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Birthday Present

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This story appears in the June 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Depending on when you actually read this, I will have almost turned or just turned 50. As more of us age, that may seem fairly routine, but for someone (me) who doesn't handle big birthdays well, it's momentous. The reason I'm sharing this with you is that June also marks my 20th year here at Entrepreneur, which means I've devoted 40 percent of my life to business ownership. If you just count the post-college years, I've spent about 73 percent of my time talking to, for and about entrepreneurs. No wonder I'm obsessed!

So many phenomenal things have happened in my 50 years that I find it hard to believe we actually crammed so much innovation into such a short period of time. Unlike on Happy Days, I don't remember when we first got a TV set, but I do vividly recall my first look at a color TV (it was at my cousin's neighbor's house, and we watched Bonanza) sometime in the mid-'60s. The revolutionary technological advance of my youth was the transistor radio--which I took full advantage of, secretly listening to Yankees games while I was supposed to be sleeping. For someone who has (and uses) three computers, it's unbelievable that I was 23 before I even touched a keyboard (and found it totally intimidating). I can still remember the day in 1987 that now-executive editor Maria Anton and I stood in fascination and watched a fax machine at work. "What will they think of next?" I wondered.

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