The Profile: The First Bitcoin Criminal & The Unlikely Power Couple
Just when you thought the Fyre Festival was over…surprise!
Billy McFarland, the 25-year-old behind the disastrous festival that imploded and left people stranded in the Bahamas with these sad cheese sandwiches, has been arrested BY THE FBI. McFarland has been charged with wire fraud for allegedly presenting fake documents to get investors to pour over a million dollars in his company. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison. We’ve reached peak millennial. [For more, here’s the jaw-dropping story.]
Meanwhile, his co-founder, Ja Rule is nowhere to be found. Of course.
On the bright side, there were some f***ing awesome profiles on the Internet this week:
PEOPLE TO KNOW.
The unlikely power couple: After dating guys like Drake & Common, Serena Williams is very much in love with Alexis Ohanian, Reddit’s nerdy co-founder. You did NOT see that coming, and neither did she. But love is blind, y’all. At first, Serena considered Alexis an “irritant” who wouldn’t go away. But in a whirlwind romance, he managed to win her over with his tech bro charm. This isn’t some bullshit love fairy tale, this is real life (wellllll, minus the weekend trips to Paris & surprise proposals in Rome.)
“I felt like a door had been opened to a person who made me want to be my best self. . . . I find myself just wanting to be better by simply being around her because of the standard she holds.” [‘Serena Williams’s Love Match,’ Vanity Fair]
The first Bitcoin criminal: Charlie Shrem wears a pinky ring embossed with the Bitcoin symbol (lol swipe left). Shrem was the first Bitcoin millionaire to land behind bars. After helping a customer get coins to resell on Silk Road (a marketplace where Bitcoin was used to buy drugs), he spent a year in prison. Now, Shrem and his pinky ring are back with a new mission — to build the blockchain (aka what many believe is the future of the Internet).
“A lot of people say that I took the first shot for Bitcoin. The first person to walk through the door always gets shot, and then everyone else can come through.” [‘Can Bitcoin’s First Felon Help Make Cryptocurrency a Trillion-Dollar Market?’ Fortune]
The player who didn’t have all the answers: Until I read this, the only thing I knew about Allen Iverson was that he had these bulky shoes called The Questions. (And I know someone who wears them all. the. damn. time. See here, here, here, & here.) You’ll learn Iverson’s weakest moment wasn’t on the basketball court — it was in the courtroom. The guy had mastered his crossovers or cuts or whatever they’re called, but he was constantly fighting with his closest teammate — his wife. When she filed for divorce, he cracked.
“The one thing that caught my attention was looking at that piece of paper and seeing Iverson vs. Iverson. You look across that courtroom and see the person you love more than life itself, and you get the picture.” [‘How Allen Iverson finally found his way home,’ Sports Illustrated]
COMPANIES TO WATCH.
Silicon Valley’s best growth team: Facebook just reached 2. BILLION. USERS. You learn that its astronomical growth was fueled by something v. simple: empathy. And not in the cliché, “we really care about people so we’re gonna write a Medium post about it” way. Here’s an example: When FB’s growth team thought about its users, they didn’t think of the bro with the iPhone 7S+ 4G/LTE/BS. They thought of the farmer in rural India trying to access the Internet in a really bad network. To solve his problem, it came out with its stripped-down Facebook Lite app. And it turned out that solved the problems of hundreds of millions of other users too. Empathy.
“In the Valley, there is this myth that you optimize for metrics or users, and as the head of analytics for Facebook, arguably the biggest big data company in the world, I think that is fundamentally flawed. At its heart, data gives you empathy.” [‘How Facebook Used Science And Empathy To Reach Two Billion Users,’ Fast Company]
The mobile pioneer that disrupted itself to survive: When I say “Nokia,” you think “T9” and that fantastic snake game, amiright? And then you fell in love with an iPhone and never looked back. While you were doing that, Nokia missed the smartphone/selfie revolution, lost billions, & sold off its phone business. And yet somehow, it’s not dead! It’s now trying to work like 11 steps ahead by developing tech that (it hopes) will power self-driving cars & telemedicine. No plans, however, to revive the snake game.
‘The company’s bet on 5G is its biggest one since it got out of the phone business. If it fails, it will need to radically reinvent itself once again.’ [‘They Built the First Phone You Loved. Where in the World Is Nokia Now?’ Bloomberg]
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