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Bill Nguyen's new Silicon Valley start-up, Color, is as colorful as he is

March 23, 2011 |  6:26 pm

Seasoned Silicon Valley entrepreneur Bill Nguyen is a colorful guy. Now he has a new company that is as colorful as he is.

It's called -- what else? -– Color. (Securing the domain, www.color.com, set the company back $350,000.)

Like ex-Apple employee Nguyen's custom-made cuff links of the original (and colorful) Apple logo, the company's name speaks to how people are likely to use its smartphone application, which allows you to instantly share photos, videos and comments with friends and strangers alike. (You can check out a demo here, and the app is available in the Apple App store.)

Color Nguyen, who describes himself as a recluse, says the service has already drawn him out of his shell.

He checks it dozens of times a day to find out what his wife, Amanda, a pastry chef, and his two young boys are doing, as well as to keep tabs on his co-workers and friends.

He works on his iPad or iPhone in a white porcelain bathtub in the window of his start-up's airy downtown Palo Alto headquarters -- to the amusement of passersby.

And he gets plenty of attention by padding around the office and town in an insulated sleeping bag suit that makes him look like a mash-up of Gumby and the Michelin Man.

Everything about Color's offices is designed to create a palpable sense of community and inclusion. Even people who don't work there will be allowed to loiter in a reception area where they can test drive the application. In the basement, kids can ride skateboards on a half-pipe or play with giant Legos. Tents with cots are set up for engineers to crash after late-night coding sessions.

The start-up and its concept already has its own gravitational pull in Silicon Valley, recruiting engineers and splicing DNA from top Silicon Valley companies such as Apple and Google. Color scooped up DJ Patil, LinkedIn's chief scientist, even as the Mountain View professional networking company is on the verge of an initial public offering.

Read more about Color here in our article about the company and how social networking is about to get even more social. You can read my colleague Jon Healey's take here.

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-- Jessica Guynn

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