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C'Mon, Feel The Noise Profile of

By Michelle Prather

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The fine folks at Abbey Road Studios in London swear by Chordamplifiers. But the only place you can buy them is And that's just how Raj Bhatia, founder of theSilicon Alley (New York City) audio-video e-tailer, likes it.

Actually, that's how Bhatia, 34, got popular Americanbrands, like Phillips, to sign on-by getting Euro-brands U.S.recognition in exchange for exclusive contracts. BeforeCoolAudio's late-October launch last year, "Americanbrands were kicking me out of their offices," he says. But nowthe site, already hailed for its exclusive and name-brand selectionand variety of customer services, has earned $7 million in salesand expects $15 million by year-end. Add the long-time audiophileBhatia, who, prior to CoolAudio, founded a New York real estatefund, co-founded a $30 million hedge fund and served as chairmanand CEO at hi-fi audio equipment manufacturer Carver Corp. He cannow revel in telling former doubters "maybe." SinceCoolAudio proposed to merge with Harvey Electronics late last year,the site may soon own 80 percent of the Lyndhurst, New Jersey-basedhigh-end home entertainment retailer, and may also be able toutilize its reputation and East Coast showrooms, giving customersan alternative to online shopping.

It's obvious Bhatia has a head for business, but the former"micromanager" has learned plenty since CoolAudio's1998 founding-especially from president Marco Protano, 38,who came on board three months into start-up. Little things likedelegation skills and "how to leave your ego on thesidelines" are becoming innate. But blessing himself with"me time" is still a hurdle. "I can't turn itoff at 6 p.m.," says the midnight e-mail marketer. "Itried taking a vacation without a cell phone, and I was morestressed then ever." We hope you'll soon be able to takeit down a notch, Raj.

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