The Human IPO

By Samuel Phineas Upham

The idea of an individual person’s output being treated as a market commodity is hardly new. Musicians such as David Bowie and sports athletes have been offering investors a cut of their future profits as far back as the 1990s. But Wired says that Mike Merrill has taken this to the next level by selling shares of his future earnings and letting shareholders make key decisions in his life.

Some of the decisions have been seemingly arbitrary – such as if he should become a vegetarian or switch political parties – while others have impacted his dating and work lives. The exercise has made many of the ideals of free market capitalism extremely personal. The end results have been positive for Merrill, though – his shareholders have approved a new girlfriend and the value of his “shares” have risen sharply since 2008.

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About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Twitter.

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