Image by Reem Ali-Adeeb.
Since 2008, Mike Merrill has been operating himself as a publicly traded company.
Mike’s website is kmikeym.com.
Narration by Aaron Henkin. Check out his amazing podcast Out of the Blocks.
Final Song: Keep Me Hanging On by The Supremes, Kim Wild version as performed by Alvin and the Chipmunks.Playlist
Brain Rays – Zombie Ken – Dobwalls Gateway Zone Vol. I
Africa Hitech – Cyclic Sun – 93 Million Miles
Gangpol & Mit – The Enemy I Never Met – The 1000 Softcore Tourist People Club
Haywyre – Ovvaflow – Of Mellows And Revelations
Gangpol & Mit – Plastic Islands – Toon Park Parade (The Composers Series)
A Vision of Panorama – Time Capsule (Andras Fox Remix) – Cascade
Mark Barrott – Der Stern, Der Nie Vergeht (Domenique Dumont Mix) – Remixes From An Island
Mndsgn – Homewards – Yawn Zen
Guitar – Akiko – Tokyo
Busdriver, Radioinactive, Daedelus – Weather Locklear – colette nuggets, Vol. 1
Prins Emanuel – Su Su – Arbete/Fritid
Gel-Sol – Two Sisters – Chipmunk Punk
The last item I remember getting rid of was a sweatshirt (sometimes you just want to wear something very casual and easy) and then I bought one at Brooks Brothers. And I was like, ‘Oh there we go. That’s it. This is the last thing.’ I took it to Goodwill around the corner. And then I was like fully, fully Brooks Brothers.
Mike: I remember at some point far before the project, how much I loved the business section of the newspaper. It’s the least political in the sense that it’s politics are very apparent. The economics are the primary motivation for any of the stories. There’s less gray area in that than in the culture section. If you’re gonna review music, who knows if it’s good or bad? Well, over in the business section they can talk about that with how much did it sell, how much money did it make and those kinds of things. You end up with a lot of structure and thinking and process around business, and I love taking that and applying it somewhere else. I was recently described as a conceptual businessman.
Hello, I’m Mike Merrill and I’m a publicly traded person. I sell shares of myself and then allow my shareholders to vote on major decision in my life. As those decisions start to pay off for me, the share price rises, and everyone’s rewarded. Shareholders will act in their own best interest, which are also my best interests. It’s community through capitalism.
I’m made up of 100,000 shares. Every so often I auction off a portion of those shares. The money I get from those auctions is used for new projects. Once someone has invested financially, they’re also invested personally. They want what’s best for me because that’s what’s best for them. So if you’re interested, check out KMikeyM.com….
Mike: Shareholders essentially create a login, they deposit money into their account which just goes to my checking account, which they can then use to buy shares at the auction prices that were on there. The time that I was selling off was essentially my evenings and weekends, and so I was like well, how long — based on life span, etc., how long I’m gonna be productive — and I basically decided it was worth 100,000 dollars, so I did 100,000 shares at a dollar a piece. It was up and running, people were buying and selling shares, share price was moving, I started putting things up for vote.
July 12, 2008: Change of hair color — Rejected
Jan 26, 2010: A vegetarian diet — Approved
Winter mustache — Rejected
Should I buy Fallout 4? — Rejected
Reduce caffeine by 33% — Approved
Subscribe to Spotify…Should I learn to snowboard?…Start a formal meditation practice…Learn to play the piano…Paint house a new color…Officiate friend’s wedding — Approved…
April 26, 2010: Republican registration
Mike: I was telling a friend how stupid it is that one of the main differences we have in the United States are political differences, as easy to change as just checking a box on this little form at the post office. There’s no requirements for party membership. They brought up that I should put that up for a vote. And I was like, ‘I’m not gonna become a… Oh yeah that is actually a good idea for a vote.’
The ideals of Republicans are based largely on economic policies. As a publically traded person I had entrusted my future to those willing to invest the most of themselves on me, as measured by money.
