In fact, if they are truly free to be creative, yet have some constraints in terms of time and money, its likely to work better.
Try reading your post with s/lifestyle business/startup/g;... it's the same point. More specific language isn't a bad thing.
In my opinion, "lifestyle business" implies that the business is done to generate cash in a regular manner with little input. The business itself doesn't matter so much in the end and the main goal is to sustain the revenues rather than necessarily expanding the business. This is exactly what "The 4-hour Work Week" is talking about. Real-estate investments can be like this as well.
On the other hand, you have bootstrapped businesses like 37signals, GitHub or plain web/design agencies which tend to be wrongly lumped into this category. If these were lifestyle businesses, then any store owner, plumber, contractor would have a lifestyle business as well.
On an unrelated note, it seems very premature to put Path.com in the same category as Twitter and Facebook.
(and I'm not the OP. ;) )
Let me suggest a viable alternative, that would actually solve your problem: be more selective about the kind of infosources you're letting yourself influenced by, OR be more cognant about the fact, that you're letting yourself influenced by writings of underpaid philosophy-grads. More generally: ask the question "how do I know what I think I know" a bit more often. Or just take the red pill, and dig into techcrunch archives, say, 3 years back, and compare with reality. All of these can work wonders for your perception.
If you're awesome and into bioinformatics, and are in austin, the bay area, or the pacific northwest, ping me. I'm not in the same league as the folks in the article, but this is more or less my approach right now, and I know another couple people in similar situations.
Capturing created value outside of the research arm of a big pharma company is of course a key challenge in bioinformatics, and I'd love to meet or chat with you if you're thinking about this too.
In the missionary vs mercenary divide that John Doerr uses to segment startups, I'm now a missionary. The end goal is to cure disease.
: http://paulgraham.com/notnot.html; http://paulgraham.com/boss.html; http://paulgraham.com/articles.html
However, the biggest part of capturing value is the regulatory burden.
In other words, lets say you have a great way to discover biomarkers. Even more so, you go ahead and DO discover a pile of biomarkers with great potential.
Then you attemp to sell those biomarkers to big pharma, and that is when you find out:
Even with all their beurocracy and horrible return on R&D investments, big pharma is sitting on a huge pile of biomarkers.
Pushing any one tratment through the pipeline costs a metric tonne of cash and takes 10 year before you even know if it's worth to keep going.
That is why there's a huge backlog of potential drugs, biomarkers, treatments, etc.
Thus merely finding new things with potential is only slighlty better then nothing.
Of course, you generally have to have a Ph.D. and prodigious output of papers to get the job.
It doesn't sound very gentlemanly to me to be rich enough that you've decided to open a business just to screw around (hence force referred to as "the club house") but to target employees that are young and dumb (tm) enough to accept little to no compensation while you drive your SL class into the office every day. If you can afford to pay a baseline wage but seek not to it's just a type of exploitation.
Maybe this could be the official emblem of this new breed.
Sorry for the off topic, but I had to get that off my chest. :)
I'd also love to fund research that misses out because it can't be monetized easily.