Magdamena Mik, 25
Among the auction sites burgeoning on the Web, Priceline.com is an early trendsetter. Its business of liquidating unsold airline seats and hotel rooms by letting travelers make low-ball bids online has pushed the company to a market valuation of $10 billion. To ensure a robust patent portfolio for his site, Priceline.com founder and vice chairman Jay Walker set up a think tank, Walker Digital, staffed with inventors and patent attorneys. Two years after joining the company, Magdalena Mik has her name on 44 pending U.S. patents for Priceline and other e-businesses. Her innovations include the Adaptive Marketing Program, in which Priceline adds a dollar amount to a customer’s offer as a reward for an agreement to sign up for a credit card or some other service. Mik’s latest e-brainstorm: a system enabling online shoppers to name the price they are willing to pay for merchandise, which they would pick up from a participating retailer. Mik came to Walker Digital after receiving a BS in chemistry and completing one semester of law school (she’s officially on a leave of absence). Though Polish is her native tongue ,this immigrant to the United States at age 8 is fluent in commerce. She recently told Forbes that her inspiration was "the thought of being obscenely wealthy by the time I’m 30."