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Biz Lit

Money From Thin Air (Times Books, $25)

The term "visionary" might have been invented for Craig McCaw. As described by The Seattle Times reporter O. Casey Corr, McCaw has the perfect blend of reclusiveness, eccentricity and ability to spot opportunities before anyone else. Even more important, he's aggressive enough to build organizations able to effectively exploit those opportunities while others are still wondering what to do.

McCaw followed his unique vision into cable television, turning one nearly bankrupt system left to him by his mercurial entrepreneur father into a regional cable powerhouse. He's done it with cellular telephones, too, beating swarms of rivals to create the network he sold to AT&T for $12.6 billion. Recently, McCaw has focused on satellite-borne communications, promising nothing less than a space-based Internet.

Will the futuristic space-based communications network McCaw envisions become reality? McCaw was interviewed briefly for Money from Thin Air: The Story of Craig McCaw, the Visionary Who Invented the Cell Phone Industry, and His Next Billion-Dollar Idea by O. Casey Corr and, as befits a true visionary, his pronouncements were often so cryptic as to defy analysis. But, based on his track record, don't bet against him.

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This article was originally published in the October 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Biz Lit.

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