Sure, it’s great being a billionaire. You can eat, drink, and smoke whatever you want. You can throw lavish parties and grow your car collection. You can have whatever you want, and if the thing you want doesn’t exist, you can always pay someone to invent it. Being a billionaire does have its perks, no doubt.
However, being a billionaire is…odd, to say the least, and the road to obtaining and maintaining the billionaire status is anything but normal (no matter how you experienced money growing up). Decisions need to be made—tough decisions that can make or break your three-comma status. Your personal life clashes with your professional life, and suddenly, everything a new billionaire says (or said) is on the record, made public, and scrutinized in every way possible.
Evan Spiegel, co-founder of Snapchat (now Snap Inc.), is not immune to this phenomenon. While his rise to billionaire-dom isn’t as enthralling as the “living in my car while writing code at the local library, then suddenly became an overnight billionaire” narrative we all like to see, his personality, his past, and his lifestyle are leaking out of the web cracks little by little, and we get to sit back and watch his secrets as they surface. Check out these 15 billionaire secrets Evan doesn’t want you to know.
15. He’s Worth His Weight in Gold
Just kidding… he’s actually worth over ten times his weight in gold and currently valued at a whopping $4.5 BILLION. That’s quite an impressive number for a 26-year-old. As a matter of fact, Spiegel recently became the youngest CEO of a publicly traded company when Snap Inc. went public in March of this year. However, that’s not even the best part; with around 150 million users on Snapchat daily, his net worth is only climbing. Though he’s not yet a viable competitor for Mark Zuckerberg (worth approximately $59.4 billion), his business savvy and best-of-the-best team are putting him on that track!
14. Billionaire Stats
As far as billionaires go, Spiegel has some pretty remarkable rankings. According to Forbes.com, Evan Spiegel is #151 of United States billionaires (#441 globally), and he is ranked at #335 in the Forbes 400. When it comes to the richest in the field of technology, Spiegel is at an impressive #99. The most impressive rank he currently holds, however, is the #10 slot in the category of America’s Richest Entrepreneurs Under 40 (not too shabby when you consider he still has 14 years to hit #1 in that category, though he’ll probably hit it well before those 14 years are up).
13. There Were Three Original Founders of Snapchat
While anyone who has done about five seconds of research might know about Evan Spiegel (CEO) and Bobby Murphy (CTO) co-founding the company, there was a third founder that, in 2014, claimed that Snapchat was his idea. While this happens quite a bit in the tech world, the third founder, Reggie Brown, actually had a case against his former fraternity brothers. He brought the idea (originally called Picaboo) to Murphy and Spiegel and they eventually gave him the boot as the company began to grow. The case was settled discretely in court, and Brown was given over $150 million based on the company’s valuation at the time of the lawsuit. The terms of the lawsuit are very hush-hush, but it is clear Brown doesn’t discuss the matter with anyone. Spiegel was happy to put the whole thing behind him and his company.
12. He Turned Down $3 Billion From Facebook
In 2013, Facebook offered to buy Snapchat for 3 billion dollars. The funny thing is, at the time of the offer, Snapchat wasn’t bringing in any money whatsoever. Yet, Spiegel still turned down the direct admission to The Three-Comma Club, and it brought quite a bit of attention to him and Snapchat. I mean, who turns down a ten-figure lump sum payday? Evan Spiegel, that’s who. Spiegel reportedly was more interested in the creation of the technology and the business rather than getting a huge paycheck. There were many in the tech world who considered him a fool. However, based on his current net worth and the prospects for his future, he clearly made the right decision.
11. He Was a Super Douche
Here’s where The Three-Comma Club starts to turn on its members. It’s not uncommon for the masses to scrutinize the lifestyles of the rich and famous, and what better way to do that than to check out what the rich did before they were rich (or richer, in Spiegel’s case). In 2014, emails were leaked from Spiegel’s frat days. In these emails, Spiegel sends praise for killer ragers, lists of Jell-O shot necessities, and invitations to theme parties. All of this is pretty standard for the fraternity world, until… Spiegel sent emails containing homophobic language, visuals degrading females, and descriptions about urinating on women—all summed up with the hope that his brothers all get their sexual thrills by at least 6 women the night before. Classy.
10. He’s Still Kinda Douchey?
Since the email leak, Spiegel has apologized for his actions when he was younger (though, not much younger, but still). Clearly, it is embarrassing to have that side of your personality show after you’ve hit the spotlight for turning down a $3 billion payday. But reports in the tech world still say that Spiegel has a douchey personality. This is a perception issue, really; because he is still so young and new to the whole entrepreneur thing, the jury is still out on what kind person and businessman Spiegel will become. Perhaps those reports of his douchiness are based on some residual douchery from his younger years (three years ago). We will just have to wait and see.
9. He’s Not Bothered By Copycats
After turning down the massive lump sum from Facebook, Spiegel knew that companies would try to mimic the technology Snap Inc. created. It’s not uncommon in the tech world for companies to look at what’s working and try to make it work for them. So, when faced with questions about what he thinks about Facebook trying to bring in the elements of Snapchat, Spiegel replied: “Just because Yahoo! has a search box doesn’t mean they’re Google.”
