Excerpts from the blog Former venture capitalist Russ Aldrich is the new chief executive at QL2, the Seattle Web market intelligence company...

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Excerpts from the blog

Former venture capitalist Russ Aldrich is the new chief executive at QL2, the Seattle Web market intelligence company announced Wednesday.

We’ll see if he lasts longer than the previous boss, Glenn Hasen, who left after about eight months.

Hasen was preparing QL2 to seek outside funding to boost its growth, but he said that ended in a disagreement with founder Kelvin Chin about the company’s direction.

Aldrich said it’s going to be different this time.

Aldrich said he has lots of experience working with companies and investors to turn things around.

He plans to spend the next three months or so sorting things out and putting the company in a position to consider whether to seek outside capital in 2009.

“I plan to be at QL2 and guide it through its successful next incarnation and, who knows, maybe take it to an IPO, maybe take it to an acquisition, but I don’t see it as an impossible task,” he said.

The 5-year-old company has about 105 employees. About half are in India and the rest are in Pioneer Square, Atlanta and the United Kingdom.

Aldrich spruced up several other area companies that were acquired.

Wednesday’s announcement by QL2 noted that in his previous role as executive director at Guide Ventures in Seattle, Aldrich was involved with AdRelevance (which was sold to Media Metrix), Virtual Relocation (sold to TMP Worldwide) and ShareBuilder, which was acquired by ING.

Aldrich also has the database chops to lead QL2. Earlier in his career, he co-founded Simba Technologies, a company that works with Microsoft on open database connectivity drivers. Simba started in Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., and is now based in Vancouver.

The release said Aldrich also worked for Silicon Graphics, Unisys, Altos Computer Systems, Apple Computer and Xerox.

Aldrich said QL2 “is running at a healthy pace — we are meeting our cash flow obligations, we’re growing at the continued pace that we’ve been growing over the past two to three years.”

As for taking funding, he said: “I think we’ll reserve the right in 2009 to look at how fast we want to accelerate that pace — at this stage of the company’s history and genesis, you’ve got to [say] do you want to stay in the 25 to 30 percent range, 50 percent, 100 percent?”

Just cruising

Microsoft’s hardware group Wednesday released two peripherals aimed at PC gamers — a SideWinder-brand mouse and keyboard.

The keyboard has a new key that Microsoft’s calling “cruise control,” which sounds perfect for a lazy afternoon at the office.

When I inquired, a spokeswoman said it’s “a brand-new feature that lets gamers continue an action without having to hold down the key or keys assigned to the action.”

In other words, you can do things like assign the key to control a character’s running, so you press it and the player keeps running until you press it again. That way, you won’t have to hold down the “run” key all the time.

At first I thought this was an amazing response to the Wii Fit. But that’s just the beginning. Imagine the possibilities beyond gaming. Office workers everywhere would surely pay $79.95 for a keyboard with cruise control.

Marketers could use the key to automatically churn out press releases (run, jump, crouch, fire … ) and students could use it for essays. Teachers could hit the button to randomly grade papers, lawyers could use it for standard-issue briefs and reporters could use it to fill space in their blogs.

This could be bigger than the snooze button.

Steering the Wii

Logitech today is announcing a cool new racing wheel for the Wii, but so far there’s only one game lined up to work with the $100 gadget going on sale in November.

This isn’t just a tiny wheel that you attach to the Wiimote, such as the one that Nintendo developed for “Mario Kart Wii.”

Logitech’s Speed Force Wireless Wheel is an entirely new controller for the Wii that’s licensed by Nintendo. It works wirelessly, using a transmitter that plugs into the console and stows in the wheel when not in use.

It also looks nearly identical to a PlayStation 3 wheel that Logitech announced in July, but it’s white instead of black like the PS3 model.

So far the Wii wheel will work only with “Need for Speed Undercover,” a game being developed by Electronic Arts’ Black Box, based in Vancouver, B.C., that’s also being released in November.

The wheel won’t work with “Mario Kart,” for instance, and it’s up to game developers to decide whether their future titles use the controller.

This material has been edited for print publication.

Brier Dudley’s blog appears Thursdays. Reach him at 206-515-5687 or bdudley@seattletimes.com.