Cons: As a Republican I will give up my ability to vote in the Democratic primaries. It may be mildly awkward for close friends.
Pros: The primary benefit is that in a crowd of people, wearing a pressed shirt and tie amidst a sea of hippies, I could look into a reporter’s camera and say, ‘As a registered Republican I don’t agree with these people on a lot of issues, but I think it’s ridiculous for the government to forbid two people who love each other to get married.’
Boom. See you on the 10 o’clock news. Plus, elephants are cooler than donkeys.
661 votes for yes, 123 votes for no. Proposal passed.
Mike: I supported John Huntsman.
America needs fresh, new perspective…
Mike: It’s actually a meaningless thing to be a Republican. It just means I get to vote in a different primary and I get weird mail. I would get the weirdest phone calls. I would get fundraising phone calls from both parties. If it was the Republicans I’d be like, ‘I just gave money to Obama.’ And if it was the Democrats I’d be like, ‘You know I’m a registered Republican.’ It was just like, take me off your list, I’m done.
…A new vision for the country we love. And a taste for dirt, no drama, progress. This guy’s different.
Mike: I was moving in with a then-girlfriend, and one of my big shareholders said, ‘We should get to vote on that because it’s going to affect your productivity.’ I remember being like, kind of reluctant. I don’t wanna put up every personal decision on this website. But then I look at it from the opposite side and I’m like, ‘But I would want that control if I had put shares into someone?’ That was kinda when I created this rule where anything that I would ask my friends advice for would become a shareholder question. I think I probably put the vasectomy thing up within 24 hours.
July 12 2008: Vasectomy
The population of the world is, according to the US Census Bureau, 6.7 billion. Children are a financial drain. While the joy of parenting far outweighs the costs, the costs are estimated to be about a quarter of a million dollars to raise a child to 18 years of age. The time investment of raising a child is immense. The responsibility is evident. Mike Merrill is great with kids. But he has experienced no desire in his 31 years to have his own, and claims, ‘While I look forward to hanging out with my friend’s kids, I don’t wish to have children of my own.’ In light of these factors, it makes sense to reduce the chances to nearly zero, and have a vasectomy performed.
Interviewer: And did you talk about this to your girlfriend?
Mike: We had talked about it, though not as far as putting it up for a vote. It came up later as a thing where I thought we had talked about, thought it was okay, and it clearly wasn’t. I had missed some cues. My defense at the time was something like, ‘Well then buy more shares.’
Interviewer: How did she respond to that?
Mike: Not well.
387 votes for yes, 456 votes for no. Proposal rejected.
Mike: The idea that you’re gonna measure someone’s influence based on how much money they’ve put into some system is probably not a great objective measure of how much someone cares. But at the same time I was like, ‘You don’t own that many and you are one of the closest people to me, you should at least be on the top 10.’ In the same way there’s a sense of, ‘Oh haha, I’m mad at you for putting something up for vote between us even though it’s actually very serious,’ I think the flip of that is also true where I’m like ‘Why doesn’t that person buy more shares?’ I get sad when my stock price goes down. What could be more arbitrary than a person’s stock value, I mean that’s not a real thing at all. I recognize logically that it’s in no way a reflection of my character. But I can’t help but think that this thing that I’ve been doing for 10 years is being devalued when the stock price goes down.
April 17 2012: Shareholder control of romantic relationships
It’s been about 10 months since our romantic breakup with Shareholder #7, and it seems prudent to set up the conditions under which we might enter future romantic relationships. It is is spring after all, and Tennyson says, “In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” Given the invisible power in a romantic relationship, the shareholders should have some control over the selection or approval of any possible romantic partners.
716 votes for yes, 113 votes for no. Proposal passed.
Recently the shareholders decided to take control of my romantic life. That’s right, I’m single. Using the latest in modern technology, we’ve created a system to give complete control with the shareholders. We call it the romance advisory board, and we think it’s really gonna change my life.
