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Evan Spiegel became a billionaire, and showed us how hard it is to go toe-to-toe with Facebook

Spiegel is No. 47 on the Recode 100.

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel had an incredibly busy year. Some of it has been great. Much of it has been not.

The great: Spiegel, 27, took his company public, became an instant billionaire, married a supermodel and announced they are expecting their first child. He’s the single most important decision-maker and product mind at a company whose core app, Snapchat, is still more popular in the U.S. with teens than Facebook and Instagram. And his ability to create unique products has influenced Facebook and Instagram’s entire product strategies.

The forgettable: Investors are profoundly skeptical about Snap, citing concerns about its user growth and its ability to turn the users it has into advertising dollars. They’ve cut the company’s stock price by almost 45 percent since its March IPO. And Spectacles, the video-recording sunglasses the company started selling last year, turned out to be much cooler in theory than in practice. Next year, with Facebook and Instagram still taking swings at his business, Spiegel will show us if he’s a top-tier CEO and product visionary.

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