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Eight Ascendant Bay Area Power Couples

With not a Getty, Shultz, Schwab, or Traina in sight.

In a city where anyone with over 5,000 Twitter followers is a celebrity, what makes a true power couple? It’s not their combined Klout score (or, increasingly, their social ties). It’s their ability to change the way you launch your startup, ride your bike, donate your money, and look good in your jeans. To those ends, keep an eye on these eight rising partnerships.

 

The Startup Professor and the Poetic VC:
Jessica Livingston, cofounder of seed-stage venture firm Y Combinator, which helped launch Reddit, Dropbox, and Hipmunk, among others
Paul Graham, cofounder of Y Combinator, tech essayist, and venture capitalist

The City Hall Climbers:
Harlan L. Kelly Jr., general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, don of the city’s power and water use
Naomi Kelly, first female black city administrator in San Francisco, overseer of 19 departments, divisions, and offices, totaling $450 million

The Boy Billionaire and the Do-Gooder Journalist:
Dustin Moskovitz, Internet entrepreneur and Facebook cofounder, worth $2.7 billion
Cari Tuna, former Wall Street Journal reporter and cofounder, with Moskovitz, of the philanthropic foundation Good Ventures

The Denim Duo:
Carl Chiara, former design director at Levi’s
Todd Barket, ringleader and coproprietor, with Chiara, of Unionmade

The DNA Cartographer and the Dancing Queen:
Henry Erlich, vice president of discovery research at Roche Molecular Systems, on the front line of mapping DNA
Brenda Way, founder and artistic director of ODC, one of the most active dance companies on the West Coast

The Industrial Designer and the Art Evangelist:
Yves Behar, TED talker and founder of Fuseproject
Sabrina Buell, art adviser and collector and member of the board of trustees at Oxbow School, a Napa arts-focused high school

The Political Prisoners Turned Activists:
Sarah Shourd, former captive for 410 days in an Iranian prison, now a human rights journalist and activist
Shane Bauer, also a former captive, now a human rights activist, photojournalist, and book coauthor, with Shourd

The Lane Crusader and the Sound Innovator:
Leah Shahum, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
Ted Strawser, vice president and corporate contributor at Dolby Laboratories, a sound development company for cinemas and home theaters

 

Originally published in the December 2012 issue of San Francisco.

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