Wozniak, Jobs, . . . and Wayne? The Mercury News heads to the Nevada desert and catches up with Ron Wayne, "Apple's forgotten founder." Wayne was recruited by Steve Jobs to mediate disputes with co-founder Steve Wozniak and, in exchange for his help, was given ten percent of Apple's stock, which, today would be worth a staggering $22 billion. But after 12 days with Jobs and Wozniak, who were unable to agree on strategy and had quickly gone into thousands of dollars in debt, Wayne had had enough. He quit Apple, selling back his shares for just $800. The Mercury News finds Wayne living off of social security checks and passing the time in casinos, declaring him "one of the most luckless men in the history of Silicon Valley." Let that be a lesson to you: If Steve Jobs offers to give you 10 percent of his company, definitely do not say no.
The innovation dilemma. In his latest post, serial entrepreneur, B-school professor, and diagram impresario Steve Blank outlines the difficulties of continuing to innovate as your start-up transitions into a stable mid-size company and then a large company with several hundred employees. "Disruptive innovation in a large company," he writes, "may require processes and individuals that look a lot like those in a startup." Intuit founder Scott Cook has similar, and specific, advice in this 2009 Inc. piece on incubating new ideas while still staying focused on your current business.
Is 35 months too long to wait for a patent? U.S. Patent and Trademark Office chief David Kappos think so. To the relief of inventors everywhere, he's proposed a new way to expedite patent applications. If approved. the new three-tier system would allow inventors to pay more (on top of the typical $1,090 filing fee) to bump their application to the front of the approval line. The Wall Street Journal reports that the speedier patent review option is part of an Obama administration effort to ramp up the patent office's capabilities. It could also nudge other government agencies into offering fast-track options, such as the State Department's $60 expedited passport service.
How to become an angel. Tuesday's Angel Boot Camp in Boston brought together a diverse mix of entrepreneurs, angel investors, and angels-in-training, for a series of talks about all things angel-related. The most buzzed about panel? Tips on how to become a successful angel investor. If you weren't able to attend, angel investor and tech honcho Don Dodge has a nice recap of the main points of the talk. Among the tips Dodge suggests is investing in people that you know and businesses you understand. He also suggests investing alongside other investors you trust. For those entrepreneurs hoping to land some of that angel investing money, check out our angel investing guide.
Can Groupon morph Chicago into a VC hotspot? The top three centers for venture capitalism have always been in California, Massachusetts, and New York, but CB Insights thinks Groupon could change all that. On multiple occasions the state has broken into the top five ranking for dollars invested or deals, with a steady climb over the last four quarters (including a big bump from Groupon). CB Insights then measures how Chicago stacks up against Paul Graham from Y Combinator's thesis about a region needing "nerds" and "rich people" to build a thriving ecosystem for startups. (via peHUB)
Skype and Kazaa founders return to online music. We first told you about online social music service Rdio in October, but today the promising start-up became official. Venture Beat explains that Rdio, founded by serial entrepreneurs Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis of Skype internet calls and the Kazaa music service, will store the music you listen to in the cloud, with the benefit of being able to play your music on any device you want. One of Rdio's more interesting features is being able to follow and listen to your friends' purchased music as well. Also unlike iTunes and its 99-cent-per-song model, Rdio (which is currently in a small beta testing program) will offer $4.99 monthly subscriptions for an unlimited number of songs, thought its catalog of songs is about half the size of that of iTunes.