Rank: 34
David Heinemeier Hansson
Partner, 37signals
Why He Matters: Programming a website isn't quite child's play -- at least not yet. But thanks to Hansson, it's no longer rocket science either. Hansson is the producer of Ruby on Rails, an open-source tool that makes it easier to use the Ruby programming language. RoR has made it dramatically faster and cheaper to build dynamic websites -- a transformation that's done much to help make today's crop of Web 2.0 startups so successful. But it's not just software developers who appreciate Ruby on Rails; Hansson also used it to create 37signals's simple-yet-powerful Basecamp, Backpack, and Ta-da Web-based organizational tools. The future of software looks a lot less cumbersome, and for that we have Hansson to thank.