CryptocurrencyLeadershipInvestingClimate ChangeMost Powerful Women

25 facts about the new 40 Under 40, 2014 edition

October 14, 2014, 1:00 PM UTC

Twitter IPO

November 7 Left to right: Twitter co-founders Jack Dorsey, Christopher Isaac, Biz Stone, Evan Williams, and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange the day the microblogging service went public in one of the year's most anticipated IPOs.
Photograph by Emmanuel Dunand — AFP/Getty Images

Of all the lists we here at Fortune put out, our 40 Under 40 is perhaps the most aspirational.

Many of the tweets we see each October, when the new list is revealed, are from readers expressing their hope to one day land on the list, or their jealousy, joking or not, of those who do make it. “Next goal, get on list,” tweeted @EmmaleeJ. “Once again, maybe next year,” said @cwcarlsn. And @EvilSpyBoy tweeted hopefully, “I have a few more years to get on this list, at least…”

So, then, how does a person make it on?

We like to say that the 40 Under 40 is, at its simplest, about power and influence. But in practice, it’s also about ideas—sometimes ideas that have big backing, and big potential, but aren’t yet at the level of a Facebook, an Uber, or a Twitter. And that’s okay. It’s not all tech, of course—the list has a number of startup CEOs, but we also seek to showcase those who’ve risen to a high position at more traditional, Fortune 500 companies. (In other words, you don’t have to launch your own business to land on this list.) This marks the sixth year of the list in its current format; Fortune did a 40 Under 40 before 2010, but it purely measured wealth. Now the franchise isn’t about money, but drive, disruption, and influence.

Some quick stats about this year’s list—and some of the surprising connections that the new crop of stars share with each other and with those from past years, too—might provide additional insight into this fast, crazed, ever-evolving world of young business.

For the first time ever, our no. 1 is a tie: the CEOs of Uber and Airbnb. Why? Those two companies, which have grown super-fast and have come to define the new era of ‘convenience’ technology, are facing important legislative hurdles that pose a risk to their business model. And both represent the ways in which the new, instant-service Internet economy can clash with the traditional, old-world economy.

Three of this year’s 40 Under 40 were born in Ukraine: Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev, WhatsApp founder Jan Koum, and Lifeway Foods CEO Julie Smolyansky. We’re not sure what to make of this, beyond that it’s fascinating a country undergoing such important political turmoil has also birthed three young business stars seeing success in three very different industries right now.

13 of this year’s listers are 39. So don’t expect to see them on the list again next year.

The youngest man on the list is 24: Evan Spiegel of Snapchat. The youngest woman is 28: Megan Ellison of Annapurna Pictures. And those two are the only listers this year under 30. Last year, there were five.

The women and men have virtually the exact same average age: the 31 men have an average age of 35.32, while the 15 women average at 35.13. The list’s editor, Leigh Gallagher, theorizes that the reason it’s so hard to find qualifying women under 40 is that women in business tend to make their biggest gains in the years immediately after 40. Read her thoughts: Why age 40-44 is the sweet spot for women in business.

13 of this year’s listers are executives at publicly traded companies.

– Marc Andreessen, the creator of Netscape, who was on our list in 2010, wields big influence among this set: his Andreessen Horowitz has invested in 5 of the companies: Airbnb, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Walker & Co.

– Perhaps it’s a sign of how crucial it is to have connections these days. Four of this year’s listers have fathers that are or were huge figures in their industry: Delphine Arnault, Ivanka Trump, Megan Ellison and Hannah Minghella.

– Speaking of family business, two of this year’s listers have family members that made the list in the past: Lyndon Rive hatched the idea for SolarCity with his brother and his cousin Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, who made the list in 2010; Ben Rhodes‘s brother David is the head of CBS News and made the list in 2012.

– Your smartphone is the hot spot: 12 of the listers founded or work for mobile tech platforms.

19 of the 40 slots are from the technology industry.

– The next biggest sector is finance, with six. Five people are in the fashion industry.

Nine of this year’s listers are repeats; all but one of the repeats are in technology.

Three of the listers are in politics: one is a prime minister, one works in the White House, and the third is a key fundraiser for Rand Paul.

– With the exception of finance, ties are out: 11 of the men rarely wear neckties.

– Some of them share educational backgrounds: Peter Wallace went to high school with Mason Morfit (at the Sidwell Friends school in Washington, D.C.) and went to college with Michael Patterson (at Harvard, where fellow lister Raj Chetty teaches, and where Sarah Kauss went to business school).

– Coffee keeps them all moving: three of them list coffee as their favorite drink.

– Boston bias? Two listers say they root for the Red Sox; none of them listed the Yankees.

– Talk about starting off with the modern classics. Their most common ‘first concerts’ were Madonna and U2.

Three listers have worked at Twitter: Vijaya Gadde, Jack Dorsey, and Tristan Walker. (And co-founders Biz Stone and Ev Williams have also graced our list.)

– Is the West Coast the best coast? 22 of this year’s listers are based in California, 9 in New York.

Now that you’ve looked behind the numbers, if you’re still hoping to one day make the list, why not get some career tips directly from the 40 Under 40? Check out the best advice they ever got.