Ep 7: The Hippie With A Billion Dollars

Shaan Puri: All right, I’m recording this. I just finished my conversation with Michael Birch. For those of you who don’t know, Michael is a internet entrepreneur. He built a social network back in the day; he competed head to head against Facebook. And Although Facebook won the war, Michael didn’t end up too bad. That company, Bebo, if you’ve ever heard that before, sold for $850,000,000 to AOL. And when I met Michael, we got back together and we bought it back for $1,000,000 years later, and then we actually sold that again just now to Amazon.

Shaan Puri: So I’ve had an interesting history. I’ve worked with Michael for six years. He was my boss, then he gave me his job to run the company. He’s my investor, he’s my friend, he’s a mentor, I’ve learned a lot from him, from building companies to investing. He’s invested in 75+ companies, things like Pinterest, he was one of the first investors. Calm, the meditation app, he was an investor when nobody believed in Calm. And he’s done all kinds of crazy things; he’s built hotels, he’s bought a private island off of Richard Branson, he gives tons of money to different charities, like Charity: Water, that he supports.

Shaan Puri: He’s a very, very humble guy. You guys are going to hear that, and you’re going to hear the humble beginnings, when he quit his job as a programmer at an insurance company, and made the leap of faith to build his own company. He wanted to work for himself. He wasn’t planning to become a billionaire. Yeah, that was a great outcome. He really just wanted to work for himself, and not have a job. He wanted to work on things he was interested in.