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Getting to Plan B: Breaking Through to a Better Business Model by Randy Komisar, John Mullins

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Introduction

IT WAS THE SUMMER OF 1998, and Max Levchin wasn’t quite sure what he was going to do with his life. After finishing his undergraduate education amid the soybean fields of Champaign-Urbana at the University of Illinois, Levchin moved to Silicon Valley to start yet another company, having already started three during his studies.1

“I was living in Palo Alto, squatting on the floor of a friend,” recalled Levchin. “I had two different ideas that I was considering.”2 After pitching his ideas to a hedge fund manger he had met at a lecture at Stanford University, the two decided to pursue Levchin’s idea for security software for such handheld devices as the hot-selling PalmPilot. “I wanted to start a company that would take this scarce ...

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