I would take a leisurely stroll back to… early 2004 and move to California. If you haven’t picked up on it already, that’s the time that Facebook first launched their website and moved to California. In the news surrounding Facebook’s IPO, there is a story of artist David Choe, who back in 2005 painted several murals at Facebook’s headquarters. His payment did not come in cash, but a 2% stake in the company. Given the amount raised for Facebook’s IPO, his share is worth upwards of $200 million.

David Choe doin' work

I don’t know if it’s cheating given the assignments guidelines, but I would go back to this time and place with the unforeseen knowledge of Facebook’s future value and offer services. Assuming my age stayed the same, I would pledge free labor for any stake in the company. Maybe I would be a secretary. Maybe a coffee or lunch fetcher. I could possibly scrub rugs or stock paper in printers. Surely my lack of technological knowledge would restrict me from any high percentage stakes in the company, but a 1-2% would surely be worth it. Life would be rough for a few years but hopefully once the outside financing came in I could live off of office supplied coffee, donuts and sandwiches. My car could serve as my bed. Given the dedication, commitment, and belief I had in the company by taking only company stock, my story and payoff would be even bigger than Choe’s.

Check out the video on the link. He’s a pretty interesting dude and his take on the choice to receive stock and how it’s affecting his life right now are unique and not quite what you would expect.

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10 responses »

  1. Jim says:

    You were definitely right that his take on his new found wealth was not what I would expect. I also have to doubt how seriously his privacy is being invaded compared to people we generally consider celebrities. It seems that if he really wanted to buy his privacy back, he could move to another city. He certainly has the resources to bring his whole family if that was holding him back. This is a fairly unique case, as he seems to be the type of person who enjoys playing the reject or rebel and in that way I guess his reaction shouldn’t be as surprising.

    • I agree that in retrospect it may not be that unique for a graffiti artist to enjoy playing the rebel by making those comments. I think packing up and moving to a remote part of the world though might take away from his rebel ways if he is shooting it straight. If he is as rebellious as he claims (which after a stint in jail and being nomadic, etc, is not hard to believe) he would need to live in a place where the opportunity to rebel presents itself. I think the story would be bigger if he wanted it to be as he said Barbara Walters was the first person he would let do a live interview. On the other hand, if I was going to select somebody to do my first interview after denying others, I would take a bigger name than her.

  2. idalbello says:

    Definitely the dedication would have paid off know the information that you know now. But I’m curious on why Choe chose the stock options over original payment. He is quoted saying that he viewed Facebook’s business model as “ridiculous and pointless.” He also was already a famed artist and had done some pretty big works that probably made him well off. I wonder if it is common for him to do this for multiple businesses and he was just hoping the one made it big. It would be interesting to see out of all the businesses he painted for which actually returned a decent payout. Lucky for him that it only takes one to become a millionaire.

    • It is a bit unreasonable to understand why he would choose a stock option rather than the $60k offered, but he claims he is a gambler. Maybe he did some due diligence and saw the funding coming into the company and saw some potential. He seems to be a pretty irrational guy, which also seems to be rooted in his artwork. If this is true, I wonder how and if he will squander this fortune away. I wonder if he has done this for other companies. He must be pretty well off already as he seems to have done some pretty prominent work (Jay-Z, Linkin Park album cover arts, artwork of Obama that is hanging in the White House from a grassroots campain”.

    • Jordi says:

      Other businesses? In the clip he looks like a graffiti artist, so I doubt he did Exxon Mobil’s headquarters.

  3. brookeparker16 says:

    Carson, although I love the originality of your post, I can’t believe that is you could go or do anything in the world you would go back just to make money!! I actually did see this article on Yahoo! the other month and the story is pretty incredible.

    • Good Point – There’s a little more too it and after losing my passport/wallet on the way out of the domincan and the ensuing 24 hour adventure to make it home, my creatitivy may have been limited to domestic time travel. I promise I’m not not that shallow – I also wanted to shed some light on the story since it’s a pretty unusual fortune for an unusual guy.

  4. Mike M says:

    I like this idea because I think it would be fascinating not only to be able to make money in this way, but also to have been involved in the early development of Facebook. Since Facebook is such a popular website today, it would be interesting to have been involved in the development of it and to know the people involved in starting it.

  5. Jordi says:

    Why do you sell yourself short? I am sure start-ups need all types. You said same age. So, you are 21 in San Fran… lots of opportunities. The point is you are smart and ambitious. Make something happen. What i take away is that there is NO WAY Choe or even Zuckerberg and Parker “knew” it would be as successful and profitable. What choices do you make then? How do you live your life open to possibility so that you will be in the right place at the right time.

  6. […] Greediest post goes to Carson for Back to ’04 […]

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