Resume: Steve Perlman
CEO, Rearden Steel Technologies
His past: After gigs at Apple Computer and General Magic, he co-founded and ran WebTV Networks, which harnessed TV to access the Web. His company was bought by Microsoft for $425 million in 1997.
The present: Last year, he started Rearden Steel to design a new consumer-electronics entertainment device that accesses the Web. He has raised $67 million and hopes to come out with a product in the next year.
What's different? At WebTV, he was so rushed that he didn't always make sure deals were solid. An early deal with a midlevel exec at Sony to make devices based on his technology fell through at the last minute. Now, Perlman negotiates with people who have top authority.