Mike: I set up a separate website that was password protected, had to be a shareholder to get in. Each person I went on date with I used a pseudonym for, and didn’t post any pictures of, and just described the date from my perspective.
Date with Jimmy (Wyoming) June 28 2012…Eva (Florida)…Maya (Colorado)…we met at Heart a few weeks ago for coffee…is a PhD student…so we went out for oysters after work…a shareholder recommended Maya and made a strong case for her qualifications…would she be weird, or would she be cool? Perhaps the sexual sparks did not cinematically fly…would she like the project, or think that it’s creepy?…had met someone he would love to be friends with, and engage with on future projects, including, but not limited to, softball…though Mike remembers the cocktails in somewhat unrealistic detail, in later data sheets submitted to his analyst, he will be unable to remember what Jimmy was wearing. Update June 26 2012: Maya emailed me today that she has taken herself out of consideration as a candidate…Mike enjoyed himself, finding Jimmy fun, cool, and in possession of a positive attitude.
Agassi Dakota, June 24 2012. This is a very strong candidate.
Marijke: Well when I first actually met Mike it was a friend’s house and we were all playing a board game.
Mike: It quickly became a chronicle of my dates with Marijke.
Marijke: We were playing this game called “What Were You Thinking,” which is the worst possible game you can imagine. There’s one loser and everybody else wins. You’re given a prompt and you make a list of five things from that prompt. So it might be things that are brown, and you’ll say well it’s poop and chocolate and hair and mud, or whatever your list is. And you’re trying to match your items to other people’s items. So what Mike would do is write his own name as the answer for each prompt, at least one time. And you knew if you couldn’t think of something, if it was some obscure question about basketball players, you could just write Mike Merrill and you would definitely get a point because you knew Mike was going to do that. So he was just messing with this game in a way that was so irritating to everybody. But it was also occasionally convenient to you if you needed to use it. I just remember being so aggravated by the way he wanted to needle the situation.
Mike: I was first interested when I heard that she was working part-time at a hedge fund, which I thought was incredibly fascinating.
Marijke: He asked me to lunch. And lunch was oysters and champagne, which I thought was a date, but he thought was a business lunch. So we just talked about what it was like working in finance. He certainly romanticized that.
She is self-possessed in a way that I find very attractive, and makes it very easy to talk to her. Right now I’d say I’m feeling very optimistic and excited. I feel challenged in a way that is pretty new for me.
Mike: Just that dance of discovery was very exciting, and she’s someone who’s very clear in her opinions and not accommodating. Because she doesn’t like something, she’s gonna tell you. And I was like, oh, OK.
Last night I went over to Agassi’s and we read finance reports. The plan was to watch a movie but I couldn’t find one we wanted to watch. Today she sent me a flirty text message about supply chain management. This is a little too perfect. Am I being played?
Shareholder: Has Agassi ever expressed that they don’t fully understand, like, or support the romance project?
Mike: Agassi seems fully supportive of the project. She has expressed concern about what happens if she drops below 50% — concerns I share — but also understands that I need to continue to go on dates.
Shareholder: What do you mean when you say you feel challenged? How does she challenge you?
Mike: Good question. Agassi works to improve herself. She applies herself to things and then gets very good at them. I find this intimidating, as I tend to rely on a very general knowledge of anything. My own weaknesses are brought out and I want to work on them. I find myself wanting to try harder, to be more studious, in order to catch up with her.
Shareholder: Can you tell us more about her, as a human? I’m not sure we have enough information to vote on. What’s her vibe? What’s her deal? What are her life goals? Do you have similar politics? What are her big interests? What, more specifically, do you like about her?
Mike: I’m not sure I know how to describe these things about myself much less another person, but I understand what you’re getting at. She works at a hedge fund, but that’s pretty recent. She was in coffee before that. She’s admitted she prefers a smaller group of people to a larger one. She’s athletic, she prefers dogs to cats. She plays the piano. This is just a list of things, which isn’t really the answer you’re looking for.
