There’s a small group of men who are changing your world. Some of them you’ll recognize, but some operate behind the curtain. They have ideas, and they have the resources to execute them. From the thrift shop to outer space, these men are the new generation of innovators. They’re changing the rules. Fixing the system. And taking us all along for the ride.

THE TRANSPORTER // Rocketing toward the future

PayPal co-founder Elon Musk hopes to get you from New York to L.A. in less than an hour. But that’s just one of his goals.

How massive are 42-year-old Elon Musk’s plans for changing the transportation game? Let’s start with the most basic concept—Tesla Motors, the company that’s producing the definitive electric car, which performed “better, or just as well overall” as any auto that Consumer Reports has ever tested, scoring a near 99/100 on their scale. His next, slightly more ambitious project? It’s called the Hyperloop. If completed, it would shuttle people from New York to L.A. in under an hour via a series of pneumatic tubes (think of The Jetsons and you won’t be far off). The concept is still in its infancy, but Musk promised it would be “a cross between a Concorde, a rail gun, and an air hockey table,” at the AllThingsD’s D11 conference earlier this year. Still, both of those innovations pale in comparison with his grandest plan—colonization of Mars. While his designs on how to do it haven’t been announced yet, Musk sees expanding humanity’s footprint to other planets as a must if we’re to ensure the survival of our species. His company, SpaceX, which produces rockets for NASA as well as private investors, is poised to help humanity make it a reality. It’s just one small step for Musk, but a giant leap for mankind. —Sam DeHority 

Fit Fact: Musk uses his 20,248-square-foot home, which features a swimming pool, tennis court, and home gym, to help him stay in shape.

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THE DIFFERENCE RUNNER // Running the good race

Gene Gurkoff (middle) turned his back on Wall Street and ran for his life—and the lives of others.

Gene Gurkoff was a finance lawyer for nearly seven years before he decided to do something more meaningful.

Using marathons as a jumping-off point, the 34-year old started running for various causes, eventually founding Team Fox in 2005 with the Michael J. Fox Foundation to raise money for Parkinson’s research. Today, with 38 marathons under his belt, Gurkoff is also the founder of Charity Miles, an app that earns money for charity when you walk, bike, or run. So far, with 100,000 active members, the app has raised $400,000 for charity. “We laid the basic infrastructure,” he says, “[The users] are doing all these amazing things with it. They’ve gone to the moon and back three times—that’s a lot of miles. —Ben Radding

Fit Fact: A veteran marathoner, Gurkoff sticks to a strict training regimen. “For marathons, I recommend running three days a week,” he says. “Two short or medium runs, and one longer run on the weekends. On the other days I recommend cycling, cross training, or hiking. I also walk to all my meetings, which, in NYC, can be an extra three to five miles a day.”

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THE BAR MENDER // Beefing up the protein bar

Taylor Collins (left) is taking a bite out of the supplement industry.

Taylor Collins once stared down a mountain lion during a camping trip. Now, he’s taking on the protein-bar market. Along with fiancée Katie Forrest, Collins set out to create the ultimate protein fix, one that doesn’t contain chemically derived soy or whey protein isolates. The result: Epic, a savory bar made with 100% grass-fed protein. “There’s nothing more encoded in our DNA than animal protein,” says the 31-year-old endurance athlete. “Our body knows how to metabolize it well because it’s how we evolved in consuming proteins. Other protein bars may boast 25 grams of protein, but if you really start to dissect it, the quality of the protein is a little bogus. So your body might be able to absorb only, say, eight grams of those 25.” Because Epic is low in sugar, it gives diabetic, Paleo, and gluten-free dieters a healthy snack option. Some detractors may point out the high fat content of Epic beef and bison bars, but Collins has that covered. “The misconception is that dietary fat leads to weight gain,” he says. “But recent research points out it’s more uncontrolled carb and sugar intake mixed with a sedentary lifestyle that really spikes insulin levels and thereby shuts down your body’s ability to break down fat.” Now available online (epicbar.com), Epic bars will also roll out in Whole Foods locations in mid-November. —Nate Millado

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THE RESEARCHER // Cracking the cancer code

Thanks to Isaac Kinde (right), physicians may soon be able to detect cancer with a blood test.

Isaac Kinde, a 29-year-old M.D.-Ph.D. candidate at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, is on a mission to detect cancer at the molecular level—when the disease is easiest to treat.

Earlier this year, Kinde’s research on using a patent-pending process to detect ovarian and endometrial cancers produced exciting results, which were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. His team is now using the cutting-edge gene sequencing strategy to test for colon, pancreatic, and bladder cancers.

While larger-scale studies must be carried out before the new detection technique can be used in a clinical setting, Kinde hopes that the test will be ready for routine use within the next three to five years. “I have friends and family who are affected by cancer,” says Kinde. “There’s no shortage of reminders of how important it is to improve patient outcomes. —Hollis Templeton

Fit Fact: Kinde counts his daily bike commute as cardio and does three 30-minute weightlifting workouts a week. “Since I don’t have much free time, I keep each session efficient by doing only compound exercises like squats, bench presses, deadlifts, and pullups,” he says.

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THE INDIE SUPERSTARS // Making music with a conscience

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are thrift store lovers, social activists, and the biggest rap group of the year—and, unlike almost every other act on the charts, they’ve done it all without the support of a major record label.

If you’ve listened to pop music at all in the last year, you’ve likely run across Macklemore and Ryan Lewis in some form. Their first two singles—“Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us”—were back-to back No. 1 smash hits, together racking up nearly half a billion views and iTunes downloads in the millions. But what’s interesting about the pair isn’t just the emergence of another chart topping rap group. It’s the way they got to the top—and what they’re doing now that they’re there.

Macklemore, 30 (real name: Ben Haggerty) and Lewis, 25, formed a group in 2006 and began producing mixtapes that eventually drew the attention of the major labels. But instead of signing a deal and becoming part of the hit-making corporate machine, they decided to stay indie. And instead of writing songs about parties, babes, and booze, their tracks address everything from gay rights and gender roles to anti commercialism and the dangers of the kind of brand worship that’s become so prevalent in the urban mainstream.

When asked on NYC’s Hot 97—one of the country’s premier rap stations—about fears of turning off potential listeners by making songs with a message, Macklemore responded with typical candor: “[I don’t] worry about what the Internet is going to say about us. I don’t give a f—k. I’d rather change people’s lives than worry what the comments are going to say." —Brian Good

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THE PROVOCATEUR // Making Madison Avenue squirm

Street artist Vermibus is blurring the lines between advertising and art.

Advertisements marred by graffiti are nothing new. But recently, a whole new level of this art form has begun popping up around the city of Berlin, courtesy of Spanish street artist Vermibus.

Sometimes referred to as the next Banksy, this talented twenty something surreptitiously collects ads from bus depots and city billboards and brings them back to his studio, where they become the base material for his work. Using mineral spirits, he brushes away the faces and flesh of the models as well as any brand logos, turning them into ghostly apparitions of their former selves. With the transformation complete, he then reintroduces the ads-turned-art back into its original location, thus (according to his Vimeo profile) “hijacking the publicity and its purpose.”

