The Hall of Fame is reserved for our best of the best. That is not a simple or knee-jerk kind of decision, either. There are lots of organizations that have cool products – and, in fact, there are publications that address the “cool product” issue quite well. We, on the other hand, are concerned that, no matter how cool the product is, the company will be around in one form or another for quite a while.
Our readers look to us for advice on where the next move should be. Subscribers have told us repeatedly how important these reviews are to them and that charges us with a pretty serious responsibility. If we are going to put a product or company in the Hall of Fame, that product or company needs to belong there on several levels.
First, given that this is the Innovator Hall of Fame, the recipient needs to be a demonstrated innovator. That is not a one-year proposition. That means sustained performance. Second, the company needs to show depth. That means that not just the product or service is innovative, the organization itself must demonstrate an innovative approach to its business and the market. Third, the winners need to be responsive to real challenges, and those challenges need to be important over time to an identifiable segment of the market.
Finally, our Hall of Famers need to demonstrate in other ways – such as winning Best Buy, Recommended and other SC designations – that they have reached the level of excellence that belongs in the Hall of Fame and have sustained that level of excellence over time.
All of that said, we were quite pleased with this year's inductees. We have watched them all for some years and they are all strong performers, creative and innovative businesses and have solid products that creatively address serious problems. All four of this year's Hall of Famers are in crowded markets and they don't necessarily own their market segments. But what they do have is a loyal following, good year-on-year growth and the right stuff for their respective niches. They are, of course, poster companies for innovation. We heartily welcome them to the SC Magazine Innovator Hall of Fame.