Some colleagues and I were just in a meeting with Bob LaPointe, the funder and president of a company called Trendline Communications, based in Marblehead, Massachusetts. It was an "old-home week" situation: Bob worked at Inc. for many years, running its circulation department, then a division that took Inc. into new businesses such as events and custom publishing. In the late 1990s, Bob ran Inc.com. Bob mentioned that Inc.'s founder, the late Bernie Goldhirsh, originally gave him the assignment of creating new lines of business but with little or no upfront investment. If Bob was unable to make a business profitable in his first year, Bernie would shut it down. "He absolutely hated failure," Bob recalled. "And he believed there was an inverse relationship between the amount of capital available and the level of creativity." At a time when many, many businesses find the level of available capital to be nil, Bernie's philosophy of business offers some small cause for optimism.
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