Monday, May 30, 2005

Celebrities in our midst

Several chess bloggers, because of their chess exploits elsewhere, come to the blogosphere with built in cache and name recognition. GMs Polgar and Ashley, and Dennis Monokroussos come immediately to mind. The rest of us, through our own initiative, chose to emerge from the general masses ... or so I thought.

Yesterday I discovered that sporadic chess blogger Rich Tong (listed under other chess blogs as Rich Tong On Chess) is also an individual of some note. He was profiled (along with several others) in a Sunday New York Times article entitled "The Microsoft Millionaires Come of Age." Since the New York Times restricts their links after a couple of days, I've reprinted the relevant section below:
RICH TONG said he knew that it was time to leave Microsoft when he made a presentation to its chief executive, Steve Ballmer, and was no longer scared. "I realized that if I could confidently tell him how I thought the company should be organized, then I was qualified to run my own business," Mr. Tong said. In his 12 years there, he led several marketing teams. One helped raise sales of Windows to about $400 million a year, from $50 million, in two years.

After quitting Microsoft, he devoted himself and his capital to Ignition Partners, a venture capital firm he said he founded with five other "young retirees" from Microsoft and McCaw Cellular. "The six of us didn't have any V.C. experience at all," he recalled, "so if we didn't put our own money on the line, no one else would trust us with theirs."

The firm, which has about $750 million under management, has attracted well-known investors including Harvard and General Motors. It has also drawn some well-known partners, most recently John Connors, who retired as Microsoft's chief financial officer in March.

"Great people who have just left Microsoft or Amazon come to us and say: 'I'm ready for something new and fun. What have you got going?' " Mr. Tong said.

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