David Sacks' Fancy French PartyWho is This Guy?
David Sacks is CEO of Yammer, originally a "social network" tool for individual businesses that has expanded into an all-in-one enterprise platform. In June of 2012, Microsoft purchased Yammer for $1.2 billion.
Before starting Yammer, Sacks had been COO of a little company you may have heard of called PayPal, from 2002 until it was acquired by eBay. After his years of membership in the so-called PayPal Mafia, Sacks founded Geni.com and Room 9 Entertainment, which produced the independent film "Thank You for Smoking."
As acquisition rumors spread about Yammer, Sacks threw himself the mother of all birthday parties, to the tune of $1.4 million. How do you even spend $1.4 million on a birthday party? Instead of pinning the tail on a donkey, you use actual Democratic members of the House of Representatives? You don't just get a Bounce House, but hire a team of scientists to invent a machine that will sufficiently alter gravity in your backyard such that it resembles a Bounce House? What? Tell me!
In addition to the hefty price tag, the theme of Sacks' party raised some 99%-er eyebrows: "Let Him Eat Cake." Yes, it's a canny reference to a famous quote possibly (but probably not) stated by Marie Antoinette, the famous French lady who was met with some amount of public disapproval, as you may recall, way back in 1793. (Thus providing Kirsten Dunst with one of her greatest... well, one of her roles, anyway.)
The party featured hilarious French Revolution-style get-ups and entertainment from none other than Big Snoop Dogg himself. No Tupac holograms, though. He prefers the Gilded Age as his ironically insensitive ultra-expensive historical party setting of choice.
Now THIS is what undead, possibly evil Tupac is talkin' about!
Larry Ellison Buys an IslandWho Is This Guy?
Co-founder and CEO of Oracle, and as of 2012, the third richest person in America. Ellison's worth - based on his personal fortune as well as ownership of Oracle stock - is valued at $36.5 billion.
Ellison is known for his extravagance. Over the years, he has amassed a fleet of fancy cars, including a 1995 McLaren F1 (which he sold at auction for nearly $3.6 million in 1995 because really, it was so old). He also collects planes (including an Italian Marchetti jet).
Ellison's latest purchase: Hawaii. Well, okay, fine, just AN ENTIRE HAWAIIAN ISLAND. In June of 2012, Ellison shelled out a rumored $500 million to buy Hawaii's sixth largest island: Lanai. He officially owns 98 percent of the stunning, beautiful island -- because he can.
Word is, Ellison had considered going for an island off the coast of Costa Rica, but they're all apparently infested with unnecessary Jeff Goldblum sequels.
Of course, I'd love to go back to Dino Murder Spree Island. Everything went so smoothly last time!
Ellison so far has not announced publicly what his plans might be for the island, which of course is what you'd expect should someone buy an island and then begin construction on a Lair of Supervillainy. You don't announce those kinds of plans to newspapers! That's how James Bond finds out about them in the first place!
The Creepy Mancave of Henry NicholasWho Is This Guy?
Henry Thompson “Nick” Nicholas, III, is the co-founder of Fortune 500 company Broadcom, one of the top producers of semiconductors for wireless and broadband communication. He was also the co-Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of that company. In 2009, he was the 236th richest person in America, with a worth of $1.8 billion.
Nicholas became known not only as a leading pioneer of the first tech boom of the 1990s, but also as a philanthropist. When Nicholas was a young man, his sister was murdered by an ex-boyfriend, and as an adult, he has devoted much of his time and resources to the cause of Victims' Rights. He's often credited with keeping California's Three Strikes Laws on the books and championing Marsy's Law, which, among other things, puts restrictions on paroles that often delay prisoner releases.
In 2008, Nicholas was charged with securities fraud by the Justice Department, which was alleging that he had deceived shareholders about employee compensation timelines and essentially lying about Broadcom's profits. Surprising, but not as shocking as the other indictment against Nicholas, for DRUG TRAFFICKING.
As it turns out, Nicholas was living in a sprawling multi-million dollar mansion in Laguna Beach, California, with his wife and 3 children by day... and then going to an elaborate underground hideaway beneath the mansion to engage in debauched, drug-fueled orgies. No, really. He called it "The Lair," folks. THE LAIR.