If advertisements seek to take away a person’s identity and replace it with a sexier, glossier one, Vermibus is out to flip that notion on its ear, changing the way people are confronted by marketing.

By dehumanizing figures that were already depersonalized, the ads, ironically, end up drawing even more attention than before. People stop, stare, discuss, photograph, and engage with them in an entirely new way.

Though Vermibus’ identity has been closely guarded, his stealth and tongue-in-cheek way of plain  with the subject of consumerism have upped the artist’s status on the international post-graffiti scene. So it might not be long till fans unmask the man behind these mysterious masterpieces. —Lauren Greene [pagebreak]

THE COMEDIAN // Bringing Tonight into today

Jimmy Fallon brought late-night television into the digital age. Now he can’t wait to get his hands on The Tonight Show.

"I'm wearing more suits than I ever thought I would,” Jimmy Fallon tells me over the phone. He’s in L.A., I’m in New York, which is only fitting; next year, the 39-year-old entertainer will bring The Tonight Show back to the Empire State for the first time in more than two decades when he takes over from Jay Leno. “I feel like in my head I’ll never grow up—I’m always going to be a kid, just ’cause that’s what keeps my brain moving—being interested in the new video game, the new technology.” That edginess is what’s enabled Fallon to reimagine the late-night television format for a younger generation, starting with Late Night. “We made it modular so that different pieces of the show could be enjoyed online, which a lot of shows hadn’t done,” says Fallon, who’s excited to bring similar innovation and energy to his new gig, despite feeling somewhat nervous. But he’s been here before. “I never thought I’d end up hosting a talk show,” he admits. “The only way to learn how to do these jobs, or any job really, is to just get in there and start doing it. —Dean Stattmann

Fit Fact: Fallon works out three times a week and keeps tabs on his body-fat percentage with a Withings scale, which he’s very excited to talk about. He’s also a proud new father to a baby girl, who he expects will dramatically improve his diet: “Now, with the baby, I’m just going to eat pureed vegetables.” We advised him against it.

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The URBAN NOMAD // Couch surfing the digital planet

Airbnb’s Brian Chesky is using crowdsourcing to turn tourists into locals.

Brian Chesky, 31, may be the successful co-founder of Airbnb, one of San Francisco’s most buzzed-about start-ups, but for the past few years, he’s been homeless. Chesky spends his nights hopping among strangers’ bedrooms, random couches, and unfamiliar apartments (helping himself to cable and Wi-Fi), all in an effort to test and improve the quality of the online travel-booking engine that he helped to create.

His mission was simple: to apply the concept of “crowd sourcing” (think Zipcar or Lift) to the travel experience. Why stay in a sterile, soulless hotel when you can immerse yourself in the local culture and save money by renting from a host?

Chesky and cofounder Joe Gebbia started Airbnb on a lark in 2007, renting out rooms in their San Francisco loft when hotel rooms sold out ahead of a nearby design conference. This one-time venture was so successful that the pair realized there was an opportunity to align travelers with locals who had rooms to spare. Together, along with programmer Nathan Blecharczyk, they founded Airbnb and set out to change the way people travel.

Six years later, with Airbnb listing properties in 33,000 cities and 192 countries around the globe, Chesky’s concept is revolutionizing the way we encounter and experience a destination when we’re far from home. —Amanda Pressner

Fit Fact: Before founding Airbnb, Chesky was a competitive bodybuilder, and the healthy habits he adopted—eating right and working out—are still very much a part of his lifestyle.

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THE REDEEMER // Daring not to dope

The first Tour de France winner since Lance Armstrong’s confession, Chris Froome is pro cycling’s last bastion of hope.

In professional cycling, you don’t just decide to win, even if you think you can. Last year, it was not Chris Froome’s job to win the Tour de France; his mission was to support Sky teammate Bradley Wiggins. Indeed, Wiggins finished with the yellow jersey, becoming the first-ever Brit to do so; but you couldn’t ignore Froome, 28, who by all accounts could’ve taken it. This year, Team Sky made Froome their man. Free to go allot, the Kenya-born, South Africa-raised cyclist with a British passport ripped through the peloton and defended his lead with an air of dominance eerily reminiscent of Lance Armstrong. Predictably, suspicions of doping abounded throughout the Tour—Froome’s winning margin of four minutes, 20 seconds was the biggest since self-confessed doper Jan Ullrich’s nine minutes, nine seconds in 2007—but he’s confident he won’t let the sport down the way Armstrong did. Talking to the Associated Press immediately following the race, Froome said, “This is one yellow jersey that will stand the test of time. —Dean Stattmann  

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THE MOBILIZER // Activating social media

Ben Rattray is returning the power to the people.

In 2007, Ben Rattray founded the website change.org as a social networking destination where activists could unite in their desire to fight the good fight.

“I saw the rise of MySpace and Facebook in 2005 and realized the impact of social media,” says Rattray, 33. “It allows people to come together around a common interest and organize with one voice that’s far more powerful than individually.”

Today, the site has morphed into an Internet hub for thousands of petitions for various causes around the world. Users have the opportunity to be heard on everything from workers’ rights to environmental issues. The San Francisco-based company currently has more than 40 million users and receives up to 1,000 new petitions daily.

A few examples: Via change.org, a 22-year-old nanny stopped a $5 fee Bank of America wanted to impose on its debit card holders; a recent college grad collected 110,000 signatures that forced Sallie Mae to rethink its forbearance fee policy; and in February 2013, more than a million Spanish citizens signed a petition asking for the resignation of their entire government.

“The site allows people not only to take action,” Rattray says,“but also to create real change on the issues they’re passionate about. —Matt Caputo

Fit Fact: “I do short, intense bursts of exercise: room sprints, pushups—usually 30 minutes in all,” says Rattray. “It’s about efficiency—getting into the best shape possible in the time I have available.”

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The DJ  // Waking up the charts

With his first full-length album, Swedish DJ Avicii is breathing new life into the world of electronic dance music.

Life can’t get much sweeter than when you’re 24 years old and “work” involves topping pop charts around the globe and playing tunes in some of the hottest clubs on the planet. Such is the life of Swedish-born Tim Bergling, more commonly known by his stage name Avicii. Bergling began remixing and producing tracks at the age of 18, and had released more than 20 tracks to varying levels of success before his big breakthrough with 2011’s Etta James’ sampling smash “Levels.” But it’s his latest single, “Wake Me Up,” that many experts expect to launch him into the stratosphere. The first cut from his just-released debut album, #True, “Wake Me Up” combines folk, soul, and synths in a way that shouldn’t work, but does—in a big way. Within weeks of its release, the track topped charts in 48 countries, becoming a huge hit in the U.S. and the biggest-selling single of the year (so far) in the U.K. “I work with all these people from different genres, and they all bring their own influences into my work,” says Bergling. “It’s so interesting to see what comes out. —Brian Good

Fit Fact: Bergling spends the majority of his time on the road, surrounded by Red Bull and airport food. Still, he fits in fitness whenever possible. “I travel with several different strengths of TRX bands and some ropes,” he says. “There are so many different exercises you can do without a gym. That’s the way I’ve solved it, for now.”

