In 1995, when Mike Apgar and his partners were trying to grow their new company, a Seattle-based Internet service provider named Speakeasy Inc. (#47), they leased a second office down the street but couldn't afford to network it to their primary office. So Apgar obtained city blueprints for the utility pipes under the street, identified a potential wiring conduit, and began trying to navigate through it. First he and his brother Tyler tied a fishing line to a motorized toy truck, but it stalled in built-up muck. Then they made a 300-foot ramrod of PVC pipe and a cutoff plastic bottle as a gunk-clearing tool and slowly stuffed that through the pipe. Fourteen hours later the two offices were networked, albeit unconventionally. Ah, the joys of a start-up: too few resources to support your grand ambitions. You break all the rules in the name of vision and, in the process, discover that you're capable of more than you ever imagined. For more birth legends, click on the links below.

A Start-up Is Born

Seat of the Pants
Where Do Great Ideas Come From?

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