Mike: Marijke bought shares soon after we started dating. Which then meant that she was reading all of the reports. She later told me that she voted herself up and everybody else down. And I was like, ‘Hey all’s fair, that’s how the system works, you didn’t break any rules, that’s probably a good sign.’
Interviewer: What was your scheme at that point?
Marijke: Um, to win the game probably. To play it and to mess with him. Because he likes to mess with people, I thought wouldn’t it be fun to mess with Mike.
Mike: And I took that as another great sign. If you believe as a shareholder that you’re the best candidate then that’s the action you should take.
Interviewer: Isn’t that insider trading or something? What would the FTC say about this?
Mike: You know insider information is not illegal, only insider trading is, so it’s only if she profits off that, that it’s actually insider trading. Uh yeah, I dunno. That’s an arguable gray area.
Marijke: I encouraged him to go on more dates. It was a little bit of a cuckold situation, where he felt stuck in this thing of his own creation, and that’s very funny to me, that the thing you made is torturing you a little bit.
Interviewer: Were there specific recaps of dates that stood out to you in your memory?
Marijke: Yeah there was one. He had a little tryst at a wedding.
I was at the amazing desert wedding of friends in LA. At some point in the evening I met Jordan.
Marijke: It came out later that this person at the wedding was not a woman, and I was surprised by that. But also it was like, this person really is confused about what they want, and they actually need this project because they truly have no clue what they’re up to. They need to be able to let loose. And he needs the shareholders’ permission to do that. I think Mike likes having the shareholder permission to do things because he doesn’t trust his own instincts. I think that he would just rather not decide for himself.
Interviewer: Is that something you can relate to?
Marijke: No I’m the complete opposite. I want to do everything myself because I don’t think anyone else will do it well.
Marijke: I liked how inclusive Mike was, he was just an open book. He was like ‘Hey meet my friends, hey come to this thing.’
Mike: Marijke being up for this stuff is very exciting to me. She’s fully a participant in my life in that way. Her ability to let me do that at all, like any of this stuff, is sometimes surprising.
Ongoing report, August 2, 2012
Things are progressing in the realm of Mike’s romantic life. Agassi has gone from a promising candidate to full-on girlfriend status. He is now able to be open to another person in a new way. This feels good to him. When discussing it, he very nearly radiates an unearthly glow of happiness. The die has been cast. Phase 2, Relationship, has been entered.
Mike: I thought of dating someone seriously as almost like bring on a vice president. Before things ever get to a vote, you’re gonna have talked about it to this person. Thinking, what does a corporation do when it brings somebody on in this role? I’m sure there’s a contract involved.
Interviewer: I love that you say this as if it’s the most natural thing in the world.
Mike: Yeah like I have a bracelet, but instead of WWJD, it’s What Would a Corporation Do?
GENERAL RELATIONSHIP AGREEMENT
This agreement establishes an exclusive romantic relationship between the following undersigned parties. Marijke Jean Dixon, Girlfriend, and Kenneth Michael Merrill, Boyfriend, herein referred to as Couple…
Section I: Partnership outline
1.1) The Couple will at all times faithfully, industriously and to the best of their skill, ability, experience, and talents, perform all of the duties required as an active participant in the relationship
1.2) The Couple will make available their geo-location via the Find My Friend iPhone application, at all times. Excepting instances in which revealing their location would compromise a pleasant surprise
4.2) The Couple will work to replace IKEA furniture. No additional IKEA furniture is to be acquired for the house
5.1) A minimum of one evening per week is to be dedicated to spending time together, with or without guests, as negotiable
Spending leisurely morning together in matching Brooks Brothers pajamas, is encouraged…Sexual relations with the goal of mutual satisfaction must take place at minimum three times per week, excepting period of illness, separation, and conditions that prevent the enjoyment of sex…Nicknames will not be given to genitalia… Pornography restrictions include: a. Porn that is illegal as defined by US law and/or the state law of Oregon
b. Porn in which an acting party is a personal acquaintance, unless watched together…the couple will keep fingernails clean and neatly trimmed. Nail length will not exceed 1/4 inch…
Section 11: Contract termination and death
The couple will provide shareholders one-month notice of their intention to terminate the relationship, with the exception below…
11.4.1) Should both parties be rendered incapable of decision, the shareholders will decide if the relationship should say in place.
