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FROM THE BLOGS: TECHNOLOGY

Accident doesn't faze entrepreneur

June 05, 2008|Jessica Guynn

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Beginning today, Business will occasionally print excerpts from the Technology blog, which examines the business and culture of our connected lives. Visit latimes.com /technology.

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Two years ago, Internet entrepreneur Keiron McCammon amazed Silicon Valley by returning to work three months after his left hand was amputated, the result of a paragliding accident in the foothills of the Andes in Colombia.

Not only did he dive back into work, but he also experimented with different prosthetics to practice yoga, ride a bike and play the guitar. He hit the road in a Toyota Prius with the license plate "1 HANDED." He began blogging about his experiences and created an online group for those who have had upper-limb amputations. When he hit the slopes to snowboard, he discovered that as an amputee he could score half-price lift tickets.

What lifted McCammon's spirits? He credits his passion for his then-little start-up, Kaboodle, plus the faith of his co-founder and friend Manish Chandra and the love of his wife, Kerry.

Another high: Selling Kaboodle, based in Santa Clara, Calif., to Hearst Corp. in August 2007. Since then, the site has become one of the largest and fastest-growing online social shopping communities, with more than 500,000 members and more than 6.5 million monthly visitors.

McCammon, Kaboodle's chief technology officer and vice president of product management, has a cool new toy: a high-tech bionic hand that he got last year. He is among the first to use the nimble i-LIMB, made by Scottish company Touch Bionics, which promises to change the lives of amputees.

McCammon predicted soon after his accident that technology would again make him whole. But even he had no idea that he would get such futuristic bionic engineering this soon. He thrills to securely grip a wineglass, a piece of paper or the steering wheel with his left hand as shown on a recent Bay Area newscast.

The self-described "tri limb" is attempting a triathlon in September to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. He recently started a six-day-a-week training regimen, which proved tougher than he imagined. Picture swimming with one hand. Imagine the pain of putting constant pressure on his stump during a 50-minute bike ride.

"Hell, what is life without a few challenges to overcome?" McCammon said.

-- Jessica Guynn

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