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4 Businesses for Contrarians?

I attended an interesting speech by Vinod Khosla a few weeks back. While many venture capitalists bemoan the lemming mentality in the industry, few are actually willing to swim against the tide and fund ideas that are out of fashion or out of favor. That got me to thinking — what are 4 businesses that would be interesting to start in areas that many have left for dead? I must confess that I am not sure that *any* of these are worthy of funding, but it is an interesting intellectual exercise to force yourself to think as a contrarian.
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When Patents do Matter for Start-Ups

One of the better articles that I have read in awhile was on CNET a few days ago — “Investors snub Friendster in patent grab”. The really interesting thing about this article is not the content about the wranglings among the various social networking websites; this is one of those seldom-publicized cases where intellectual property really does have a meaningful impact on the development of a private company.
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Forget Microsoft — What about IBM?

The recent press surrounding the EU’s insistence on continuing with their prosecution of Microsoft and its past business practices is a mildly interesting story. After reading some of the press, I am beginning to wonder if the world should be much more worried about IBM than Microsoft at the moment.
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