February 2, 2012

Graffiti artist makes $200 million.

David Choe painted some walls at Facebook's offices in 2005 and — given a choice to be paid in dollars or company shares — took the shares.

The walls look pretty awful, by the way, but presumably they inspired the people in that place at that time, and how can you not feel good that Choe made the right choice?

25 comments:

Scott M said...

Another damned 1%'er is made.

Albatross said...

He made his millions after practicing his craft on other people's walls without permission. That wasn't the right choice.

Rusty said...

Now. Albatross you can't prove that. Maybe he's one of the taggers that makes waiting at a train crossing so interesting.

Dead Julius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dead Julius said...

But Choe didn't make the "right choice"!

There is something wrong when a painter is paid $200M for a job, even years after completion. Somebody (or a combination of sombodys) puts up that money.

You could look at it as the same Grandma Millie whom the Enron guys scammed getting scammed again.

The most honorable course of action would be for Choe to accept payment for the job at the normal rate plus interest. By refusing additional funds, he would be making a strong stand for humanity and, in particular, for a sensible economic system. He would be a paragon of modern virtue in a dirty dog-eat-dog world.

If he takes the money, he is just a lottery winner, NOT somebody who deserves admiration.

When this sort of thing is "right", America has lost its way. It's not wrong of course. But there is more to life and existence and humanity than big paydays.

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

He gets a $200 million payday, and the Winklevoss twins probably won't even get a lovely fruit basket out of the deal.

damikesc said...

That is some ugly crap on the wall...reminds me of a normal FB account.

damikesc said...

That is some ugly crap on the wall...reminds me of a normal FB account.

Chip S. said...

Dead Julius probably also thinks that Jack owes the guy who bought his cow for those magic beans.

Saint Croix said...

There is something wrong when a painter is paid $200M for a job, even years after completion. Somebody (or a combination of sombodys) puts up that money.

I do this with every film I have made so far. I pay my people nothing. Instead they get a percentage of the movie. If I get money, they get money. If I get nothing, they get nothing. It's called venture capital.

Choe, in essence, invested the dollars he would have gotten in a start-up enterprise. Facebook is a huge success. He's not being paid for his work so much as he's being paid for his investment.

The most honorable course of action would be for Choe to accept payment for the job at the normal rate plus interest. By refusing additional funds, he would be making a strong stand for humanity and, in particular, for a sensible economic system. He would be a paragon of modern virtue in a dirty dog-eat-dog world.

Money gives you freedom and choices. He can give his new wealth to any charity of his choosing. You think it would be "a strong stand for humanity" for him to donate his money back to facebook?

You could look at it as the same Grandma Millie whom the Enron guys scammed getting scammed again.

Lots of secretaries became millionaires at Dell because they took shares of stock instead of a bigger paycheck. It might be dangerous to be so fully invested in one company (as what happened to many Enron employees), but it's not a scam, unless the business itself is a scam.

EMD said...

Good for him.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... When this sort of thing is "right", America has lost its way.."

LOL!

Michael said...

Well, there's another $200M that is taken from the mouths of the poor and starving who litter the bleak American landscape. American with a k, of course.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

I am going to seek out graffiti work at law firms specializing in suing the Secretary of HHS.

I'll do it for health insurance coverage, the stock options of the future.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Julius is one of those who just don't know how ownership in the shares of a company work.

edutcher said...

Some grafittists are pretty good draftsmen, but, yeah, his stuff is pretty weird.

cassandra lite said...

A graffiti artist firmly in the 1 percent. Cue Yakov Smirnoff: What a country!

BarrySanders20 said...

I'm no fan of modern art or graffiti, but I think the paintings are really pretty good.

Certainly better than the Cristo farce. But that's art for you -- to each his own.

By the way, I think Julius' "right choice" was satire. He used scare quotes, after all.

William said...

There's a fairy tale quality to this story. The artist does not seek immediate, material reward. Instead he values belief in his friend's vision more than a quick buck and, for kissing this particular frog, is rewarded with great wealth.......I saw an interview with Willam Shatner recently. He was given PriceLine options instead of cash for the original commercials. In the internet bubble, the Priceline shares puffed up and Shatner became enormously wealthy. Then the internet bubble burst, and his shares were worth a pittance. Shatner, at that point, divorced the frog and sold all his shares at a pittance. Priceline actually had a successful business model, and the shares bounced back. Shatner is left with nothing but the memory of sequential bad decisions and a lost fortune. There's an important lesson to be learned from these stories and, just as soon as I learn it, I too will become fabulously wealthy.

Fred Drinkwater said...

@William:
My story is this: back in the mid-80's I was following DEC stock, then trading around 94. For no apparent good reason it fell to 88, so I pick up some as a short-term bet. About 6 months later I sold it at 106, taking a modest profit. DEC then proceeded to climb to 199. Oh shit, right? However, it then turned around and went down to approximately 0.
From this experience I developed my first maxim of investing: Never complain about taking a profit. I recommend this to investors.

Methadras said...

Good for you kid. You bet and won.

MadisonMan said...

@William, the story is: Don't sell stock that is worthless. You don't get much for it, and the future may change things.

As far as this story goes, I do feel sorry for the guy who painted the AskJeeves offices. What did he get for his stock?

Blue@9 said...

Capitalism For The Win!

There is something wrong when a painter is paid $200M for a job, even years after completion.

Are you Obama's propagandist? Did he make "too much"? Is there such a thing when FB agreed to pay him that?

Somebody (or a combination of sombodys) puts up that money.

Yeah, a private company that's about to go public.

When this sort of thing is "right", America has lost its way.

Bullshit. America loses its way when fools want to dictate what private citizens pay each other for services.

What if he had accepted payment in McDonald's gift certificates? Would you have come down on FB for underpaying him? What if he loved Big Macs more than anything in the world?

FB could have gone tits up and he could have been paid nothing. He took the risk and it paid off. Good for him.

Gene said...

In his book on Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson recounts the time that Jobs hired a middle aged Atari engineer, Ron Wayne, essentially to be the tie-breaker vote in disputes between Jobs and Wozniak.For this service (and to help Jobs convince Wozniak to quit Hewlett Packard so he could work at Apple full time) Wayne got 10% of the Apple stock and the status of a partner.

Unfortunately he'd been burned in a previous attempt to start a business and was deeply gun shy about the prospect of losing money. Because Apple was then structured as a simple partnership he was afraid the company would fail and he'd be obligated for 10% of its debts. So he sold his shares back to Apple for $2300.

At the present, Wayne lives in a small house in Pahrump, Nevada and survives on Social Security. If he'd kept his 10% share of Apple he'd be worth $2.6 billion today.

Saint Croix said...

That $200 million number is insanely inflated, by the way. According to the article, early "advisers" to facebook were given .1 to .25 percent of the company. Thus the article is assuming that facebook will be valued at $200 billion dollars at ipo. That's retarded. Off by a factor of 10, probably. More like a $20 million payday.