What’s the Big Idea? 

Marc Cenedella is something of a guru. As founder and CEO of TheLadders.com, an online community for executive-level jobseekers, the self-proclaimed "populist scientist of employment" is asked all the time what makes someone a great entrepreneur. But entrepreneurship is not alchemy, he argues, and the key to success is less elusive than it seems. His advice: begin today.

Cenedella came up with the idea for TheLadders in 2003 while Senior VP at Hotjobs.com, after noticing an oversight in his industry. At the time, most job sites catered to entry-level workers while ignoring those in search of senior or management positions. Where others saw retirees, Cenedella saw an opportunity to reach a growing market (people in search of $100K+ jobs), while taking web recruitment into the 21st century.

He envisioned the Ladders as a “career management” platform that would have more in common with a social networking site than a resume dump. Then he quit his job and hired himself. Had he stalled, he says, his idea would have lost its freshness, and therefore, its intrinsic appeal. Instead, the strategy paid off: TheLadders was named Most Valuable Start-up in New York by Silicon Alley Insider, and won a Webby Award for Best Employment Website in 2009. It's since been voted one of the best companies to work for in the empire state.

What’s the Significance?

In the information age, there is power in being able to reduce a complex problem into simple steps and take decisive action to make it happen. Just like everyone has a novel stashed away in a desk drawer, the business-scheme- sketched-on-the-back-of-a-napkin can be found anywhere. The only way to test your idea -- and your self -- is to actually execute it. There’s a reason why “Just Do It” was the most recognizable slogan of the 20th century.