"Good ideas are common," the aptly named British humorist Ashleigh Brilliant once said. "What's uncommon are people who'll work hard enough to bring them about."
Thank goodness, then, for the entrepreneurs on our annual list of 100 Brilliant Companies, who have coupled genius and execution to fantastic -- and, in many cases, fantastically lucrative -- ends. We picked 10 areas, some that have been booming for years (mobile tech, seniors) and some that are just now hitting their stride (social shopping, startup-to-startup), and spotlighted some of the most innovative and inspiring companies in each. The brilliance runs the gamut, from a deal site aggregator recognizing a void in a crowded sector to a service that simplifies the notoriously difficult process of creating an app.
Here's hoping that reading about all this brilliance will spark some in you
This Los Angeles-based company helps fans connect with bands and brands using quick-response codes. Plus, a look at other game-changers in the social-media space.
The San Francisco-based service puts a more streamlined spin on the age-old agony of booking passage.
A hit from the start, this Vancouver, B.C.-based company delivers an (increasingly) personal reading experience for tablet-toters.
The Chester, Penn.-based wine company's early success shatters long-held industry standards.
This vending company reinvents the business by stocking health and information.
This Lafayette, Ind.-based company lets seniors and their families know that someone has their backs.
This new service scans the web to aggregate offers.
This self-service app creator aims to make it cheap and easy to go mobile.
This Santa Monica, Calif.-based service boosts benefits for strapped startups.
Polyvore tells your network what to wear. And you thought engineers had no fashion sense.