Signed: Boyfriend (Kenneth Michael Merrill) & Girlfriend (Marijke Jean Dixon)
Marijke: We made a funny little worksheet to make sure we were doing all the things, little checkboxes.
Mike: Starting at the top there was social obligations, oh and sexual relations per week, and oysters, we got a certain number of oysters.
Interviewer: There’s a section called ‘Brooks Brothers’?
Mike: Yeah so she was required to wear a Brooks Brothers item at least once a week.
Marijke: We would get to the end of a period and be like, ‘Oh shit we have to go do these seven things that we don’t wanna go do, in order to get an A on our project.
Interviewer: I have to say the checkboxes of ‘had sex three times’ does not appeal to me at all.
Marijke: No! Well it doesn’t appeal to anybody! But you know what if you talk to any relationship therapist that’s like actually what you’re supposed to do. Whether you wanna do it or not, you’re supposed to have sex. Guess what, it’s good for your relationship.
Mike: It was very much a joint negotiation of this thing.
Marijke: I thought it was really good, like prenups for people who just started dating. Because then you could say what you want, or you could be forced to talk about things that you wouldn’t otherwise talk about in a relationship.
Nov 9 2016: Proposal proposal
Today I am excited to come to the shareholders with the most important shareholder proposal yet. Should I ask Marijke to marry me? The shareholders have successfully guided me in finding the most amazing and beautiful woman I have ever met. So it’s only prudent that I should heed their advice in taking the next step. A proposal for marriage is a triumphant conclusion to the shareholders’ involvement in my romantic life. Through good times and bad, the shareholders have been there to advise and direct me; I am a better person and boyfriend because of them. If this proposal passes I’m sure they will also make me a better husband.
5044 for yes, 51 votes for no. Proposal passed.
Mike: I think of a marriage like a corporate merger. The joint nature of this new venture, what are those goals? It’s not the same as mine individually or hers individually. Those can still be pursued, but what are the joint goals?
Interviewer: So what would you do if a shareholder wrote in to say, I think you need to put up to a vote to end your relationship.
Mike: That’d be interesting. In all honesty…
Interviewer: I love that your first reaction is to kind of smile, oh that’d be really fascinating.
Mike: Well again, I have to think about it from the outside point of view. I would probably put it up for a vote. I would go and whip some votes, and know that I’ve got a certain number of people on lock, and talk that over with Marijke. I would minimize the risk, I would work within the system to make sure it went the way that I wanted, but I’m pretty okay with that.
Interviewer: What if you’ve miscounted?
Mike: Right, and it’s over? I mean, in an ideal world, I would follow through with it. In a very practical way I don’t know how that would work. If they were just like, ‘Don’t be married to that person.’ Let’s say it’s as simple as that. There’s this technicality, I could say I’ll go through the technicality of a divorce, but everything else would be the same.
Interviewer: Do you think Marijke would be okay with that?
Mike: Absolutely not. And I wouldn’t either, really. But I like the idea of that. Figuring out a way to make it work, for all parties.
Marijke: Mike loves projects more than anything else. They’re his number one priority. Which, that can be hard in a relationship.
Interviewer: But you were saying earlier, that ultimately if things came to a head, he would pick you over the shareholders.
Marijke: That remains to be seen, but this is a separate point, which is that it’s where he wants to spend all of his time and his energy.
Interviewer: But that’s part of what you find attractive about him too.
Marijke: I don’t share a lot of interest in certain parts of the KMikeyM project. You know you’re a really nice guy and we’re having a nice conversation, but I would rather be gardening right now.
Interviewer: Why’d you say yes?
Marijke: As a consolation.
Interviewer: So you’re talking to me as a favor to Mike.