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THE MODERN INKEEPER // Rebooting the hotel

Ace Hotel founder Alex Calderwood thinks your hotel should be the most Instagram-worthy part of any trip.

No matter how much you travel, there’s nothing familiar about the experience of checking in at an Ace Hotel. Co-founded by Alex Calderwood, 45, a self-described “cultural engineer,” an Ace is like a thrift store, performance art center, and hip bar all in one. There are salvaged details that give the hotels a lived-in feel, vintage furniture with a soulful vibe, and modern amenities that exude luxury.

And that unconventional approach is paying off in spades. Started in 1999 in a former flophouse in Seattle, Ace now has hotels in Portland, New York City, Palm Springs, and London, with the newest opening soon in downtown L.A.

Ever-expanding— Calderwood has said he’d like to open one or two hotels every year—the entrepreneur is bucking trends while remaining übertrendy. “The thing that’s been successful for us is to challenge convention,” he told Entrepreneur magazine. “To not always buy into the idea that things have to work the way they have in the past, or operate the way the industry tells you they should. —Adam Bible
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THE VIEW MASTER // Channeling viral videos

A video isn’t viral until YouTube’s Kevin Allocca (left) says so.

All of us watch YouTube at work—but Kevin Allocca makes a living out of it. As YouTube’s trends manager, Allocca keeps a pulse on pop culture, sifting through the roughly 100 hours of videos uploaded every minute to bring you the double rainbows and Nyan Cats of the world (youtube.com/trends). So what makes a 30- second video of random convulsions to a bass-heavy dance track go viral? The 29-year-old Hollywood, FL, native chalks it up to the unexpected. “I always say I’m never surprised at how much I’m surprised,” he says. “If you went back to June of last year and said, ‘Hey, next month, a Korean pop artist is going to make a video, all in Korean, and it’s going to be the first video to reach a billion, you’d think that would be totally impossible. But it happened. We naturally respond to things that defy our expectations.” —Nate Millado

Fit Fact: As a Google employee, Allocca has a wide range of fitness perks available to him, from kitchens stocked with healthy snacks (like almonds and dried fruit) to the state-of-the-art gym at the company’s California headquarters. —Nate Millado 
 

THE MULTITASKING MILLENNIAL // Making content play harder

An agent, director, and entrepreneur, Cash Warren’s (middle) days never stop.

Cash Warren is no stranger to hard work. After graduating from Yale, he got a job with William Morris, one of the top talent agencies in the world. That gig led to the movies, where he assisted director Tim Story on films like Fantastic Four. By 25, the natural-born overachiever had started his own company, producing original content and developing digital distribution systems to take them to market. Nine years later, he’s still at it, having recently launched two new YouTube channels—The NOC (about the everyday lives of athletes) and YOMYOMF (based on the popular comedy blog “You Offend Me You Offend My Family”). The secret to his success? “I work with people who are much smarter than I am,” says Warren, “so the goal is always to empower them.” He also admits to religiously utilizing every hour in his day, from planned training sessions to business meetings to uninterrupted quality time with his family—including his wife, Jessica Alba. “I make sure to always stay busy,” he says. “I get bored when I’m not working. —Samantha Sutton

Fit Fact: “I train every morning as soon as I get up,” Warren says. “I go running, do sprints, and then pushups and situps.” 

The E-ADVOCATE // Doctoring medicine

Cyrus Massoumi (right) is taking healthcare reform into his own hands with a revolutionary mobile app.

Should it be easier to book a dinner reservation at your town’s trendiest restaurant than it is to lock down a doctor’s appointment that doesn’t mess with your work schedule? Cyrus Massoumi doesn’t think so. That’s why he set out six years ago to change the way Americans access the $2.7 trillion health-care industry.

Massoumi, 36, is CEO and cofounder of ZocDoc, a free online and app-based service that allows users to search for physicians who accept their insurance, see real-time availability, book appointments for everything from allergy shots to eye exams, and ultimately get in to see the doc within 24 to 72 hours. Users can also read reviews and fill out medical forms online. “I’d love for people to no longer think of health care as a part of their lives where they can’t expect the same great customer service that they have everywhere else,” says Massoumi, who came up with the idea for ZocDoc when he had to wait four days to see a doctor after rupturing his eardrum on a flight.

Today, more than 2.5 million patients use ZocDoc each month, booking thousands of procedures in more than 1,800 U.S. cities. —Hollis Templeton

Fit Fact: Cyrus stays fit by running outside in NYC, his favorite way to clear his head.

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THE STARGAZER // Making science cool again

Bobak Ferdowsi is changing the face—and haircut—of space exploration.

When the Curiosity rover landed on Mars in August 2012, it wasn’t just the pictures of the Red Planet coming back that sparked so much attention. An image of a young NASA employee with a mohawk celebrating the landing seemed to signal to the world that the sciences weren’t for stiffs anymore. Bobak Ferdowsi, a systems engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the guy from the viral image, agrees. “There aren’t the telltale signs of socks-and-sandals and other things that people kind of expect,” he says.

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Ferdowsi, 33, is more than just a smart guy with degrees from the University of Washington and MIT. He’s a game changer in the best, most symbolic sense, because the status quo—and pocket protector image—has been overturned. He’s a young, mohawked dude who works in one of the most complex engineering environments in the world.

Born in the Philadelphia area but raised in Tokyo, Japan, Ferdowsi remembers it was reading Arthur C. Clarke, watching Star Trek, and seeing the images from the 1997 Mars Pathfinder mission that guided him toward the final frontier. “I think I’ve always loved space exploration and probably loved science fiction as a kid a little too much,” he says. “So it was a natural fit.”

While working at the JPL after school, Ferdowsi helped the Curiosity rover land on Mars—a project that was years in the making—all while wearing his now-trademark mohawk. He’s always looking up, sometimes for aliens. “The more we learn about our universe, the more we’re beginning to realize how many places there are where life could survive,” he says. We’re (cautiously) looking forward to what the JPL finds next. —Ben Radding

Fit Fact: Ferdowsi rides his (non-rocketpropelled) bike to work, and lifts weights two to three times a week. 
 

THE FOOD SHEPHERD // Betting the farm on fresh

Josh Lawler is growing the locavore movement from farm to table and beyond.

Tilling a small plot behind his parents’ 18th-century farmhouse in Pennsylvania started 12-year old Josh Lawler’s fascination with fresh, local food. He remembers the first time he saw a yellow tomato, one that he grew, before the heirloom craze swept the foodie landscape. “I would make all of these crazy concoctions,” he says, “and my parents would eat them.” Now 34, Lawler runs The Farm and Fisherman in Philadelphia, where he assembles brilliant, simple, sincere dishes like the wildly popular Bloody Beet Steak. (He honed his skills at high-end restaurants in Philly and New York City before finally landing a gig as chef de cuisine at Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns, inarguably a hub of the farm-totable movement.)

Lawler’s latest contribution to the locavore crusade features a protein that lesser chefs would shy away from: bycatch. “A couple of weeks ago we did a ‘trash fish’ dinner,” he says. “If trawlers are netting fluke, they’re going to pull up all these other fish that get kicked overboard. We designed the whole menu based on bycatch fish. We did sea robin, grey mullet, butterfish—which is usually used as bait to catch tuna—and bluefish.” Lawler made a crudo plate of the four fish to start the tasting and people loved the new textures and flavors. “It’s more economical, plus the fish are local, and interesting,” he says. “You’re not just flying sashimi in from the West Coast.”

