“You’ve guaranteed there will be an INFLUENCE Magazine for another two years.”
That’s what one of the members of the INFLUENCE 100 told me after the first listing of the most influential people in Florida politics was published two years ago. This person’s point to me was that by creating a ‘Fortune 500 of Florida politics,’ I had instantly made our fledgling magazine relevant.
I didn’t know if I believed that. Not until another member of the list — a prominent lobbyist — told me about executives of a major corporation who were considering changing their roster of contract lobbyists.
The in-house lobbyist who managed the team pushed back against the executive’s meddling by taking out the INFLUENCE 100 edition of the magazine, showing it to the executives and asking them to show him where the lobbyists who the execs wanted to hire. On those pages were some of the members of his existing team.
That, my friends, is influence. And that is what the magazine — and especially this edition (our tenth!) — is all about.
But influence is a commodity that’s hard to define. The adage that you’ll know it when you see it doesn’t apply to influence because, in many ways, those who wield influence don’t often want to be seen at work.
That’s what’s special about the INFLUENCE 100.
There are no elected officials or agency heads on the list. That’s for two reasons: the first being that, of course, the Governor of Florida is the most influential person in the state; the second is that the power of most officeholders is with their position and that (mostly) they don’t take it with them once they leave.
Instead, the INFLUENCE 100 includes all the other masters of the universe: The Players, The Thought Leaders, The Lobbyists, The Titans, The Counselors, The Media, The Industry Leaders, The Advocates, and The Legends.
The original inspiration for the INFLUENCE 100 is Time magazine’s annual list of the most influential people in the world, which, rather than ranking them, also breaks down its list into sectors.
The INFLUENCE 100’s two favorite aspects for me — beyond the parlor games it will inspire — are the superb photographs that accompany many of the profiles, and that the blurbs were written by the subjects’ peers, competitors, and admirers.
After all, who knows the 100 better?
Since this is the second edition of the INFLUENCE 100, it’s almost as interesting to consider who is no longer on the list as who is making a repeat appearance. About 60 percent of the latest list was on it in 2016, but still, a lot of room opened up on the rankings.
And, as it was with the first edition, this is MY list. I’m responsible for the facepalming, out-of-left-field choices, as well as the glaring sins of omission. I’m the one who initially decided not to rank the list. I’m the one who moved so-and-so from the “100” section to the honorable mentions.
Beyond the INFLUENCE 100, this is a really, really good edition of the magazine. Probably our best yet (and that’s saying something, considering INFLUENCE Magazine finished second in the state for the Florida Magazine Associations’ best single edition award). There’s just a slew of news and notes and insights and features about what we think is the most politically active and interesting state in the country.
Hopefully, with this second edition of the INFLUENCE 100, we’ve done more than guarantee another two years for our little publication.
For the record, this year’s list includes:
Brian Hughes and Rachel Perrin Rogers
David and Christina Johnson
Carol Marbin Miller