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by Jefferson Graham
USAToday.com

Hermosa Beach, Calif. — Scott Friedman spent Monday and Tuesday responding to more than 700 business cards he picked up at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Friedman, CEO of SoulR Products, went to last week’s show with a big dream: to get national, big-box retail distribution for his WOWee One, an $80 portable speaker that plugs into portable devices such as the iPhone or iPod and offers the sound of a big bass subwoofer.

Figuring that breaking down the doors to the Targets, RadioShacks and Best Buys of the world would be tough, he instead put down a $75,000 bet in Vegas by exhibiting at CES. His hope was that enough buyers would stop by and later make orders for thousands of his product.

“The convention was busy, but following up and making sure people got responses when they expected is the busiest time of all,” Friedman said. “Most work begins when you get back.”

USA TODAY tagged along with Friedman to see CES from the perspective of an entrepreneur. The show had 2,500 exhibitors and 140,000 attendees.

Friedman’s company is about as small as a small business can be. SoulR is two people, Friedman and Brian Hollowaty, who focuses on marketing, plus seven part-time employees who sell the product at a kiosk at the Manhattan Village mall in Manhattan Beach, Calif.

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