Up next for Lawler: an extension of his popular restaurant in Cherry Hill, NJ, called The Farm and Fisherman Tavern and Market, opening at the end of this month. —Adam Bible [pagebreak]

THE STORYTELLER // Telling the tale of gun violence

Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler showed us what we weren’t supposed to see.

If not for the cell-phone videos recorded by numerous witnesses, the death of 22-year-old Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day 2009 might’ve just been another statistic— yet another case of an African-American male brought down by gun violence. But that shocking footage, which shows an unarmed Grant being shot in the back by a white police officer (and quickly went viral on YouTube), is what inspired Ryan Coogler, a recent film-school grad at the time, to make a movie about the incident. “I automatically saw myself in Oscar,” says the Oakland, CA, resident, now 27. “We looked alike. We were the same age, from the same neighborhood, wore the same clothes. And because we had those connections, his death really affected me. I needed to tell his story to make sense of what happened.” The result is Fruitvale Station, a poignant tale of a troubled young man (Michael B. Jordan) who’s hopeful about his future on what turns out, sadly, to be the last day of his life. The gritty, documentary-style feature, which opened two weeks after George Zimmerman was acquitted of the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, has already garnered Coogler the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at Sundance, as well as the award for Best First Film at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. While the accolades are flattering, Coogler had a nobler ambition. “I wanted to get to the humanity of Oscar’s story and make a film that everyone, no matter your race or age, could relate to,” he explains. “I hope people will see a little of themselves in Oscar and remember: Our surfaces may be different, our interiors are the same. —Claire Connors

Fit Fact: “I’ve started watching what I eat more carefully,” Coogler says. “I recently stopped eating red meat, except for special occasions. And I get up every morning and do a few rounds of situps and pushups.”

THE TASTEMAKER // Pushing the plaid to pay off

Burberry creative director Christopher Bailey is altering the fabric of the fashion industry.

Your grandfather’s Burberry isn’t Christopher Bailey’s. After earning his stripes (or plaid) as a womenswear designer at Donna Karan and Gucci, Bailey joined Burberry as creative director in 2001 and immediately set to implementing a bold vision: making the 150-year-old company hip again. Within a few years, what was once an old-timer’s trench coat became a twenty something’s envy. What he did has been done before—Tom Ford similarly grabbed Gucci by the horns in the mid-’90s—but Bailey’s doing things differently. The English designer, who’s in charge of not only the company’s product lines but also its advertising and store design, took to turning Burberry into an interactive experience, with social media campaigns (making it the most followed brand on Facebook, with more than 15 million Likes) and interactive media features in the stores themselves. But the majority of Bailey’s cool points come from embracing music culture as part of the fashion world, creating Burberry Acoustic, a music video series focusing on emerging British artists. Today, as the company’s chief creative officer, Bailey continues to blur the lines of his job description, most recently developing Burberry Brit Rhythm, a music-inspired fragrance Bailey himself helped to formulate, along with its packaging and an accompanying capsule collection. —Ben Radding

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THE PEAK MASTER // Upping the ante in the mountains

Freddie Wilkinson is reinventing climbing with trailblazing “big traverses."

If anyone understands extreme mountaineering, both as a world class climber and as a documentarian, it’s Freddie Wilkinson.

He and other climbers are reshaping the sport in a new, more adventurous (and arguably more dangerous) way. The leading edge is no longer simply about putting up new routes to the top of single peaks, but instead stringing together multiple ascents into highly exposed “big traverses” of contiguous mountains.

In 2012, the then 32-year-old Wilkinson and partner Renan Ozturk completed the so-called Tooth Traverse in Alaska, a four-day blitz of knife-edged peaks in the famed Alaska Range.

“The improbability of pulling off a big traverse is what makes it so captivating to try,” he says. “So many factors must come together—weather, familiarity with the terrain, fitness, and overall psyche. People have been doing these types of climbs in the Alps for a century. Looking ahead, there’s really only one place left to go: the Himalayas.”

Two years ago, Wilkinson summited the second-highest unclimbed peak in the world—Saser Kangri II in India— and won the highest award in climbing, the Piolet d’Or, for doing it.

Now he and Ozturk are producing a documentary on the Tooth Traverse, which also tells the story of legendary climber and cartographer Bradford Washburn, who mapped and photographed many of these peaks for the first time. The film features stunning HD aerial footage and Washburn’s own vintage photos.

Making the film reminded Wilkinson that the era of climbing-as-exploration is almost over. “There are no true frontiers left on terrestrial earth,” he says. “Now the challenge for modern climbers is to enter regions that exist in political, rather than geographic, wilderness. —John Rasmus

Fit Fact: “Alpine climbing is an endurance sport,” Wilkinson says. “I train by ‘collecting’ cardio hours moving in the mountains—in winter I ski and do solo laps up ice climbs; in summer, I go trail running. The key is to adjust your pace to maximize time, and not get caught up on your speed.

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THE NEW MAN // Getting a leg up on disabilities

Mike Schultz lost a leg, so he built another one. Then he won the X Games. Now he’s empowering athletes and ordinary citizens alike with his robo-powered prosthetics.

You wouldn’t expect a professional snowmobiler to be at the forefront of artificial-limb development. Then again, 31-year-old Mike Schultz is not your average extreme athlete. During a 2008 race, the Minnesota native (who at the time was among the top five riders in the world) crashed his snowmobile and was thrown several yards. His injuries were extensive, especially those to his knee, which basically exploded upon impact with the trail. Although they’d hoped for the best, doctors were ultimately forced to amputate the leg from the knee down. Fitted with a prosthetic following the surgery, Schultz was immediately depressed by its limitations and considered stepping away from racing altogether. But over time, he had a change of heart. Instead of giving up on the thing he loved, he vowed to create his own fully functional device—a prosthetic tough enough to withstand whatever kind of action he might throw at it. “I designed it all with pencil and paper,” Schultz remembers. “Then, I went to an auto repair shop near my house and started working.”

Schultz created his first prosthetic out of an air shock plus some spare mountain-bike parts. When he wore the device to the 2009 X Games, he surprised even himself, winning gold in his event. Excited that his creation might help others as well, Schultz decided to go into business, founding Biodapt. Today, Schultz’s prostheses help a wide range of customers—everyone from snowboarders looking to get back onto the slopes to military veterans attempting to return to a normal lifestyle after losing a limb in war.

Despite the costs of manufacturing the device, Schultz keeps Biodapt’s Moto Knee and Versa Foot reasonably priced so they remain accessible to as many people as possible. “Building prosthetics that allow people to get back to the fun activities in life is as rewarding a job as I can imagine,” Schultz says. “It’s just as fulfilling for me as winning at the racetrack. —Matt Caputo

Fit Fact: To stay in shape, Schultz likes to cycle and mountain bike, and also enjoys motocross, weightlifting, kayaking, and—of course—snowmobiling.

