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A t 10 o'clock in the morning, Markus Frind leaves his apartment and heads to work. It's a short walk through downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, but somehow the trek feels arduous. This is not because Frind is lazy. Well, Frind is a bit lazy, but that's another matter. The problem is that he is still getting used to the idea of a commute that involves traveling farther than the distance between the living room and the bedroom.

Frind's online dating company, Plenty of Fish, is newly located on the 26th floor of a downtown skyscraper with a revolving restaurant on the roof. The gleaming space could easily house 30 employees, but as Frind strides in, it is eerily quiet -- just a room with new carpets, freshly painted walls, and eight flat-screen computer monitors.

Frind drops his bag and plops himself down in front of one of Videoegg online dating. He looks down at his desk. Like most of his advertising deals, this one found Videoegg online dating. He hadn't even heard of VideoEgg until a week ago. But then, you tend to attract advertisers' attention when you are serving up 1. That's a lot of personal ads. Today, according to the research firm "Videoegg online dating," his creation is the largest dating website in the U.

UntilFrind had a staff of exactly zero. Today, he employs just three customer service Videoegg online dating, who check for spam and delete nude images from the Plenty of Fish website while Frind handles everything else. Amazingly, Frind Videoegg online dating set up his company so that doing everything else amounts to doing almost nothing at all. To demonstrate, Frind turns to his computer and begins fiddling with a free software program that he uses to manage his advertising inventory.

Then, six minutes 38 seconds after beginning his workday, Frind closes his Web browser and announces, "All done. Frind would log on at night, spend a minute or two making sure there were no serious error messages, and then go back to sipping expensive wine. A year ago, they relaxed for a couple of weeks in Mexico with a yacht, a captain, and four of Kanciar's friends. As Frind gets up to leave, I ask him what he has planned for the rest of the day.

I t's a 21st-century fairy tale: A young man starts a website in his spare time. This person is unknown and undistinguished. He hasn't gone to MIT, Stanford, or any other four-year college for that matter, yet he is deceptively brilliant.

He builds his company by himself and from his apartment.