8 Jun 2015

Artist who painted Facebook's first office and asked for stock instead of cash is now worth $200m


Facebook was nothing in 2005. They offered a broke artist $60k to paint the office. The broke artist hated social media and thought Facebook was a joke. Sean Parker, Facebook’s co-founder, was so influential that the broke artist took stock instead of cash. That stock is now worth $200m.
Sean Parker is a ridiculous man. By the time he was 30 he founded Napster, co-founded Facebook, and discovered and funded Spotify. Yeah… holy shit.
So what makes separates a leader like Sean Parker from the rest of us mere mortals?
Well, many things, but this post is about his ability to influence others.
In a Howard Stern interview with David Choe, a graffiti artist who accepted payment for his commission in Facebook equity rather than cash payment, gives a firsthand account of Parker’s influential capabilities.
The transcript from the interview is below is from 2014, but the actual story dates back to 2005. Facebook was a joke. Sean Parker had just been sued for a trillion dollars. And David Choe was a broke artist who recently released from prison and hated the idea of a social network startup.
Yet he still believed in Sean.
Watch the video up top, but if you prefer a transcript, here it is:
David Choe:
And I was… and then, and then, just one day he’s like, “Ah! Fuck!” Like, this is 2003. He’s like, “Fuck, I can’t get the painting.” I’m like, “What do you mean?” He’s like, “My company’s being sued for a trillion dollars right now.” And I was like, “What company is that?” He goes, “It’s Napster.” And I’m like, “Oh shit! Like, that’s like the company that… you guys do all…” He’s like, “Yeah.” And he was like 23 or 24 at the time and he goes, “You and me, like…” He’s like, “You’re the fucking best artist ever. Like, I love your shit. I need to get a painting from you one day. Just wait for this bullshit to blow over and I’ll get one from you next time.”
Howard Stern:
Good. Cool.
David Choe:
So, then he started another company called Plaxo which like I guess, got big for a while, but he didn’t make any money off that either. And then in 2005, he’s like, “Okay, now there’s another company that I’m working on called Facebook and I think we’re going to get some money this time. So, I’m definitely going to get a painting from you this time.”
Howard Stern:
Cool.
David Choe:
I said, “Awesome!”
Howard Stern:
Right.
David Choe:
Just got out of prison, I was feeling good. I was like… So, I go up to Palo Alto where I met… you know, you guys saw the Facebook movie?
Robin:
Yeah.
Howard Stern:
Sure.
David Choe:
So, I was around during that whole time. It’s like the most inaccurate, like, sensationalized movie ever. Like, those guys are all like cool, like the fucking raddest, coolest guys ever…
Howard Stern:
… you’re sitting there going, “Hey, you know, who knows what this company is?” I mean, no one knew what Facebook was.
David Choe:
Yeah. So… and I wasn’t on Friendster or MySpace or any of those things. I hate that shit. So, I was like, what is… can you… what is this? And he’s like, “This is a start-up company. We’re just getting started and it’s social networking for college students.” And I was like, “What?”
Howard Stern:
Asshole!
David Choe:
I fucking hate education, I hate college, I hate like…
Howard Stern:
College students.
Robin:
You hate social networking.
David Choe:
Yeah, I dropped out of school. I hate everything about school…
Howard Stern:
Right.
David Choe:
… and he’s like, “No man. It’s like getting huge at all these, Harvard and Stanford.” And I was like, “I don’t care. I don’t give a fuck.” And like people don’t remember like…
Howard Stern:
Which is weird, by the way, because you ended up taking the stock and you didn’t even believe in the company. I’m surprised you didn’t grab the… what did they offer you? A 1000 bucks or stock?
David Choe:
No, no. Everyone wants to make it, like, it was $60,000.
Howard Stern:
Oh, it was 60 grand they offered you?
David Choe:
Yeah. Which is, which, you know…
Howard Stern:
A lot of money.
David Choe:
… yeah, 2005, was, it was, was a lot of money. I was… it’s always going to be a lot of money.
Howard Stern:
Still a lot of money.
David Choe:
Still a lot of money and people don’t remember. Like, Facebook was a joke.
Howard Stern:
No, I know. So, back then…
David Choe:
Right.
Howard Stern:
… the guy says to you, “We’ll pay…” Did you say to him, “My price is $60,000 to paint this wall?”
David Choe:
My prices had been going higher and higher and I was like, “Yeah. I mean, if you want me to paint the entire building, it’s going to be 60, you know, 60 grand and…”
Howard Stern:
Right.
David Choe:
And Sean’s fucked like, you know, they got Justin Timberlake and shit to play him and whatev… The guy is… I’ve never met someone like this before. Like he’s a skinny, nerdy kid and he’s like, “I’m going to go raise money for Facebook and…” And he’s just like, “I’m going to bend these fuckers’ minds.” And I’m like…
Note: these “fuckers” are Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal, Palantir, and one of the most powerful men in America and Reid Hoffman, the billionaire founder of LinkedIn.
Howard Stern:
Hey man, dude, pretty big plans for a nerd.
David Choe:
I’m like, “How are you going to do that?” And he transformed himself into an alpha male.
Howard Stern:
Right.
David Choe:
I’m like, “What do you mean?” He’s like… he got a fucking super sharp haircut, started working out every day, got tan, got like a nice suit. I’m like, this guy’s like crazy. And then he goes into these meetings and…
Howard Stern:
So, did you think that this guy could ever pull off even paying you 60 grand? Were you worried that like…?
David Choe:
No, no. He got the money. I was there when he got the money from the PayPal dude.
Howard Stern:
Right, okay.
David Choe:
He’s like, “We got money now. You want cash or you want stock?” And I was like, “Oh fuck! I definitely, like, need 60 grand right now.” And…
Howard Stern:
Right, you just got out of jail.
David Choe:
But, it didn’t matter that I didn’t give a shit about Facebook or didn’t know what it was or, you know, any of that stuff. Like, you had to have like a college email to get on there and stuff.
Howard Stern:
Right.
David Choe:
I was like, I don’t… whatever…
Howard Stern:
Yeah, most people would have said look, you know the odds of anybody really taking off with an Internet company. Most of these companies come and go all the time, especially back then. So, you must have been half out of your mind to turn down the $60,000.
David Choe:
Right, but I like to gamble, you know, like and…
Howard Stern:
You are a gambler.
David Choe:
I believed in Sean. I didn’t care about Face-… I’m like this kid, like, knows something and I’m going to bet my money on him.
Howard Stern:
Did you get to know him as you started the painting? So, you said, “Hey, let me make a decision whether I want 60 grand or the stock?”
David Choe:
No, I don’t, I don’t, like I just did…
Howard Stern:
You sized him up and said, “This fucker is going somewhere.”
For the entire transcript, click here

1 comment:

  1. If this guy has any gray matter left, he'd better cash in an get an asset that will be worth something next year

    ReplyDelete