Twenty-Six Entrepreneurs We Love
Here's to the man who taught safety to the helicopter industry. To the woman who wants to save the world through chocolate. To two couples that are finding their own ways to make partnership work. To -- that's right -- Martha Stewart. And to 21 more people who represent the best qualities of entrepreneurship.
Inc. Magazine, April 2005
Inc. magazine goes behind the scenes with 26 entrepreneurs who best exemplify the extraordinary drive, creativity, and passion of American business. Our top 26 list, one for each year of Inc., spans the gamut of the entrepreneurial world, from names you know well, such as Richard Branson, Michael Dell, and Martha Stewart; to Tony Lee, a former janitor who bought out his steel manufacturing employer; to Craig Newmark, who has been almost the antithesis of a dot-commer with his no-frills Craigslist site. No matter what the accomplishment, each entrepreneur profiled here offers a fascinating case study in what it takes to thrive in today's economy.
Martha Stewart, Martha Stewart Omnimedia
because she took one for the team
Richard Branson, Virgin Group
because he's game for anything. In fact, everything.
Michael Dell, Dell Computer
for being brilliantly straightforward
Jim Sinegal, Costco
because who knew a big-box chain could have a generous soul?
Diane von Furstenberg, Diane von Furstenberg Studio
for staging an elegant comeback
Julie Azuma, Different Roads to Learning
for offering hope and help to the parents of autistic children
Fritz Maytag, Anchor Brewing
for setting limits
Ray Kurzweil, Kurzweil Technologies and other companies
because he is Edison's rightful heir
Craig Newmark, Craigslist
for putting the free in free markets
Jack Mitchell, Mitchells/Richards
because his family business makes an art of customer service
Frank Robinson, Robinson Helicopter
for whipping an entire industry into shape
Mark Melton, Melton Franchise Systems
for giving immigrants their shot at the American Dream
Michelle Cardinal & Tim O'Leary, Cmedia and Respond2
for rewriting the rules for husband-and-wife teams
Mike Lazaridis, Research in Motion
because someone had to stand up for all those frustrated engineers
Trip Hawkins, Electronics Arts and Digital Chocolate
for still scrapping
Warren Brown, Cake Love and Love Cafe
because only in America will someone quit a secure job as a lawyer to start a bakery
Muriel Siebert, Muriel Siebert & Co.
for being a notable first with a worthy second act
Chuck Porter, Crispin, Porter + Bogusky
for verging on reckless
Katrina Markoff, Vosges Haut
for setting a completely unreasonable goal for her business
Barry Steinberg & Craig Sumerel, Direct Tire and Auto Service
for showing the power of the peer group
Victoria Parham, Virtual Support Services
for serving as a mentor to military spouses
Tom LaTour, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants
for staying at fleabag hotels so that we don't have to
Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams, Mitchell Gold
for creating a true comfort zone
Izzy & Coco Tihanyi, Surf Diva
for kicking sand in the face of conventional wisdom
Tony Lee, Ring Masters
for saving 16 jobs, including his own
Rueben Martinez, Libreria Martinez Books and Art Galleries
for simultaneously building a business and nurturing Latino culture
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