The man who sold shares of himself on the internet

In 2008, Mike Merrill divided himself into 100,000 shares and offered them to the internet for $1 a pop.

After the initial wave of friends and family bought in, online strangers began to acquire shares of Merrill⁠—a regular person, not a company.

With those shares come voting rights. Shareholders were allowed to decide Merrill’s diet, his romantic decisions, even whether or not to get a vasectomy.

Any personal life decision for which Merrill would seek advice from a friend, he instead posed to shareholders, who would vote on legally binding decisions.

The experiment led him to global news coverage and an appearance on the Today Show, which raised the price of his shares significantly. These days, shares of Merrill trade at around $5.

This week on 2 GIRLS 1 PODCAST, Alli and Jen talk to Merrill about the origins of the experiment, how crowdsourced decision-making has shaped his life, and what he might do differently in the wake of newer online commodity trading models like Bitcoin.

Listen to episode 116 of #2G1P right here:


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2 Girls 1 Podcast is hosted by Allison Goldberg and Jennifer Jamula, and is produced and edited by Matt Silverman in New York City. Production assistance is provided by the Podglomerate.

Matt Silverman

Matt Silverman

Matt Silverman is the director of video and producer of 2 Girls 1 Podcast at the Daily Dot. He has been making internet shows and viral videos for nearly a decade, and has directed top talent including John Oliver, Kevin Bacon, Kate McKinnon, Alton Brown, and the Sesame Street Muppets. Silverman is also the creator of FREE DAD VIDEOS, a comedy and music channel with his young children.