Charles Ferguson made the Iraq documentary No End in Sight with money he earned when he sold his startup company to Microsoft. Snip from Joe Garofoli’s feature in the San Francisco Chronicle about Ferguson’s film (distributed by Magnolia Pictures), his message about Iraq, and the start of his new career:
In 1996, Charles Ferguson sold the startup company he founded to Microsoft for $133 million. He was 41, had $14 million worth of growing Microsoft stock in his pocket after paying off investors – and was thoroughly exhausted after barely sleeping the previous year. Then for the next eight years, he wrestled with the question that relatively young entrepreneurs rarely consider until they hit it big:
Now what do I do?
“For quite a while I didn’t know,” said Ferguson, as he looked out a window of the book-filled two-bedroom Berkeley home near Strawberry Canyon where he has lived since before he struck gold. While he was hardly idle during that time – he wrote two books, including the scathing “High Stakes, No Prisoners” (1999) about his startup experience, traveled and served at the Brookings Institution think tank – he felt unfulfilled. He couldn’t sleep, and felt himself growing too dependent on sleeping pills that left him feeling dopey. And for a man who thinks at warp speed, that wouldn’t do.
A little more than two years ago, Ferguson said he started to “get my energy back.” What germinated during his hibernation was “No End in Sight,” a documentary about how the United States has botched the occupation of Iraq. It opens Friday in the Bay Area after winning the special jury prize for a documentary at the Sundance Film Festival this year and garnering largely rave reviews in New York, where it opened last month.