Nicholas started remodeling his luxurious Laguna Beach home in the 1990s, and by his 2008 arrest, it had ballooned into a $30 million project. He ended up with an interconnected "warren" of rooms - with 12 foot high ceilings - containing everything from stereos and jacuzzis to gold-leaf columns to statues of Buddha to, of course, ample stashes of cocaine, ecstasy, Viagra, speed. Oh, and prostitutes. Many, many prostitutes. (If you're a prostitute and a guy asks you to come with him to a room underneath his house... you really going to go on that particular expedition? Sure, this time, you get some ecstasy and maybe you get to meet a panda or something. But 9 times out of 10, that's ending poorly for you.
On one occasion, Nicholas paid the band Orgy to play in The Lair (for only $50,000!), set up ice sculptures everywhere and was spotted filling unsuspected attendees' drinks with powdered ecstasy pills. Weeeeeee!
The band Orgy. Not depicted: Henry Nicholas, crazy ice sculptures, musical talent
Nicholas later objected to descriptions in the press of his beautiful underground hideaway, specifically references to it as some kind of "sex lair." You know, just because it's a place he called The Lair where he often took women to give them drugs and have sex with them DOESN'T MAKE IT A SEX LAIR, people. Open your minds, okay?
The charges against Nicholas were eventually dropped by the US government, but of course, now the secret about The Lair was already out. Anyone else think they should start holding Laser Pink Floyd down there instead of the Planetarium? No? Just me?
Kim Dotcom's Crazy New Zealand MansionWho Is This Guy?
"Kim Dotcom" is the professional name of German-Finnish businessman Kim Schmitz, creator of the massively popular and controversial file hosting and sharing service Megaupload. At its peak, Megaupload was thought to be responsible for 4% of all internet traffic.
Dotcom was charged in January of 2012 on internet piracy and copyright violation charges following an extensive investigation involving the New Zealand authorities, the United States' FBI and Justice Department, the Hong Kong Department of Justice, the Netherlands Police Agency and the Public Prosecutor's Office for Serious Fraud and Environmental Crime in Rotterdam, London's Metropolitan Police Service, Germany’s Bundeskriminalamt, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Department of Justice. He was released on bail on February 22 of that year.
Authorities detained Dotcom at his $23 million mansion, where he'd been "hiding in a safe room with a gun." As one does. Members of New Zealand's special forces arrived on foot and in helicopters to take Dotcom into custody.
Among the amazing and ridiculously extravagant features on the property:
- Life-size sculptures of exotic animals on the mansion's lush lawn
- A room that held seven 60-inch TVs (each with a comfy chair and an Xbox)
- A garage that housed a massive luxury car collection. Each car has an aggressive or jokey vanity license plate. Samples: "Hacker," "Mafia," "Guilty," "Police," "Stoned"
- A garden maze
- Millions of dollars in artwork
In June of 2012, Dotcom opened a new Twitter account and started posting photos from a wild, cupcake-filled pool party he was holding in real-time at the mansion.
Peter Thiel's Floating Startup CityWho Is This Guy?
Another "PayPal Mafia" member - only this time, it's the co-founder and CEO. He currently runs the mega-hedge fund Clarium Capital and serves as a managing partner of The Founders Fund. He was also one of the original outside investors in Facebook. Thiel ranked #293 on the Forbes 400 in 2011, with a net worth of about $1.5 billion.
Thiel has described himself as "way libertarian" and says his favorite quote is Vince Lombardi's "Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser." In 2011, Thiel initiated what he called the "Thiel Fellowship," offering $100,000 to students under 20 to drop out of school and start companies.
He also made headlines after various journalists and profilers publicly discussed Thiel's massive home in San Francisco, his apartment at the city's Four Seasons hotel, his $500,000 McLaren Supercar, his Ferrari Spyder and, naturally, his full-time butler. For, you know, buttling.
Thiel has some big ideas, and he's got all the cash he needs to make them happen. Take his interest in Seasteading, a movement that can only be described as "somewhat peculiar unless you are Lex Luthor" with the goal of creating man-made islands in the ocean that would exist outside the jurisdiction of any national government. It's a libertarian paradise, if libertarians idea of paradise involved a 3,000 mile journey to get to a supermarket and the constant threat of pirate attacks! Thiel has set aside $1.25 million so far to the Seasteading Institute to try and make this dream a reality. (OK, OK, a grant, not a purchase. Work with me here, people.)
Thiel has also invested in Blueseed, the so-called "Googleplex of the Sea," which will house startups safely in international waters, 12 miles off the coast of San Francisco. The ship itself will feature high-speed wifi across the ship, 24-hour cafes, a full-service gym, concierge, medical services and a post office, but perhaps most importantly, will allow engineers to work on products NEAR the US without having to actually visit the US.
In this photo: Blueseed's new President and CFO
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