobby, the company says.
He is King.com’s “games guru” and helped lead Candy Crush to tens of millions of players. The company is also reportedly planning an initial public offering off the success of its games — a stark contrast to some other gaming companies like Zynga, which is finding itself struggling to turn around.