As Yahoo! gently applies aloe to that burn, let’s reflect on the fact that Yahoo! is actually an investor of Snap Inc. (we can chalk this one up to residual douchiness). In the end, Spiegel’s cockiness is well-founded, as no company has yet to get to Snapchat’s level when it comes to the technology.
8. He’s All About Security
With the technology of Snapchat being so coveted, it’s no wonder that security is a top priority for the CEO. I mean the tech industry is flooded with corporate espionage, disgruntled ex-employees, and billionaire stalkers (and let’s not forget those email leaks). So, it should come as no surprise that Evan Spiegel spent nearly a million dollars on security alone in 2016. That makes Twitter CEOs’ Jack Dorsey and Dick Costolo’s security costs of $111,930 look like chump change. It’s clear that Spiegel likes his privacy… I mean, he did create an app that allows people to do or say what they want and have it disappear within 24 hours.
7. He’s Kinda Creeped Out by Technology
Yup, this tech king is creeped out by technology. As a matter of fact, that is the reason he knew Snapchat was such a phenomenal idea. It takes away the horrifying fact that what you say is burned into the archives of the internet FOREVER, and we all know that no one knows more about the ghosts of email’s past than Evan Spiegel.
He’s also uncomfortable with the fact that you can research something on one website, and suddenly images of that search show up on a different website you’re looking at. We can all agree that the first time we saw re-marketing tools, we were a bit unnerved. Spiegel outwardly speaks against this type of marketing frequently.
6. Haters Gonna Hate
One major secret that is not so secret is the fact that most billionaires have plenty of haters. It’s difficult to do research on Evan Spiegel without running into headlines calling him out for crappy things he’s said, sound bites from his interviews, and his overall ugly personality. The onslaught of op-ed pieces about Spiegel’s presence and personality can be overwhelming, and points to an all-around unlikeable guy, yet he’s attracting smart and innovative people to join his team. So, the question remains: is he truly unlikeable, or are his haters just that good at running a smear campaign against him?
5. He’s Getting Attention from All the Right People
Despite the haters that Evan Spiegel faces on a daily basis, he is getting attention from all the right people. Among them, Michael Lynton, formerly the CEO of Sony Entertainment, who turned his attention to Spiegel and Snap Inc. when his children were clearly spending obscene amounts of time on the app. Shortly after meeting Spiegel, Lynton left Sony Entertainment to work full-time as a chairman of Snap Inc.
Lynton said, “Evan, in my mind, is just an extraordinary individual, and you could see from the get-go that he wanted to be the CEO of a very successful company and he was determined to make sure that company was public.”
Well, Evan did get what he wanted, and though he is getting quite a bit of negative attention for his personality, he is also getting the attention of some majorly successful people who want to be a part of his team.
4. He’s a Social Butterfly
Despite his distaste for the negative attention, Spiegel is socially tuned in. His party lifestyle began when he threw huge high school parties. This evolved into throwing huge college parties at Stanford, where he was the social chair of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, and though he’s embarrassed by the leaking of the emails he sent during that time in his life, he has not slowed down.
Now that he has reached billionaire status, Spiegel’s party lifestyle has only continued and gotten bigger and better. He’s known to throw lavish parties and date celebrities including Taylor Swift. He’s even currently engaged to the model, Miranda Kerr.
3. He Doesn’t Have a Rags to Riches Story
Though we all love a great rags-to-riches story, especially in the entrepreneur and tech sectors, Evan Spiegel doesn’t have one to share. He’s the son of two well-off lawyers, and grew up in the Pacific Palisades, a high-end neighborhood in Los Angeles. Sure, he stayed with his parents while he was creating Snapchat, but he didn’t really have to. However, growing up in an affluent community didn’t slow Spiegel’s drive to create and run a huge and successful company. It actually seemed to heighten that drive. Let’s face it, it can’t be easy to turn down a $3 billion check from the largest social media company in the world just because you believe in your product.
2. It’s Hard to Keep Secrets
Okay, emails were leaked from his days as a frat boy, but those weren’t the only emails written by Evan that was leaked. When Sony’s emails were hacked in 2014, the correspondence between Michael Lynton (Sony CEO turned Snap Chairman) and Snap was released… and they were juicy. These emails discussed Snapchat’s future and what they were currently up to. They even went deep into the dollar amounts Snapchat spent and allocated in order to acquisition startups at the time.
It isn’t easy keeping secrets like this in the first place, but when you’re the CEO of a tech company, it’s even more difficult. People want to know what you’re up to, and they want to know right now (the information game is key and very time-sensitive in the tech world). It’s no wonder Evan spends so much money on security.
1. Staying Ahead of the Game
What is Evan Spiegel most secretive about? Well, as with most tech companies and their CEOs, Evan is super secretive about his company’s next move. With the speed at which technology evolves, it is essential that Evan and his employees don’t give away too much of what’s to come. He has to stay ahead of the game in every single way. First his company has to come up with innovative ideas. Then, they have to realize those ideas before another company does, and finally, they have to market those ideas. All the while, the company has to make sure to keep their secrets.
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