The challenge: Simply put, Amazon, Salesforce.com, and every other 500-pound gorilla in the cloud-computing universe.
What he did: Lance Crosby knew he was onto something when he co-founded SoftLayer, a provider of cloud-based computing infrastructure, seven years ago in Dallas. Companies loved the idea of managing their IT resources, like servers, through SoftLayer's global platform instead of having to buy them on their own. Unfortunately, he wasn't the first to think of the idea: Amazon Web Services got rolling around the same time. To stand out, Crosby, 42, focused on attracting sophisticated customers like mobile-app developers, rather than Amazon's broader audience. Last year the profitable, nearly 700-employee firm logged $330 million in revenue. Crosby says, "Currently the cloud is growing so fast that it's a land grab at this point."
Yup, the company will paint the interior of your home in a day.