2009: The Entrepreneurial Year in Review
A look at Inc.'s covers from 2009. The July/August issue, "How to Build Your Dream Company" (bottom row, at left), was the year's runaway best seller—and one of the best-selling issues of Inc. ever.
Evan Williams—better known as @Ev to his legion of followers on Twitter—has grown to such influence that the State Department reportedly asked him to delay some routine site maintenance until after the Iranian election in June.
Brendan Synnott, the co-founder of Bear Naked Granola (and a former Inc. cover boy, joined the cast of CBS's Survivor: Tocantins this year. He placed ninth.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak appeared on ABC's Dancing with the Stars and joined a new start-up called Fusion-io.
Continuing the trend of entrepreneurs joining forces with reality TV producers, real-estate entrepreneur Barbara Corcoran served as a prospective investor/judge on ABC's Shark Tank.
Nick Friedman and Omar Soliman of College Hunks Hauling Junk (No. 156 on the 2009 Inc. 500) appeared as contestants on the show, but ultimately declined to take any funding.
HDNet founder and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban issued an open call for entries for entrepreneurs seeking early-stage funding. He also got fined by the NBA for tweeting nasty things about the refs at a game against the Denver Nuggets in March.
So who is the boss? At Touch, a new sports apparel company for women, the answer is actress Alyssa Milano. In April, the company opened its first boutique at Citi Field, the new home of the New York Mets.
In a year during which sales at jewelry stores declined significantly, Padma Lakshmi's new Indian-inspired line was a rare hit, selling out of stock in its first week at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City in May.
After just three years in business, Aaron Patzer of Mint.com sold his online personal finance company to Intuit for $170 million. He will now run Intuit's entire personal finance division.
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, sold his online shoe retail company to Amazon for $1.2 billion. He is now writing a book on how to achieve happiness in business and in life.
Josh Freese, a drummer who has played with Devo, the Vandals, Nine Inch Nails, and Guns N' Roses, figured a novel way to make money in the music business. He auctioned off the right for a fan to be the muse for two new songs, and to spend a night with him.
Will Wright, the creator of the popular video game The Sims, left Electronic Arts in April to focus on a new start-up incubator for other gaming companies. It's called The Stupid Fun Club.
Jack Welch, the former General Electric chairman and CEO, bought an equity stake in an online education company in June, and promptly renamed its MBA program after himself.
In June, Jeffrey Hollender of Seventh Generation passed the reins of his $150 million business to Chuck Maniscalco, a PepsiCo veteran. "Now is the right time for me to step aside," Hollender said.
Filmmaker Mary Mazzio's Ten9Eight, a Spellbound-like documentary that follows inner-city students as they compete in a business-plan competition, opened in November.
Ja'Mal Wills and William Mack of Baltimore, two students featured in the film, created a line of cucumber melon scented body lotion.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Inc. Magazine.