I ain't changed, but I know I ain't the same. -- Jakob Dylan, The Wallflowers, "One Headlight"
Many company founders who did their founding before the mid 1990s will recognize the paradox at the core of Jakob Dylan's lament. Their companies are still in the same industries and locations, still managed by the same leadership. And yet they're not the same. Something significant has changed about what they do or how they do it, about their customers or their revenue models or their cultures. All because the Web came knocking and they let it in.
The winners in our Transformations category weren't satisfied with tweaks. Tantalized by the Web's potential, they tossed out their old approaches and started fresh. Local businesses reinvented themselves as national stars virtually overnight. Technology laggards rushed to the front lines. Companies that had grown comfortable over decades started working and making money in ways their owners could not have imagined.
The Web, these founders realized, is not a baby-steps technology. Having embraced it, they know that their companies are not the same. They wouldn't want them to be.