Meet the Man Who Sold His Fate to Investors at $1 a Share

On January 26, 2008, a 30-year-old part-time entrepreneur named Mike Merrill decided to sell himself on the open market. He divided himself into 100,000 shares and set an initial public offering price of $1 a share. Each share would earn a potential return on profits he made outside of his day job as a customer service rep at a small Portland, Oregon, software company. Over the next 10 days, 12 of his friends and acquaintances bought 929 shares, and Merrill ended up with a handful of extra cash. He kept the remaining 99.1 percent of himself but promised that his shares would be nonvoting: He’d let his new stockholders decide what he should do with his life.

John McAfee's Last Stand

On November 12, 2012, Belizean police announced that they were seeking John McAfee for questioning in connection with the murder of his neighbor. Six months earlier, I began an in-depth investigation into McAfee’s life. This is the chronicle of that investigation.

The Stalking of Korean Hip Hop Superstar Daniel Lee

By that summer, Lee’s alleged fraud had become one of Korea’s top news items. Death threats streamed in, and Lee found himself accosted by angry people on the street. Since his face was so recognizable, he became a virtual prisoner in his Seoul apartment. In a matter of weeks, he went from being one of the most beloved figures in the country to one of the most reviled. But in fact Lee had not lied about his academic record. He actually did graduate from Stanford in three and a half years with two degrees. His GPA had been in the top 15 percent of his undergraduate class. The evidence marshaled against him was false. It was an online witch hunt, and last spring I set out to discover why it happened.

See also: The Persecution of Daniel Lee

The New Diamond Age

Recent decades have seen some modest successes. Starting in the 1950s, engineers managed to produce tiny crystals for industrial purposes - to coat saws, drill bits, and grinding wheels. But this summer, the first wave of gem-quality manufactured diamonds began to hit the market. They are grown in a warehouse in Florida by a roomful of Russian-designed machines spitting out 3-carat roughs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A second company, in Boston, has perfected a completely different process for making near-flawless diamonds and plans to begin marketing them by year’s end. This sudden arrival of mass-produced gems threatens to alter the public’s perception of diamonds - and to transform the $7 billion industry. More intriguing, it opens the door to the development of diamond-based semiconductors.

How Elon Musk Turned Tesla Into the Car Company of the Future

After making roughly $180 million as a cofounder of PayPal, he helped get Tesla off the ground in 2004 with an initial investment of $6.3 million. The startup’s audacious business plan had three steps. First, develop a high-end, high-performance sports car to prove that electric vehicles were both cool and feasible. Second, roll out a luxury sedan that would compete with high-end brands like BMW and Mercedes. Third, produce hundreds of thousands of low-cost electric vehicles for the masses.

Pissing Match: Is the World Ready for the Waterless Urinal?

Krug is an unusual entrepreneur. Twenty years ago, he was a rising star in the film and television business. He served as a vice president of the Disney Channel in the 1980s and ran a distribution company with members of the Disney family in the ’90s. But 11 years ago, Krug became convinced that the world did not need another TV show. What it needed was a better urinal.

The Race to Save the Cougar Ace

Ship captains spend their careers trying to avoid a collision or grounding like this. But for Habib, nearly every month brings a welcome disaster. While people are shouting “Abandon ship!” Habib is scrambling aboard. … [H]e’s the senior salvage master — the guy who runs the show at sea — for Titan Salvage, a highly specialized outfit of men who race around the world saving ships.

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