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Shape Of Things To Come?

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Since the day he got his first Mac in the second grade, Steven Ridder has been crazy about technology. Even a stint in the Army, where he served as a military policeman (and a bodyguard for President Bill Clinton in Bosnia), couldn't deter him from his high-tech destiny. So last fall, Ridder, 22, left Northeastern University in Boston to launch Intermax Media. The Weymouth, Massachusetts, company's premier product: the CD Card, a business card (measuring approximately 2 inches by 4 inches) with multimedia capabilities.

Don't be fooled by the CD's rectangular shape, says Ridder of the marketing tool. "It works like any other CD," he explains. "Just pop it in and close the door." A team of multimedia designers customize the cards to hold full-motion video and audio, from sales presentations to training videos.

Operating on a shoestring, Ridder made a bold tactical maneuver to finance the first CD Card. In search of a client who would support his visionary concept--and pick up the costs of producing a prototype--Ridder enlisted the expertise of a tech-driven company that had a reputation for innovative marketing. "We pitched it to them and they loved it. We agreed to [design it] for them at cost," he says. "In turn, they could be the first company to [use] the cards."

These days, Intermax is a hit at tech trade shows. "People literally [follow] you out the door," says Ridder, whose clients include Fox Sports and Compaq. "They want to see it work."

With a DVD version in the works, Ridder says, "I never realized Intermax would go this far, this fast. I [even have] investors now. It's full steam ahead."

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This article was originally published in the July 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Shape Of Things To Come?.

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