Behind the Scenes of Our November Issue: Influential Smackdown

Dan Savage

It's not called "Our Favorite People of 2011."

No, when we set out to build our "Most Influential People of 2011" list, we are looking for impact, plain and simple. Big impact, even of the negative kind, so there are sure to be a few people you wouldn't play beer pong with, even if they were buying. I give you Mayor McGinn. 

Our rigorous 6-month selection and vetting process includes a whole lot of debate, advisory board meetings, emails, carbohydrates and—new this year—one early morning meeting spat that threatened to make this my very favorite feature story ever. 'Lively" doesn't begin to cover it. People are passionate about their people. 

So we come up with this list—like, 100 people—and then editor Shannon O'Leary scurries off and does tons of research, confirming bona fides, weeding out the meh, and then delivers the whole thing with a big side of sass. And then our office cat Sprinkles makes the final decision. Just kidding. Shannon's really not that sassy.

Seriously, though, we do take it very seriously, and when it all comes together—with gorgeous layouts by Sue and photos by Hayley—we feel really great...for about five minutes. That's where you come in, keeping it real by reminding us once again that people are passionate about their people.

Let us know how we did.