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Simon Cowell: From Idol to Inventor

The man behind American Idol talks about what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur and why his new show focuses on product creation

British-born high-school dropout Simon Cowell is perhaps one of the most recognized figures on American TV. Best known as the acerbic judge on the Fox (NWS) show American Idol (his signature phrase: "I don't mean to be rude, but..." is also the title of his 2004 memoir), Cowell claims that at heart he's a serial entrepreneur.

Cowell got his start at music giant EMI Music Publishing in London in 1979, where he honed his ability to adroitly identify hit-making pop stars. The entrepreneurial bug bit, and he went on to form several record labels as well as a TV production company, Syco.