Gateway's Big Gamble

Ted Waitt is building the "IT department for the masses"

The morning is late in La Jolla, a seaside community just north of San Diego, and PC mogul Ted Waitt, dressed in blue jeans and a blue silk shirt, shows off his new digs. The ponytailed 37-year-old has come a long way from the Iowa farmhouse where he started PC maker Gateway Inc. 15 years ago. The griddle-flat prairie views have given way to a stunning vista of waves crashing into jagged ocean coves. The smell of garlic-laced seafood wafts into Waitt's airy, second-floor office from a trendy restaurant below.

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