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The Quilted Picker-Upper

Celebrating the highs (and the lows) of dotcom culture with a needle and thread.

Forget rise-and-fall biographies. New York City entrepreneurs Townsend Baldwin, 29, and John Galbraith, 27, founders of privacy consulting firm Incogniti Inc.; and Constantine Valhouli, 28, co-producer of documentary film Silicon Alley Stories; are telling tales of Internet glory and defeat with the quilt, an art form Americans have been perfecting since colonial times. But it's not the quilt Grandma made you. The DotCom Quilt is about 300 T-shirts-bearing logos from companies ranging from Midwestern start-ups to corporate spinoff dotcoms and international concerns-collected by friends and donated by the companies themselves. Fallen icons (like Pets.com's sock puppet, the centerpiece) are mixed in with logos of survivors like Salon.com.

To attain both quality and a bit of irony, Amish quilt makers will stitch the piece, which should begin touring various universities and places like the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ this month. The artifact of technological and entrepreneurial history also goes up for sale on eBay this month. The guys don't want to jinx the auction by estimating the closing bid for the DotCom Quilt, but they're predicting a VC fund, investment bank, consulting firm or university will be the buyer. The thousands of dollars it's hoped to sell for will be donated to the New York City-based National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, a nonprofit organization that teaches low-income and at-risk youth to develop and operate their own businesses.

"It's a teaching tool of sorts," says Valhouli. "Yes, it's possible to be young and start something up, but it's also a cautionary tale: You can be older and things can still go wrong if it's not your best effort. We hope it's inspiring."

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This article was originally published in the January 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: The Quilted Picker-Upper.

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