There’s a small group of men who are changing your world. Some of them you’ll recognize, but some operate behind the curtain. They have ideas, and they have the resources to execute them. From the thrift shop to outer space, these men are the new generation of innovators. They’re changing the rules. Fixing the system. And taking us all along for the ride.

THE TRANSPORTER // Rocketing toward the future

PayPal co-founder Elon Musk hopes to get you from New York to L.A. in less than an hour. But that’s just one of his goals.

How massive are 42-year-old Elon Musk’s plans for changing the transportation game? Let’s start with the most basic concept—Tesla Motors, the company that’s producing the definitive electric car, which performed “better, or just as well overall” as any auto that Consumer Reports has ever tested, scoring a near 99/100 on their scale. His next, slightly more ambitious project? It’s called the Hyperloop. If completed, it would shuttle people from New York to L.A. in under an hour via a series of pneumatic tubes (think of The Jetsons and you won’t be far off). The concept is still in its infancy, but Musk promised it would be “a cross between a Concorde, a rail gun, and an air hockey table,” at the AllThingsD’s D11 conference earlier this year. Still, both of those innovations pale in comparison with his grandest plan—colonization of Mars. While his designs on how to do it haven’t been announced yet, Musk sees expanding humanity’s footprint to other planets as a must if we’re to ensure the survival of our species. His company, SpaceX, which produces rockets for NASA as well as private investors, is poised to help humanity make it a reality. It’s just one small step for Musk, but a giant leap for mankind. —Sam DeHority 

Fit Fact: Musk uses his 20,248-square-foot home, which features a swimming pool, tennis court, and home gym, to help him stay in shape.

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THE DIFFERENCE RUNNER // Running the good race

Gene Gurkoff (middle) turned his back on Wall Street and ran for his life—and the lives of others.

Gene Gurkoff was a finance lawyer for nearly seven years before he decided to do something more meaningful.

Using marathons as a jumping-off point, the 34-year old started running for various causes, eventually founding Team Fox in 2005 with the Michael J. Fox Foundation to raise money for Parkinson’s research. Today, with 38 marathons under his belt, Gurkoff is also the founder of Charity Miles, an app that earns money for charity when you walk, bike, or run. So far, with 100,000 active members, the app has raised $400,000 for charity. “We laid the basic infrastructure,” he says, “[The users] are doing all these amazing things with it. They’ve gone to the moon and back three times—that’s a lot of miles. —Ben Radding

Fit Fact: A veteran marathoner, Gurkoff sticks to a strict training regimen. “For marathons, I recommend running three days a week,” he says. “Two short or medium runs, and one longer run on the weekends. On the other days I recommend cycling, cross training, or hiking. I also walk to all my meetings, which, in NYC, can be an extra three to five miles a day.”

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THE BAR MENDER // Beefing up the protein bar

Taylor Collins (left) is taking a bite out of the supplement industry.

Taylor Collins once stared down a mountain lion during a camping trip. Now, he’s taking on the protein-bar market. Along with fiancée Katie Forrest, Collins set out to create the ultimate protein fix, one that doesn’t contain chemically derived soy or whey protein isolates. The result: Epic, a savory bar made with 100% grass-fed protein. “There’s nothing more encoded in our DNA than animal protein,” says the 31-year-old endurance athlete. “Our body knows how to metabolize it well because it’s how we evolved in consuming proteins. Other protein bars may boast 25 grams of protein, but if you really start to dissect it, the quality of the protein is a little bogus. So your body might be able to absorb only, say, eight grams of those 25.” Because Epic is low in sugar, it gives diabetic, Paleo, and gluten-free dieters a healthy snack option. Some detractors may point out the high fat content of Epic beef and bison bars, but Collins has that covered. “The misconception is that dietary fat leads to weight gain,” he says. “But recent research points out it’s more uncontrolled carb and sugar intake mixed with a sedentary lifestyle that really spikes insulin levels and thereby shuts down your body’s ability to break down fat.” Now available online (epicbar.com), Epic bars will also roll out in Whole Foods locations in mid-November. —Nate Millado

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THE RESEARCHER // Cracking the cancer code

Thanks to Isaac Kinde (right), physicians may soon be able to detect cancer with a blood test.

Isaac Kinde, a 29-year-old M.D.-Ph.D. candidate at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, is on a mission to detect cancer at the molecular level—when the disease is easiest to treat.

Earlier this year, Kinde’s research on using a patent-pending process to detect ovarian and endometrial cancers produced exciting results, which were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. His team is now using the cutting-edge gene sequencing strategy to test for colon, pancreatic, and bladder cancers.

While larger-scale studies must be carried out before the new detection technique can be used in a clinical setting, Kinde hopes that the test will be ready for routine use within the next three to five years. “I have friends and family who are affected by cancer,” says Kinde. “There’s no shortage of reminders of how important it is to improve patient outcomes. —Hollis Templeton

Fit Fact: Kinde counts his daily bike commute as cardio and does three 30-minute weightlifting workouts a week. “Since I don’t have much free time, I keep each session efficient by doing only compound exercises like squats, bench presses, deadlifts, ann pullups,” he says.

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THE INDIE SUPERSTARS // Making music with a conscience

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are thrift store lovers, social activists, and the biggest rap group of the year—and, unlike almost every other act on the charts, they’ve done it all without the support of a major record label.

If you’ve listened to pop music at all in the last year, you’ve likely run across Macklemore and Ryan Lewis in some form. Their first two singles—“Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us”—were back-to back No. 1 smash hits, together racking up nearly half a billion views and iTunes downloads in the millions. But what’s interesting about the pair isn’t just the emergence of another chart topping rap group. It’s the way they got to the top—and what they’re doing now that they’re there.

Macklemore, 30 (real name: Ben Haggerty) and Lewis, 25, formed a group in 2006 and began producing mixtapes that eventually drew the attention of the major labels. But instead of signing a deal and becoming part of the hit-making corporate machine, they decided to stay indie. And instead of writing songs about parties, babes, and booze, their tracks address everything from gay rights and gender roles to anti commercialism and the dangers of the kind of brand worship that’s become so prevalent in the urban mainstream.

When asked on NYC’s Hot 97—one of the country’s premier rap stations—about fears of turning off potential listeners by making songs with a message, Macklemore responded with typical candor: “[I don’t] worry about what the Internet is going to say about us. I don’t give a f—k. I’d rather change people’s lives than worry what the comments are going to say." —Brian Good

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THE PROVOCATEUR // Making Madison Avenue squirm

Street artist Vermibus is blurring the lines between advertising and art.

Advertisements marred by graffiti are nothing new. But recently, a whole new level of this art form has begun popping up around the city of Berlin, courtesy of Spanish street artist Vermibus.

Sometimes referred to as the next Banksy, this talented twenty something surreptitiously collects ads from bus depots and city billboards and brings them back to his studio, where they become the base material for his work. Using mineral spirits, he brushes away the faces and flesh of the models as well as any brand logos, turning them into ghostly apparitions of their former selves. With the transformation complete, he then reintroduces the ads-turned-art back into its original location, thus (according to his Vimeo profile) “hijacking the publicity and its purpose.”

