Welcome to RE:INVENTION’s Tuesday Toast. Each Tuesday, we toast innovators and roast the “toasted” (troubled companies that forgot business basics or failed to commercialize disruptive ideas).
A toast to Entrepreneur Magazine’s innovative and inventive 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year finalists. A grand total of fifteen finalists have been announced in three categories:
- Paul Rice, Fair Trade USA
- Ryo Kubota, Acucela Inc.
- Limor Fried, Adafruit Industries
- Justin Gold, Justin’s Nut Butter
- Eric Basu, Sentek Global
- Richard Smiedt, Move Collective (aka Bobble)
- Brian Linton, United by Blue
- Brooks Dame, Proof Wood Eyewear
- Matthew Waldman, Nooka Inc.
- Jason Lucash, OrigAudio
- Neil Soni, CollegeZen
- Daniel Peng, Archon Medical Technologies
- Bryan Silverman, Star Toilet Paper
- Jorjon Tang, Vantage Realized
- Rishabh Jain, Invisergy
Entrepreneur Magazine is crowdsourcing this year’s winners. Be sure to cast your vote! On an even more upbeat note, most of these companies are currently hiring.
Today bankrupt solar company Solyndra has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle accusations that it failed to properly notify employees before abruptly laying them off. The recipient of a $528 million federal loan under the 2009 stimulus law, Solyndra filed for bankruptcy in September 2011.
Commercializing new ideas is hard; it works best when your company is people-driven and market-driven, rather than technology-driven or “innovation”-driven. It’s a mistake to blame Solyndra’s problems on lack of manufacturing commitment, the U.S. government, or high labor costs compared to China. Solyndra suffered from people problems; executive arrogance and lack of employee empathy.
Know an innovative company that deserves recognition? Email us with deets: innovators-AT-reinventioninc.com. We may feature them in a future Tuesday Toast. Got a suggestion for future RE:INVENTION blog programming? Ping us with those ideas too.