One retired company founder wound up starting six new companies.
Some people don't take well to retirement. Two years after leaving AST Research, the computer manufacturer he cofounded, Thomas Yuen is working on not one but six new California high-tech start-ups. Yuen says he's taking an active role in most of the start-ups; he's organizing four of them to operate out of the same building, for example. His latest investment? Nine-month-old NuReality, of Santa Ana, Calif., the maker of a sound-enhancement system for video games and multimedia. Yuen says the multiple responsibilities involved in helping grow AST from a small garage outfit to a Fortune 500 company gave him "on-the-job training" for working with six companies at once. "I didn't think I'd do so many [new companies]," he says. "I just couldn't hold back my enthusiasm. I'm an engineer by training and always have a yearning for leading-edge technologies."
To keep up, Yuen uses every spare minute -- including the 15 hours a week he spends on dialysis treatment. "If you are able to screen out the pain and inconvenience, you can train yourself to do useful tasks," says the 42-year-old, who was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease 13 years ago. Three nights a week (so as not to interfere with business hours) Yuen receives dialysis in his home at a station equipped with a desk, a phone, and a computer. How does he view the time? As an opportunity to think about the computer industry. -- Alessandra Bianchi