Jared Leto
The actor and musician has become a start-up specialist catering to fellow artists.

What's more rock-and-roll than telling The Man to fuck off? Empowering other musicians to do the same. That's been Jared Leto's mission since his band Thirty Seconds to Mars was slapped with a $30 million lawsuit by Virgin Records over a contractual dispute in 2008. A year later, the actor-cum-rocker added "Internet entrepreneur" to his résumé, launching the Hive, a social-media and digital-marketing firm that aims to give clients control over their brands, and Adventures in Wonderland, an online service that facilitates encounters between bands and fans—like, say, a backstage visit with the Jonas Brothers. Leto's basic philosophy: "Consumers are savvy. If a big company is pushing you to get follows or likes, people pick up on it quickly. An authentic connection is extremely important." In 2011, Leto, 41, further demonstrated his knack for creating meaningful online experiences by launching yet another company, VyRT, a live-streaming platform that captures the intimacy of a concert without the ads or chat-room aesthetics of other services. "As with crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter, the artist makes an agreement directly with the audience," Leto explains. "'For this price, I'm going to give you something you believe in.'"

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How Twitter Became the Best Place for Comedy

Some complain about the constraints of Twitter's 140-character limit, but it's the perfect length for one group: comedians. "I became intrigued by the challenge of trying to be funny within those parameters," says Rob Delaney (left), 36, one of many jokeslingers to thrive in the medium. As a result, Twitter is now a virtual comedy club, with streams of one-liners from Delaney, Eugene Mirman, Megan Amram, and other young comedians, who no longer need to play the HaHa Hut or pray for a Letterman booking to reach a huge audience. No one epitomizes this shift more than Delaney, a former part-time nanny who was little known outside Los Angeles until he began tweeting absurdist jokes about masturbation, flatulence, and semen. He soon amassed nearly 800,000 followers, which led to a live DVD, gigs on Kimmel and Conan, and even his own board game (out in May). He's become so notorious in the Twitterverse that celebrities are taking notice—often by blocking him. "Jessica Simpson blocked me and that made me sad," says Delaney, who offered to be the new mom's lactation consultant. "If she sees this, I apologize. I'm just some schmuck who likes to run off at the mouth."

The Comedians to Follow:

Julius Sharpe | @juliussharpe
Sarah Silverman | @sarahksilverman
Alec Sulkin | @thesulk
Rob Huebel | @robhuebel
Max Silvestri | @maxsilvestri
Eugene Mirman | @EugeneMirman
Aziz Ansari | @azizansari
Megan Amram | @meganamram
Patton Oswalt | @pattonoswalt
Chelsea Peretti | @ChelseaVPeretti

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The Digital Mavericks
 

Jack Dorsey (Square)
+ 3 More Reinventors of Retail

Kenna (Myspace)
+ The Protégés of
Apple's Jonathan Ive
+ The Evangelists of Tumblr

Carter Cleveland (Artsy)
+ The Race to Create
the Instagram of Video
+ The Rise of the Social-Media
Image Consultant
 

Jennifer Pahlka
(Code for America)

+ 3 More Digital Change Agents

Evan Sharp & Ben Silberman
(Pinterest)

+ 5 More Entrepreneurs

Jared Leto (VyRT, The Hive)
+ How Twitter Became
the Best Place for Comedy