If advertisements seek to take away a person’s identity and replace it with a sexier, glossier one, Vermibus is out to flip that notion on its ear, changing the way people are confronted by marketing.

By dehumanizing figures that were already depersonalized, the ads, ironically, end up drawing even more attention than before. People stop, stare, discuss, photograph, and engage with them in an entirely new way.

Though Vermibus’ identity has been closely guarded, his stealth and tongue-in-cheek way of plain  with the subject of consumerism have upped the artist’s status on the international post-graffiti scene. So it might not be long till fans unmask the man behind these mysterious masterpieces. —Lauren Greene [pagebreak]

THE COMEDIAN // Bringing Tonight into today

Jimmy Fallon brought late-night television into the digital age. Now he can’t wait to get his hands on The Tonight Show.

"I'm wearing more suits than I ever thought I would,” Jimmy Fallon tells me over the phone. He’s in L.A., I’m in New York, which is only fitting; next year, the 39-year-old entertainer will bring The Tonight Show back to the Empire State for the first time in more than two decades when he takes over from Jay Leno. “I feel like in my head I’ll never grow up—I’m always going to be a kid, just ’cause that’s what keeps my brain moving—being interested in the new video game, the new technology.” That edginess is what’s enabled Fallon to reimagine the late-night television format for a younger generation, starting with Late Night. “We made it modular so that different pieces of the show could be enjoyed online, which a lot of shows hadn’t done,” says Fallon, who’s excited to bring similar innovation and energy to his new gig, despite feeling somewhat nervous. But he’s been here before. “I never thought I’d end up hosting a talk show,” he admits. “The only way to learn how to do these jobs, or any job really, is to just get in there and start doing it. —Dean Stattmann

Fit Fact: Fallon works out three times a week and keeps tabs on his body-fat percentage with a Withings scale, which he’s very excited to talk about. He’s also a proud new father to a baby girl, who he expects will dramatically improve his diet: “Now, with the baby, I’m just going to eat pureed vegetables.” We advised him against it.

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The URBAN NOMAD // Couch surfing the digital planet

Airbnb’s Brian Chesky is using crowdsourcing to turn tourists into locals.

Brian Chesky, 31, may be the successful co-founder of Airbnb, one of San Francisco’s most buzzed-about start-ups, but for the past few years, he’s been homeless. Chesky spends his nights hopping among strangers’ bedrooms, random couches, and unfamiliar apartments (helping himself to cable and Wi-Fi), all in an effort to test and improve the quality of the online travel-booking engine that he helped to create.

His mission was simple: to apply the concept of “crowd sourcing” (think Zipcar or Lift) to the travel experience. Why stay in a sterile, soulless hotel when you can immerse yourself in the local culture and save money by renting from a host?

Chesky and cofounder Joe Gebbia started Airbnb on a lark in 2007, renting out rooms in their San Francisco loft when hotel rooms sold out ahead of a nearby design conference. This one-time venture was so successful that the pair realized there was an opportunity to align travelers with locals who had rooms to spare. Together, along with programmer Nathan Blecharczyk, they founded Airbnb and set out to change the way people travel.

Six years later, with Airbnb listing properties in 33,000 cities and 192 countries around the globe, Chesky’s concept is revolutionizing the way we encounter and experience a destination when we’re far from home. —Amanda Pressner

Fit Fact: Before founding Airbnb, Chesky was a competitive bodybuilder, and the healthy habits he adopted—eating right and working out—are still very much a part of his lifestyle.

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THE REDEEMER // Daring not to dope

The first Tour de France winner since Lance Armstrong’s confession, Chris Froome is pro cycling’s last bastion of hope.

In professional cycling, you don’t just decide to win, even if you think you can. Last year, it was not Chris Froome’s job to win the Tour de France; his mission was to support Sky teammate Bradley Wiggins. Indeed, Wiggins finished with the yellow jersey, becoming the first-ever Brit to do so; but you couldn’t ignore Froome, 28, who by all accounts could’ve taken it. This year, Team Sky made Froome their man. Free to go allot, the Kenya-born, South Africa-raised cyclist with a British passport ripped through the peloton and defended his lead with an air of dominance eerily reminiscent of Lance Armstrong. Predictably, suspicions of doping abounded throughout the Tour—Froome’s winning margin of four minutes, 20 seconds was the biggest since self-confessed doper Jan Ullrich’s nine minutes, nine seconds in 2007—but he’s confident he won’t let the sport down the way Armstrong did. Talking to the Associated Press immediately following the race, Froome said, “This is one yellow jersey that will stand the test of time. —Dean Stattmann  

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THE MOBILIZER // Activating social media

Ben Rattray is returning the power to the people.

In 2007, Ben Rattray founded the website change.org as a social networking destination where activists could unite in their desire to fight the good fight.

“I saw the rise of MySpace and Facebook in 2005 and realized the impact of social media,” says Rattray, 33. “It allows people to come together around a common interest and organize with one voice that’s far more powerful than individually.”

Today, the site has morphed into an Internet hub for thousands of petitions for various causes around the world. Users have the opportunity to be heard on everything from workers’ rights to environmental issues. The San Francisco-based company currently has more than 40 million users and receives up to 1,000 new petitions daily.

A few examples: Via change.org, a 22-year-old nanny stopped a $5 fee Bank of America wanted to impose on its debit card holders; a recent college grad collected 110,000 signatures that forced Sallie Mae to rethink its forbearance fee policy; and in February 2013, more than a million Spanish citizens signed a petition asking for the resignation of their entire government.

“The site allows people not only to take action,” Rattray says,“but also to create real change on the issues they’re passionate about. —Matt Caputo

Fit Fact: “I do short, intense bursts of exercise: room sprints, pushups—usually 30 minutes in all,” says Rattray. “It’s about efficiency—getting into the best shape possible in the time I have available.”

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The DJ  // Waking up the charts

With his first full-length album, Swedish DJ Avicii is breathing new life into the world of electronic dance music.

Life can’t get much sweeter than when you’re 24 years old and “work” involves topping pop charts around the globe and playing tunes in some of the hottest clubs on the planet. Such is the life of Swedish-born Tim Bergling, more commonly known by his stage name Avicii. Bergling began remixing and producing tracks at the age of 18, and had released more than 20 tracks to varying levels of success before his big breakthrough with 2011’s Etta James’ sampling smash “Levels.” But it’s his latest single, “Wake Me Up,” that many experts expect to launch him into the stratosphere. The first cut from his just-released debut album, #True, “Wake Me Up” combines folk, soul, and synths in a way that shouldn’t work, but does—in a big way. Within weeks of its release, the track topped charts in 48 countries, becoming a huge hit in the U.S. and the biggest-selling single of the year (so far) in the U.K. “I work with all these people from different genres, and they all bring their own influences into my work,” says Bergling. “It’s so interesting to see what comes out. —Brian Good

Fit Fact: Bergling spends the majority of his time on the road, surrounded by Red Bull and airport food. Still, he fits in fitness whenever possible. “I travel with several different strengths of TRX bands and some ropes,” he says. “There are so many different exercises you can do without a gym. That’s the way I’ve solved it, for now.”

