The Entrepreneurs of the Decade: 2000 to 2009

Nathaniel Welch
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David Neeleman of JetBlue

Though David Neeleman’s board of directors grounded him not long after his upstart airline, JetBlue, experienced a major customer service breakdown, he remains one of the decade’s most respected entrepreneurs. By building a fresh, new brand in a struggling industry—complete with individual seat-back TVs and tasty blue corn chips—he showed start-ups everywhere the value of taking on entrenched players with creativity and style. Moreover, by speaking openly and candidly about his ouster, he has helped to take (some of) the stigma out of entrepreneurial failure.