If you don’t recognize the name John Edmond, you will in the future.
Business 2.0 magazine is out with its “50 People Who Matter Now: The Most Influential People in the Tech Biz – and What You Can Learn from Them.”
From blog queen Arianna Huffington to Apple’s Steve Jobs, U-2’s Bono to the founders of Google and Bill Gates, the second annual list includes many world-changing figures.
And Edmond, one of six co-founders at Cree, is there as well.
“I was quite surprised,” Edmond, 46, told WRAL Local Tech Wire. “I didn’t even realize I had been nominated.”
Business 2.0 recently invited Edmond and Cree to participate in its “Next Disrupters” conference because of the tremendous Cree technology is having in the lighting industry. Cree is capitalizing on advances in light emitting diode technology based on silicon chips, and Edmond has been one of the driving forces in putting Cree at the leading edge of LEDs.
Here’s what the magazine had to say about Edmond and Cree in its July issue:
“Why he matters:
“The light-emitting diode is poised to become the new light bulb, and for that, Edmond deserves much of the credit. At Cree, the LED manufacturer he helped start two decades ago in North Carolina, Edmond is pushing the technology into the mainstream.
“At a time when 22 percent of the nation’s energy is spent keeping the lights on, an LED bulb can burn for almost six years before it needs to be replaced, and some consume even less energy than compact fluorescent bulbs. Edmond’s LEDs are beginning to replace outdoor lighting in parking garages and streetlamps, and the indoor lighting market is set to open up as well.”
From parking garage lighting in Raleigh to city street lamps in Japan and light fixtures for homes, LEDs from Cree are threatening to disrupt the lighting industry.
Edmond finished 39th on the “50” list, but in online voting that permitted readers’ input he has cracked the top 10 at times.
The attention is not something Edmond seeks. “Personally, I try to stay humble,” he said.
As a graduate student at North Carolina State University, Edmond teamed up with Neal Hunter, Eric Hunter, John Palmour, Calvin Carter and Thomas Coleman to launch Cree, a company based on silicon chip technology.
Three of the founders, including Neal who launched a new company (LED Lighting Fixtures) have sleft Cree. But Edmond, wearing a blue shirt boasting a Cree logo, has soldiered on, focusing on LEDs. His work has helped take LEDs from providing backlighting for computers and cell phones to the point where LEDs threaten conventional forms of lighting.
LEDs are brighter, cooler, consume less energy and last longer. And development of LED lighting is something that Edmond still finds alluring enough to keep him at Cree.
“I love it. I love what I am doing,” he said when asked why he remained with Cree. “I see what is happening in the lighting industry … It’s very, very exciting.”
Having succeeded as an entrepreneur, Edmond is asked by other aspiring executives what he considered key factors in finding success.
“First, you’ve got to believe,” Edmond said. “You have to be passionate about it,” he added, the “it” being the subject of the entrepreneur’s efforts.
Then you must be “naïve enough” to believe you can make a difference.
The naiveté and determination of Cree’s founders set them on the path of success in the semiconductor energy, from chips to LEDs. Yes, indeed, they also invented a better light bulb.
Coming Tuesday: Edmond talks with WRAL Local Tech Wire about LEDS and their uses.