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THE MODERN INKEEPER // Rebooting the hotel

Ace Hotel founder Alex Calderwood thinks your hotel should be the most Instagram-worthy part of any trip.

No matter how much you travel, there’s nothing familiar about the experience of checking in at an Ace Hotel. Co-founded by Alex Calderwood, 45, a self-described “cultural engineer,” an Ace is like a thrift store, performance art center, and hip bar all in one. There are salvaged details that give the hotels a lived-in feel, vintage furniture with a soulful vibe, and modern amenities that exude luxury.

And that unconventional approach is paying off in spades. Started in 1999 in a former flophouse in Seattle, Ace now has hotels in Portland, New York City, Palm Springs, and London, with the newest opening soon in downtown L.A.

Ever-expanding— Calderwood has said he’d like to open one or two hotels every year—the entrepreneur is bucking trends while remaining übertrendy. “The thing that’s been successful for us is to challenge convention,” he told Entrepreneur magazine. “To not always buy into the idea that things have to work the way they have in the past, or operate the way the industry tells you they should. —Adam Bible
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THE VIEW MASTER // Channeling viral videos

A video isn’t viral until YouTube’s Kevin Allocca (left) says so.

All of us watch YouTube at work—but Kevin Allocca makes a living out of it. As YouTube’s trends manager, Allocca keeps a pulse on pop culture, sifting through the roughly 100 hours of videos uploaded every minute to bring you the double rainbows and Nyan Cats of the world (youtube.com/trends). So what makes a 30- second video of random convulsions to a bass-heavy dance track go viral? The 29-year-old Hollywood, FL, native chalks it up to the unexpected. “I always say I’m never surprised at how much I’m surprised,” he says. “If you went back to June of last year and said, ‘Hey, next month, a Korean pop artist is going to make a video, all in Korean, and it’s going to be the first video to reach a billion, you’d think that would be totally impossible. But it happened. We naturally respond to things that defy our expectations.” —Nate Millado

Fit Fact: As a Google employee, Allocca has a wide range of fitness perks available to him, from kitchens stocked with healthy snacks (like almonds and dried fruit) to the state-of-the-art gym at the company’s California headquarters. —Nate Millado 
 

THE MULTITASKING MILLENNIAL // Making content play harder

An agent, director, and entrepreneur, Cash Warren’s (middle) days never stop.

Cash Warren is no stranger to hard work. After graduating from Yale, he got a job with William Morris, one of the top talent agencies in the world. That gig led to the movies, where he assisted director Tim Story on films like Fantastic Four. By 25, the natural-born overachiever had started his own company, producing original content and developing digital distribution systems to take them to market. Nine years later, he’s still at it, having recently launched two new YouTube channels—The NOC (about the everyday lives of athletes) and YOMYOMF (based on the popular comedy blog “You Offend Me You Offend My Family”). The secret to his success? “I work with people who are much smarter than I am,” says Warren, “so the goal is always to empower them.” He also admits to religiously utilizing every hour in his day, from planned training sessions to business meetings to uninterrupted quality time with his family—including his wife, Jessica Alba. “I make sure to always stay busy,” he says. “I get bored when I’m not working. —Samantha Sutton

Fit Fact: “I train every morning as soon as I get up,” Warren says. “I go running, do sprints, and then pushups and situps.” 

The E-ADVOCATE // Doctoring medicine

Cyrus Massoumi (right) is taking healthcare reform into his own hands with a revolutionary mobile app.

Should it be easier to book a dinner reservation at your town’s trendiest restaurant than it is to lock down a doctor’s appointment that doesn’t mess with your work schedule? Cyrus Massoumi doesn’t think so. That’s why he set out six years ago to change the way Americans access the $2.7 trillion health-care industry.

Massoumi, 36, is CEO and cofounder of ZocDoc, a free online and app-based service that allows users to search for physicians who accept their insurance, see real-time availability, book appointments for everything from allergy shots to eye exams, and ultimately get in to see the doc within 24 to 72 hours. Users can also read reviews and fill out medical forms online. “I’d love for people to no longer think of health care as a part of their lives where they can’t expect the same great customer service that they have everywhere else,” says Massoumi, who came up with the idea for ZocDoc when he had to wait four days to see a doctor after rupturing his eardrum on a flight.

Today, more than 2.5 million patients use ZocDoc each month, booking thousands of procedures in more than 1,800 U.S. cities. —Hollis Templeton

Fit Fact: Cyrus stays fit by running outside in NYC, his favorite way to clear his head.

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THE STARGAZER // Making science cool again

Bobak Ferdowsi is changing the face—and haircut—of space exploration.

When the Curiosity rover landed on Mars in August 2012, it wasn’t just the pictures of the Red Planet coming back that sparked so much attention. An image of a young NASA employee with a mohawk celebrating the landing seemed to signal to the world that the sciences weren’t for stiffs anymore. Bobak Ferdowsi, a systems engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the guy from the viral image, agrees. “There aren’t the telltale signs of socks-and-sandals and other things that people kind of expect,” he says.

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Ferdowsi, 33, is more than just a smart guy with degrees from the University of Washington and MIT. He’s a game changer in the best, most symbolic sense, because the status quo—and pocket protector image—has been overturned. He’s a young, mohawked dude who works in one of the most complex engineering environments in the world.

Born in the Philadelphia area but raised in Tokyo, Japan, Ferdowsi remembers it was reading Arthur C. Clarke, watching Star Trek, and seeing the images from the 1997 Mars Pathfinder mission that guided him toward the final frontier. “I think I’ve always loved space exploration and probably loved science fiction as a kid a little too much,” he says. “So it was a natural fit.”

While working at the JPL after school, Ferdowsi helped the Curiosity rover land on Mars—a project that was years in the making—all while wearing his now-trademark mohawk. He’s always looking up, sometimes for aliens. “The more we learn about our universe, the more we’re beginning to realize how many places there are where life could survive,” he says. We’re (cautiously) looking forward to what the JPL finds next. —Ben Radding

Fit Fact: Ferdowsi rides his (non-rocketpropelled) bike to work, and lifts weights two to three times a week. 
 

THE FOOD SHEPHERD // Betting the farm on fresh

Josh Lawler is growing the locavore movement from farm to table and beyond.

Tilling a small plot behind his parents’ 18th-century farmhouse in Pennsylvania started 12-year old Josh Lawler’s fascination with fresh, local food. He remembers the first time he saw a yellow tomato, one that he grew, before the heirloom craze swept the foodie landscape. “I would make all of these crazy concoctions,” he says, “and my parents would eat them.” Now 34, Lawler runs The Farm and Fisherman in Philadelphia, where he assembles brilliant, simple, sincere dishes like the wildly popular Bloody Beet Steak. (He honed his skills at high-end restaurants in Philly and New York City before finally landing a gig as chef de cuisine at Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns, inarguably a hub of the farm-totable movement.)

Lawler’s latest contribution to the locavore crusade features a protein that lesser chefs would shy away from: bycatch. “A couple of weeks ago we did a ‘trash fish’ dinner,” he says. “If trawlers are netting fluke, they’re going to pull up all these other fish that get kicked overboard. We designed the whole menu based on bycatch fish. We did sea robin, grey mullet, butterfish—which is usually used as bait to catch tuna—and bluefish.” Lawler made a crudo plate of the four fish to start the tasting and people loved the new textures and flavors. “It’s more economical, plus the fish are local, and interesting,” he says. “You’re not just flying sashimi in from the West Coast.”

