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We're not saying one's high school persona can't be escaped. (God forbid.) But when we asked some successful entrepreneurs, "In high school, what clique were you in?" we couldn't help noticing a connection between their teenage temperaments and the businesses they started.

Name/Age: Steve Lake, 30

Company/Location: Sector 9 Inc., San Diego

Product: Skateboards

Clique: "Classified as a semi-jock, partying, surfer guy. To me it was a great clique with lots of positive people. Actually, five of my friends from high school now run our multimillion-dollar company."

Name/Age: Kristin Knight, 31

Company/Location: Creative Assets, Seattle

Service: Staffing firm

Clique: "I generally got along with all the different groups. My group of friends were good students, very involved with school activities, but we got into our share of trouble. I was a cheerleader and worked in student government."

Name/Age: Price Givens, 28

Company/Location: Vervex Technologies; Irvine, California

Product: Database and corporate intranet software

Clique: "I had most of my interests outside of school. I hacked on my computer, I did a lot of technical drawings, I fabricated elaborate make-believe corporations and came up with all kinds of crazy science experiments. I hold an informal patent on a weather device that alerted me in my sleep if it began snowing enough to cancel school."

Name/Age: Anthony Mark Hankins, 30

Company/Location: Anthony Mark Hankins Inc., Dallas

Product: Women's sportswear

Clique: "I was the `fashion police' . . . I once wore a burlap cape to school with an artist's hat and leather pants. Some people talked about it for a while, but before the day was over, everyone was raving `burlap' and what a wonderful fashion find."

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This article was originally published in the August 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Get Your Cliques.

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