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What Makes a Great Founder?

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Obsession with your product. That's Brad Feld's explanation for what makes a great entrepreneur. "[T]hese CEO's love to show their product to anyone that will listen," writes Feld. "They don't explain the company to people with PowerPoint slides. They don't send out long executive summaries with mocked up screen shots. They don't try to engage you in a phone conversation about the great market they are going after. They start with the product. And stay with the product." Feld says that, as an investor, he avoids companies that make their pitch based on market research and financial models, both of which, he says, "are always wrong."

Does Apple have a monopoly? Entrepreneurs who develop applications for Apple's iPhone have long complained about the computer company's tight-fisted approach with respect to which apps are allowed on the gadget and which are banned. Now the U.S. government is poised to look into the issue, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. Though the inquiry is preliminary, the cause seems to be Apple's recent decision to ban apps that are developed using software from Adobe Systems. Says the Journal, "the latest interest from regulators was triggered by complaints from Apple competitors and application developers over the terms of company's agreement with iPhone and iPad app developers."

The problem with electronic medical records. When President Obama allocated about $35 billion of stimulus funds to help digitize medical records, proponents hailed the move as a way to eliminate waste and improve care. After the announcement, digital medical record start-ups rejoiced. But, according to the Boston Globe, the money hasn't been enough to convince many medical professionals that the time and resource investments are worth the trouble. 

Fast-lane security service revived by investors. It looks like another start-up will be taking a crack at making airport security lines a little more bearable. A company called AlClear has acquired the assets of Verified Identity Pass, a previous failed attempt to fix the problem, according to the New York Times. AlClear bought Verified Identity Pass's customer database and airport kiosks for $6 million in a bankruptcy proceeding. The company plans to charge $179 a year for skipping the normal security line, and an additional $50 for a family plan.

If Web video is so big, who keeps buying all those TVs? More and more people have been getting their video online, so why, asks AllThingsD, do we continue to buy so many TV sets? Peter Kafka suggests that people want to have their cake and eat it too, streaming Web video to their HDTVs. "Over the next few years, it will be increasingly hard to buy a set that doesn't have an Ethernet connection," writes Peter Kafka. "And that's when things are going to get really interesting." 

A day in the life of a new start-up. Anyone who thinks that the life of a start-up tech entrepreneur is all glitz and glamour may want to take a look at this behind-the-scenes video of a typical day in the life of a young tech company. Shot at Founder's Co-op, a Seattle venture fund and tech incubator, the video shows the founders of web companies like LookStat and NearlyWeds writing code, discussing pricing, and sharing ideas about their businesses. The video also documents a monthly founder's meeting, complete with a bottle of Maker's Mark whiskey, which takes place around a ping-pong-cum-conference table. As Founder's Co-Op general partner Chris DeVore explains, "Start-ups are not just software and money. They're people. They're ups and downs, highs and lows. You have to make a point of connecting the people with each other and a great way to do that is over a drink." 

Boxee opens up. There's another interesting company tour, this one of Boxee, the New York City start-up that's developed software for watching online video on your TV. The company lets Business Insider inside their 4th floor walk-up. Highlights include a hefty wine collection, a full shower in the bathroom, yes, another ping pong table. More importantly, the post offers a look at a prototype of the company's new Boxee Box, its first foray into the hardware business.

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Last updated: May 4, 2010




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