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The Inside Story of Flipboard, the App That Makes Digital Content Look Magazine Glossy

This story appears in the July 2014 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Mike McCue thought he was done. Two years after selling his startup Tellme Networks to Microsoft for a reported $800 million-plus, McCue essentially completed his efforts to integrate the company's innovative voice-recognition software into the Microsoft platform. So in mid-2009 he handed over the reins, turned in his resignation and set his sights on a life of leisure--maybe the occasional angel investment here, perhaps some philanthropy work there, a whole lot of family time in between.

His retirement lasted barely a week. En route to a family vacation, he grabbed a magazine from the plane's seat-back pocket and turned the page. "I remember thinking to myself, 'I read this same article on the internet, and it looked nothing as good as it does here in print, with awesome graphics, pullout quotes, inset maps and beautiful full-bleed photography,'" McCue recalls. "The advertising was also a shadow of itself in digital. In print, you have these full-page ads that people actually view as part of the content. You'd never think about buying Vogue without the ads, right? But banner ads just get in the way of content. Nobody likes them. I started to realize there was this whole opportunity to reform how content and advertising is presented on the web."

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