Marijke: Yeah. He primarily wants to give his attention to his projects, so I decided at a point that I didn’t want to give my attention to them also.
May 16, 2017: Shareholder approval rating
We the shareholders are glad that you’re alive and well, and we want to wish you some form of a happy birthday, but not in the traditional form of song and cake. Instead we wish you some percentage of a happy birthday based on how well we think you’re doing at being the world’s only publically traded person. This will be a regular vote to determine how much support you have from your shareholder community. A yes is a vote of confidence that KMikeyM is a ship on the right course. A no vote is a warning that you’re off the mark and we expect some changes. 1409 votes for yes, 2686 votes for no. Proposal rejected.
Mike: Hello this is Mike
Interviewer: Hey Mike it’s Nick.
Mike: Hey um should I put him on speaker? Uh, hey how’s it going?
Interviewer: How are you?
Mike: I’m OK. Not great.
Interviewer: I saw there was a vote saying the shareholders were disappointed with you.
Mike: Yeah they definitely took the opportunity to critique and point out the flaws. You know stock price had been flat, the votes were boring. Basically it was like, you seem to have back-burnered this project in your life, and it’s not as fun as it was.
Interviewer: And did that come as a surprise?
Mike: It doesn’t come as a shock, but just to have that overwhelming response was sort of crushing. I’ve relied on that structure of having shareholders and doing this thing, as a base level of my entire personality, that to have that attacked at the same time things are going difficult in other parts of my life…
Interviewer: Like what?
Mike: That’s a good follow-up question. I’m welling up a little right now which is strange. Staring at a stranger while doing it. I’m not gonna be able to talk about this without crying, which is probably going to make your editing a little harder. Um, relationship stuff is going really really bad right now. And to the point where it might not work. It might be over. Being publically traded means I get to interface with all these wonderful amazing people, and have these great adventures with them. But what I don’t do kind of because of that, is I don’t tend to go really deep with people. Which I didn’t think was a problem. until it presented as such with Marijke. And she sees that as well in me. My first defensive reaction to hearing that was — maybe still is — I prefer it this way. I should be allowed to have a lot of friends who I’m not as close to, and if that works for me, then who’s anyone to say otherwise? But this weird tiny stupid little birthday vote ended up kind of like — not in a way that the crowd decided or anything — but it reflected that back that I think that’s true. The way that I kind of keep people at arm’s length and don’t share those things, and also don’t share those with her either. I’m good at just putting it in a box and stuffing it way down deep inside. And I think doing this project facilitates that to a certain extent. It hurts when I think about the lack of connection, specifically with Marijke. Because I’ve treated her like a shareholder. I mean maybe like the most important shareholder. But still a shareholder.
Interviewer: And how should you have been treating her?
Mike: I don’t have yet a very good model for that, which I think is part of the frustration from her end. She knows that I’m not very good at that. At figuring out what that means, at dealing with it, at anything. It’s gonna take a while before I can tell you the answer to that.
I’m moving to Los Angeles. I accepted an offer to become the major domo of Sandwich Video. While this would normally be a time for high fives and champagne, as a publically traded person there is some disappointment that such a massive and life-altering decision was not put to a shareholder vote. Historically my rule of thumb for what to put for vote, has been anything I’d ask my friends advice about. This heuristic has meant that I ask shareholders about big life decisions (who should I date) as well as the smaller questions (should I get a car). The last time I made an executive decision without shareholder approval, I was chastised, and my recent low approval reveals the shareholders feel disengaged from my life, which is reflected in the stagnant stock price.
2017 has been a chaotic year. I’ve been underemployed after leaving the company I co-founded. My romantic relationship is currently up in the air. My shareholders gave me a 34% approval rating on my 40th birthday. On the other hand, I’m about to launch a new project I’m incredibly excited about, I’m going to be profiled in Playboy, and I recently got to walk the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. These ups and downs have me asking a lot of questions of myself, just as the shareholders are asking me questions, like: ‘If huge life decisions can be made without the input of shareholders, what’s the point of the shareholders? It seems like shareholders are only consulted if it’s somewhat convenient for you. Maybe the project should end.’ I have been asking the same questions. My conclusion is that not everything in my life is a shareholder question. I understand the disappointment in not voting on my move to Los Angeles and the acceptance of a new job. But shareholders can still make their voice heard. Because my stock price has always been the true measure of shareholder approval. If you’re excited about me moving to LA, you should buy shares. If you feel the project is damaged by not putting this to a vote, you should sell shares.
