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Brilliance expresses itself in many ways--from the esoteric tinkerings of a mad genius to the profit-heavy balance sheets that illustrate the work of astute executives. Sometimes brilliance is merely a deceptively simple, why-hasn't-anyone-thought-of-this-before solution to a nagging problem.
Two years ago, anthropologist Sekai Farai was awarded a grant by Columbia University to study the technology startup community. Her timing couldn't have been better: a new goldrush is under way as twentysomethings from New York, London and San Francisco dream of making their fortunes from a new generation of internet companies. Sitting in the lobby of Manhattan's Ace Hotel, one of new-school tech's favourite hangouts, Farai predicts the boom has just begun. "People who not long ago started startups because they couldn't get a job are turning down jobs now," she says. "There's so much money about. The idea that your idea could be the next big idea is very real.