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As Seen On TV

Couch potato kids make the best entrepreneurs.

This story appears in the February 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. 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, 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."

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