Mike: Hey this is Mike.
Interviewer: Hey how are you?
Mike: Doing well. I’m in this apartment with no furniture. I did borrow an inflatable bed from a friend so that’s helpful. First night was on the floor with just a bunch of blankets.
Interviewer: What happened to the share price after you announced that you were moving to LA?
Mike: There was a fair amount of trades, it stayed roughly the same place, but is definitely down a little bit. There was some pretty amazing negative comments:
I think it’s bullshit that you made this decision without consulting the shareholders, it’s a decision that should’ve been put up for a vote 100%. Will I sell my shares? Probably not, just because it’s much more difficult for me to get my money. But this decision completely destroys the concept of a publically traded person. This job might’ve been great and maybe most of the shareholders would’ve voted for it, but you had no right to accept this offer. Even if you wanted to accept this offer, you could’ve asked them to wait a day and held an emergency vote, or even just a couple of hours. But you didn’t and that disappoints. You make stupid votes for piano lessons that have no impact on our well-being, but you don’t make a vote on a job. That’s just bullshit.
Marijke: Well Mike lives in LA. That happened really quickly. I encouraged him to do it. And I’m here in Portland, living my little bachelorette life, with the dogs. That’s the basic update.
Interviewer: Do you ever imagine that you’re gonna sell your shares?
Marijke: Yeah. I think I would sell my shares if it became clear to me based on my insider information that Mike was going to sunset the project. So for all you shareholders out there, if I sell my shares, that means Mike’s probably gonna destroy the project.
Interviewer: Do you think that’s gonna happen?
Marijke: No I don’t think that’ll happen. Well, it’s hard to say.
Interviewer: Do you ever foresee a point where you would consider retiring the project?
Mike: I’ve thought about that a lot recently. I think the way that it currently works, I’ve explored most of what the system we’ve created can do.
Interviewer: I mean what if someone did a hostile takeover and they told you you had to jump off a bridge. What would you do?
Mike: Um, I don’t have to do anything the shareholders say. And in fact I haven’t always done what they say. I haven’t learned to play the piano, and they did mandate that. And the share prices probably lowered for that. I think in the same way, if somebody bought all the shares and then mandated something that I didn’t do, ultimately I’m still free to choose if I want to participate or not. You know we’re all free to choose our actions, we don’t always get to choose the consequences of those actions. In my case the consequences are sort of measured daily, by the share price.
Mike: I have a project that recently got approved, that hopefully will launch a couple months from now.
Kenneth Michelangelo Maximilian, Michael to his friends, of which he had several, sighed. Like any Angelo worth the name, he too wanted juice. The healthier and more costly, the better.
Mike: It’s a collaborative choose-your-own adventure story.
Michael was 37 years old. Yet already he manifested the status symbols of a corporate titan. Although it was 10 AM on a Saturday, he was nearly fully kitted out in his businessman costume. An impeccable blue Ermenegildo Zegna suit, white Brooks Brothers shirt, no tie, the gleaming hint of silver and blue from the Breitling Navitimer on his wrist, and the kind of haircut that simply could not be procured at a barber that took walk-ins.
Mike: It’s erotic fan fic about me that’s being ghost-written.
As a rule Michael was incredibly sexy and compelling to women. Yet in his eyes there was nothing of the flinty murderous hardness that one might expect from such an evidently successful man of international business.
Mike: But the idea is that you’d write a certain amount, then put up a vote about what direction should the story go next. You only ever pursue one path. You don’t go back and have the option to pursue the missed path.