If entrepreneurship is a melting pot, the Inc 500 is something of a crepe pan. The CEOs on this year's list are overwhelmingly male and Caucasian. More than half hail from the middle class. Their average age is 43. So who's running America's fastest-growing companies? Pretty much whom you'd expect.

But in another sense, the Inc 500 CEOs are as varied as a phone book. Some have spent a lifetime grooming themselves for CEO-hood. Others have had company building thrust upon them. Some go into their companies expecting to stay monogamous. Others flit from one opportunity to the next. Some live to sell, some to scheme, some to inspire.

In the most elemental ways, though, the Inc 500 CEOs are a homogeneous bunch. They're all gutsy. Resilient. Dreamers. In other words, pretty much whom you'd expect.

What do entrepreneurs really want to know about their most successful peers? At least three questions stand out ...

Who's Running the 500?

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Published on: Oct 15, 2002