You Are Not Your Achievements

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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

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.