How We Chose the TIME100 Most Influential Companies of 2023

4 minute read
Sam Jacobs is Editor in Chief at TIME where he leads TIME’s global newsroom and its journalism across all platforms. Since joining TIME in 2013, Jacobs has held a variety of senior editorial leadership positions. Previously, he was national political correspondent at Reuters, associate editor at Newsweek and staff reporter for The Daily Beast. His writing has appeared in the Boston Globe and New York Observer.

Not long before we launched the first TIME100 Companies list in 2021, Jensen Huang told us, “AI is a watershed moment for the world.” That moment has now arrived. Recently, Huang’s company, Nvidia, which makes the hardware powering this revolution, was valued at over $1 trillion. This year’s list, which again includes Nvidia, shows the power of this vision. Accomplishments in AI earned spots for more than a dozen companies, up from five a year ago.

Perhaps most visible among them is OpenAI and its CEO Sam Altman. Their ChatGPT program has rocketed in popularity, hitting 100 million active users in two months. (It took Instagram 2½ years.) TIME’s former editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal visited Altman and his colleagues in San Francisco in May. We found Altman uncertain about what’s next, describing himself as both “very optimistic and prepared for things to go super wrong at any point.” As Edward and Billy Perrigo write, OpenAI’s impact may be measured not just in users but also in how the company and its rivals shape the future.

To create TIME100 Companies, our editors, led by Emma Barker, seek nominations from across sectors, and poll our global network of contributors and correspondents, as well as outside experts. Then we evaluate each on key factors, including impact, innovation, ambition, and success. The result is a diverse group of businesses helping chart an essential path forward.

Since we began this effort, we’ve seen how quickly the role business plays in our lives can change. We launched this franchise following the first year of a pandemic that transformed how many people viewed their jobs, their offices, and work entirely. Company leaders were thinking in new ways about what they owed their employees, society, and the planet.

These shifts accelerated our interest in hosting regular conversations with the people shaping the world’s most influential companies. Our weekly newsletter The Leadership Brief—interviews with individuals who lead top global organizations—has built a community of subscribers that includes more than 500,000 people on LinkedIn. To expand on those conversations, we recently launched the TIME CO2 Leadership Report, in which Justin Worland explores the overlapping worlds of business and climate. That intersection is growing more crowded and consequential: compared with last year, twice as many of this year’s TIME100 Companies are leaders in sustainability and climate action.

Since its founding a century ago, TIME has believed individuals play an essential role in shaping the world. That view is strengthened by many of the TIME100 Companies founders and CEOs. While Kim Kardashian has shaken up our culture over the past 15 years, this is the first time she appears on our cover, in recognition of the remarkable growth of her fashion company Skims. Its origin story involves the star using tea bags to dye undergarments a preferred color and tape to get the right fit. Those DIY alterations have led to a privately held company valued at $3.2 billion, which, Kardashian tells Belinda Luscombe, is more wildly successful than even she imagined.

Among the other executives who provide insights as part of this year’s TIME100 Companies are Rob Manfred, commissioner of Major League Baseball, which changed the game by introducing the pitch clock this year; Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen, the CEO of Novo Nordisk, which created diabetes and weight-loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy; and SeungKyu Yoon, the CEO of Kia America, which this year made an impressive pivot to electric vehicles.

This week happens to mark my 10th year at TIME. That anniversary arriving at the same time as TIME100 Companies reminds me how businesses don’t change just the world but also the people who work at them. A lot has evolved in the past 10 years, and even more across TIME’s 100-year history. Fortunately, much has stayed the same. Our legacy is our strength and, like many of the companies on this year’s list, we are excited to be building on it.

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