You Are Not Your Achievements

The New York Times is running a series called “Age of Riches.” Today’s installment looks at a weird strain of Silicon Valley youth culture.

Max Levchin, who is now 32, is typical of a new generation of junior titans in Silicon Valley who might be called the prematurely rich — techies worth tens of millions of dollars, sometimes more, at an age when many others are just starting to figure out what to do with their lives.

The article reveals that Levchin is worth $100 million dollars, that he works 15 to 18 hours a day and has yet to unpack his boxes in his new San Francisco home. We also learn that the worst year of his life was not during his childhood in Ukraine, rather it was the year he spent soul searching after the sale of Pay Pal. Such is the reality of a serial entrepreneur driven to prove himself over and over again.
Levchin wants to sell his new company, Slide, for more than the $1.54 billion eBay paid for Pay Pal. Otherwise he feels he will have “learned nothing.” Which is an odd comment to make. For he might learn much more by failing to sell it at all.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Some of us don’t achieve as much as others. Some peoples careers only get as far as the mid-West. Some never do great work for great clients. Some never win awards. Some have families. Some have kids. Some are good parents. Some are not. You are your achievements. That’s all we have. Some just don’t achieve as much as others.

  2. mypencilsarentme says:

    King, I realize that one day you may grow up and realize the ignorance contained in your poorly veiled passive-agressive comment. On that day, I forgive you.
    For now, you’re a douche.
    Here’s hoping the awards and achievements you imply you’re so in love with can somehow love you back.
    (Though something tells me you don’t really have any awards yet, because most of the folks who do are the first to tell you that, yeah, awards are cool and all, but they’re not what it’s all about.)
    So if it’s true you don’t have any award yet, here’s one:
    You’re the Douche of the Year.

  3. Carl LaFong says:

    Wow, mypencilsarentme.
    See, I didn’t read King’s post that way at all.
    I thought what he (or she) was saying was that being a good parent is as much of an accomplishment as doing great work or winning awards and that it all depends on what your priorities in life are. Although now that I re-read it, I’m not so sure.
    I do like the idea of Douche of the Year, though.
    Finally, an award even I could win.

  4. David… Wow… What a fucking wanker. Max should stop thinking about where his next $1.4 fucking BILLION is comming from and fuck off back to the Ukraine where could do some real fucking good in less time than it would take him to unpack his fucking boxes…. Aaaargh, these people are fucking pathetic… Yes, I’m mad as hell, and I need a drink. By the way, having read the piece in the NYT… His girlfriend is even crazier than he is… Unless she’s got all his money in a numbered bank account somewhere and he wakes up one day and she’s fucked off with everything!!! Oh, wouldn’t that be great???

  5. George Parker, not content with making a dick of himself on his blog, continued to spread himself across the web.
    It’s ok to be envious, as long as you recognize it for what it is. Don’t pretend you’re a bigger human being than this guy. He’s just smarter than you.

  6. xntc, WTF?. First of all, I have a feeling George Parker is worth a lot more than he ever lets on (he worked at several BDA’s for many years, and they always over-pay).
    Second, the kid this post references may have tons of money, but for God’s sake, he’s still working 18 hours a day?
    What an idiot.
    What a great existence. “I’m rich, I’m gonna make a billion more soon, I have no life.”
    How is that smart?
    I’ll take my girlfriend, my beers at Pete’s Pub, and my Regina’s pizza over that any day.