Up next for Lawler: an extension of his popular restaurant in Cherry Hill, NJ, called The Farm and Fisherman Tavern and Market, opening at the end of this month. —Adam Bible [pagebreak]

THE STORYTELLER // Telling the tale of gun violence

Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler showed us what we weren’t supposed to see.

If not for the cell-phone videos recorded by numerous witnesses, the death of 22-year-old Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day 2009 might’ve just been another statistic— yet another case of an African-American male brought down by gun violence. But that shocking footage, which shows an unarmed Grant being shot in the back by a white police officer (and quickly went viral on YouTube), is what inspired Ryan Coogler, a recent film-school grad at the time, to make a movie about the incident. “I automatically saw myself in Oscar,” says the Oakland, CA, resident, now 27. “We looked alike. We were the same age, from the same neighborhood, wore the same clothes. And because we had those connections, his death really affected me. I needed to tell his story to make sense of what happened.” The result is Fruitvale Station, a poignant tale of a troubled young man (Michael B. Jordan) who’s hopeful about his future on what turns out, sadly, to be the last day of his life. The gritty, documentary-style feature, which opened two weeks after George Zimmerman was acquitted of the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, has already garnered Coogler the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at Sundance, as well as the award for Best First Film at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. While the accolades are flattering, Coogler had a nobler ambition. “I wanted to get to the humanity of Oscar’s story and make a film that everyone, no matter your race or age, could relate to,” he explains. “I hope people will see a little of themselves in Oscar and remember: Our surfaces may be different, our interiors are the same. —Claire Connors

Fit Fact: “I’ve started watching what I eat more carefully,” Coogler says. “I recently stopped eating red meat, except for special occasions. And I get up every morning and do a few rounds of situps and pushups.”

THE TASTEMAKER // Pushing the plaid to pay off

Burberry creative director Christopher Bailey is altering the fabric of the fashion industry.

Your grandfather’s Burberry isn’t Christopher Bailey’s. After earning his stripes (or plaid) as a womenswear designer at Donna Karan and Gucci, Bailey joined Burberry as creative director in 2001 and immediately set to implementing a bold vision: making the 150-year-old company hip again. Within a few years, what was once an old-timer’s trench coat became a twenty something’s envy. What he did has been done before—Tom Ford similarly grabbed Gucci by the horns in the mid-’90s—but Bailey’s doing things differently. The English designer, who’s in charge of not only the company’s product lines but also its advertising and store design, took to turning Burberry into an interactive experience, with social media campaigns (making it the most followed brand on Facebook, with more than 15 million Likes) and interactive media features in the stores themselves. But the majority of Bailey’s cool points come from embracing music culture as part of the fashion world, creating Burberry Acoustic, a music video series focusing on emerging British artists. Today, as the company’s chief creative officer, Bailey continues to blur the lines of his job description, most recently developing Burberry Brit Rhythm, a music-inspired fragrance Bailey himself helped to formulate, along with its packaging and an accompanying capsule collection. —Ben Radding

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THE PEAK MASTER // Upping the ante in the mountains

Freddie Wilkinson is reinventing climbing with trailblazing “big traverses."

If anyone understands extreme mountaineering, both as a world class climber and as a documentarian, it’s Freddie Wilkinson.

He and other climbers are reshaping the sport in a new, more adventurous (and arguably more dangerous) way. The leading edge is no longer simply about putting up new routes to the top of single peaks, but instead stringing together multiple ascents into highly exposed “big traverses” of contiguous mountains.

In 2012, the then 32-year-old Wilkinson and partner Renan Ozturk completed the so-called Tooth Traverse in Alaska, a four-day blitz of knife-edged peaks in the famed Alaska Range.

“The improbability of pulling off a big traverse is what makes it so captivating to try,” he says. “So many factors must come together—weather, familiarity with the terrain, fitness, and overall psyche. People have been doing these types of climbs in the Alps for a century. Looking ahead, there’s really only one place left to go: the Himalayas.”

Two years ago, Wilkinson summited the second-highest unclimbed peak in the world—Saser Kangri II in India— and won the highest award in climbing, the Piolet d’Or, for doing it.

Now he and Ozturk are producing a documentary on the Tooth Traverse, which also tells the story of legendary climber and cartographer Bradford Washburn, who mapped and photographed many of these peaks for the first time. The film features stunning HD aerial footage and Washburn’s own vintage photos.

Making the film reminded Wilkinson that the era of climbing-as-exploration is almost over. “There are no true frontiers left on terrestrial earth,” he says. “Now the challenge for modern climbers is to enter regions that exist in political, rather than geographic, wilderness. —John Rasmus

Fit Fact: “Alpine climbing is an endurance sport,” Wilkinson says. “I train by ‘collecting’ cardio hours moving in the mountains—in winter I ski and do solo laps up ice climbs; in summer, I go trail running. The key is to adjust your pace to maximize time, and not get caught up on your speed.

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THE NEW MAN // Getting a leg up on disabilities

Mike Schultz lost a leg, so he built another one. Then he won the X Games. Now he’s empowering athletes and ordinary citizens alike with his robo-powered prosthetics.

You wouldn’t expect a professional snowmobiler to be at the forefront of artificial-limb development. Then again, 31-year-old Mike Schultz is not your average extreme athlete. During a 2008 race, the Minnesota native (who at the time was among the top five riders in the world) crashed his snowmobile and was thrown several yards. His injuries were extensive, especially those to his knee, which basically exploded upon impact with the trail. Although they’d hoped for the best, doctors were ultimately forced to amputate the leg from the knee down. Fitted with a prosthetic following the surgery, Schultz was immediately depressed by its limitations and considered stepping away from racing altogether. But over time, he had a change of heart. Instead of giving up on the thing he loved, he vowed to create his own fully functional device—a prosthetic tough enough to withstand whatever kind of action he might throw at it. “I designed it all with pencil and paper,” Schultz remembers. “Then, I went to an auto repair shop near my house and started working.”

Schultz created his first prosthetic out of an air shock plus some spare mountain-bike parts. When he wore the device to the 2009 X Games, he surprised even himself, winning gold in his event. Excited that his creation might help others as well, Schultz decided to go into business, founding Biodapt. Today, Schultz’s prostheses help a wide range of customers—everyone from snowboarders looking to get back onto the slopes to military veterans attempting to return to a normal lifestyle after losing a limb in war.

Despite the costs of manufacturing the device, Schultz keeps Biodapt’s Moto Knee and Versa Foot reasonably priced so they remain accessible to as many people as possible. “Building prosthetics that allow people to get back to the fun activities in life is as rewarding a job as I can imagine,” Schultz says. “It’s just as fulfilling for me as winning at the racetrack. —Matt Caputo

Fit Fact: To stay in shape, Schultz likes to cycle and mountain bike, and also enjoys motocross, weightlifting, kayaking, and—of course—snowmobiling.