Robyn Twomey—Corbis Outline
April 23, 2014 6:02 PM EDT

The race to make wearable tech the biggest thing since the smartphone is on. Apple, Google and Samsung are all working on making our gadgets far more personal by packing in sensors that measure everything from heart rate to hydration. Yet with his company’s line of UP wristband computers, Hosain Rahman is out ahead of them all.

Since Rahman co-founded Jawbone in 1999, he’s managed to stay one step ahead of the prevailing vogue. He turned the Bluetooth headset into an objet d’art exhibited in venues from San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art to the Pompidou Center in Paris. He perfected the small, portable wireless speaker before there were millions of them out there. And with the fitness- and sleep-tracking UP band, he’s turned Jawbone into one of the biggest companies in wearables. It doesn’t hurt that the slinky bands look cool; they’ve been spotted on the wrists of celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Demi Moore.

Most founders in Silicon Valley pay lip service to design. Rahman is one of few who has proved how powerful it really is.

Vella is TIME’s business and technology editor

More Must-Read Stories From TIME

Contact us at

Read More From TIME
You May Also Like