Who's behind this amazing turnaround? Those on this year's BusinessWeek e-business 25 list. Because of their vision, tenacity, new ideas, and ability to deliver on promises, what was discredited has gained credibility again.
Some of these standouts have delivered on their original business plans. Take Jeffrey P. Bezos. The CEO of Web retailer Amazon.com (AMZN
) Inc. was chained to Wall Street's doghouse back in 2000 when doomsters predicted that he would soon run out of cash. Didn't happen. Analysts expect Amazon to make a profit this year on $4.8 billion in sales.
There's plenty of fresh thinking going on, too. Literally. Joe Fedele, CEO of New York online grocery startup FreshDirect, learned from the meltdown of Webvan. Instead of offering home delivery at supermarket prices, he's delivering high quality at lower prices. That's clicking with finicky Manhattan shoppers. Further out there, futurist Howard Rheingold is exploring the concept of "smart mobs" to show how people will use the Internet in powerful ways. These ad-hoc groups form on the fly, by using mobile Net connections for fun, political action, and art events.
A few years ago, many people thought the proponents of e-commerce had lost their bearings. Some had. But not these 25 men and women. They're lighting the path ahead.