Where an Inventor-Entrepreneur Finds Motivation

It's almost becoming a cliché to predict that entrepreneurs will lead the U.S. out of recession and into a new clean-energy economy. But what compels those smallest of companies to invent and innovate, given the odds against success? For Bob Crane, the 58-year-old president and founder of C. Crane in Fortuna, Calif., the driving factors are independence, altruism, and ambition. He spoke recently to Smart Answers columnist Karen E. Klein. Edited excerpts of their conversation follow.

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