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7 of the Most Influential People You've Never Heard of

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These are the folks who've been quietly pulling the strings, setting the benchmarks, and majorly influencing the worlds of sports, comedy, music, business, tech, and (yes) beer... and you probably have no idea who they are.

1. William Wesley 

A basketball industry mega player (but not on the court), Wesley (AKA World Wild Wes), is a baller in his own right, which is to say he's wielded massive influence in the sport, without ever having been beholden to a particular company or brand beyond himself. He's not an agent but rather a "consultant" whose close friendships include Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Richard Hamilton and Allen Iverson, all of whom you've no doubt heard of, while ol' Wes works behind the scenes near-anonymously. 

2. Dr. Luke

While Dr. Luke is a doctor only in the way you pretend to be at school reunions, he is a genuinely prolific force in pop music. This producer/songwriter has manufactured innumerable chart-topping songs, assuring that the likes of Miley Cyrus can enter like a "Wrecking Ball." The good Doctor is laughing all the way to the bank: he's also written songs for Taio Cruz, B.o.B, Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, T.I., Flo Rida, Miley Cyrus, Jessie J, Juicy J, and Shakira, among others. 

3. John Doerr 

The vision of this tech-industry kingmaker (and his accordant venture capital decisions) helped create companies such as: Compaq, Netscape, Symantec, Sun Microsystems, drugstore.com, Amazon.com, Intuit, Macromedia and Google; his net worth is 2.7 billion and that's probably the first picture you've ever seen of the guy.

Ray Donovan

Ray Donovan has made a name for himself as the master of discreetly arranging and conveniently erasing all the dirty little secrets of LA's elite. Abiding by his own sense of moral justice, this Boston badass can handle any situation without missing a beat. Don’t be surprised if more than one member of this list has Ray on speed dial.

4. Simon Rich

Beginning as editor-in-chief of Harvard's National Lampoon, Rich's career has been wildly successful for years. Rich wrote for SNL for four years and was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Variety, Music or Comedy Series. And (deep breath) he's also contributed to: McSweeney's, GQ, the Guardian's Observer magazine, Mad Magazine, Vanity Fair (FRANCE), UK Glamour, Italian GQ, Italian Granta, npr.com, NPR's "Selected Shorts," The Barcelona Review, and The New Yorker, and more. Oh, and he's just 31.

5. Michael McDole 

Mike "Tasty" McDole is one of the most respected home-brewers globally, but the dude doesn't even have a Wikipedia page. While those in the know have been tipping their hats (as they're sipping his beers) for years. McDole is spotlight shy, but his beers gained widespread attention in 2007, when McDole won the Boston Beer Company’s “Longshot Competition” with his Double IPA recipe. Nowadays, Tasty has brews his stuff for small bottle labels, which have limited/season availability. But his expertise is available online and year-round on the brewing network.

6. Natalie Massenet 

Former journalist and current fashion guru, Massenet convinced the world’s leading designers (Marc Jacobs, Chloe and Jimmy Choo) to sell their product online (crazy, right?), according to her (then) unproven business model. In 2000, she had this idea: to let buyers "click" on an ensemble featured in a magazine in order to purchase it; online retail hasn't been the same since. 

7. Roger Deakins 

Deakins is regarded as one of the best cinematographers in the business, and is a personal favorite of the Coen Brothers and Sam Mendes. Despite having worked on the Big Lebowski, and 12 nominations, Deakins has never won an Academy Award. To address this, we suggest his new moniker be: Rodger "Stiffed" Deakins.