The Internet bubble of the late 1990s ended with a painful pop. When today’s young entrepreneurs get together, the only bubbles they see are in their mimosas. Even as the rest of the business world frets about the gloomy economy, Silicon Valley is living the high-tech high life. Nowhere is that more evident than at Founders Brunch, a private, invitation-only gathering where new-boom kids and industry veterans pick up whispers of the next big trends, invest in one another’s ideas and push one another to think big. Every three months, these elites of the Web crowd pull themselves out of their beds or cubicles and pile into a different upscale home for a Sunday spread of community and conversation.
At the age of 40, King Gillette was a frustrated inventor, a bitter anticapitalist, and a salesman of cork-lined bottle caps. It was 1895, and despite ideas, energy, and wealthy parents, he had little to show for his work. He blamed the evils of market competition. Indeed, the previous year he had published a book, The Human Drift, which argued that all industry should be taken over by a single corporation owned by the public and that millions of Americans should live in a giant city called Metropolis powered by Niagara Falls. His boss at the bottle cap company, meanwhile, had just one piece of advice: Invent something people use and throw away.
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