Think Twice About Being First to Market

In 2004, David Cohen had an idea for a social network for mobile phones that would connect users in the real world. His Boulder (Colo.)-based company, called iContact, raised $600,000 from investors and the founders' contributions, launched a beta version, and seemed poised to tap the much hyped mobile software market. Cohen, then 36, had already founded a successful software company. But after 18 months, he was unable to get phone carriers to distribute his software, and he shuttered the company, returning 80% of his investors' money. "Everybody was saying mobile was coming, it was going to be open; GPS was coming, it was going to be great," says Cohen. "That didn't really happen for another four years."

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