As Seen On TV

Couch potato kids make the best entrepreneurs.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the February 2001 issue of . Subscribe »

Does TV really rot your brain? Probably-but for some entrepreneurs, it's a source of inspiration. Take Andy Lam. While most boys his age were watching The Dukes of Hazzard, Lam was glued to Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters. "I started watching 20/20 with my parents when I was 4," says Lam, now 22 and founder of OneCard Technologies, a consumer identification company in Austin, Texas. "I like it because it puts a human face on business stories. Every employee, every individual has their own needs, and you have to understand them to create a good environment."

OK, so Lam got his inspiration from a serious news show, but some entre-preneurs are influenced by more nontraditional sources. "The biggest inspirations for me were the old '60s beach and surf movies," says Howie Sonnenschein, 35, founder and president of Bikini.com, a beach lifestyle brand based in New York City. "Frankie and Annette, Beach Blanket Bingo, Gidget. Our whole graphical style is taken from those shows and movies."

Considering Americans' fascination with all things retro, these "unusual" inspirations are really just a sign of the (past) times. "Nostalgia is one of the great American preoccupations," says Quentin Schultze, professor of communication at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. "We constantly look to the past, and as a consumer society, America wraps nostalgia in consumerist packages." For entrepreneurs like Sonnenschein, nostalgia is a full-time business. "It seemed like the early '60s were such a happy era," he says. "That's what Bikini.com is all about."

More from Entrepreneur

Are paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.
Get Your Quote Now

One-on-one online sessions with our experts can help you start a business, grow your business, build your brand, fundraise and more.
Book Your Session

Whether you are launching or growing a business, we have all the business tools you need to take your business to the next level, in one place.
Enroll Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.

It Started As a Joke and Turned Into a Startup That Raised $1 Million in Funding