2005: Mike Merrill gets an idea: fund creative projects, from an online “reality” show to events and documentaries, by selling stock in...well, the life and career of Mike Merrill, Publicly Traded Person.
Jan 2008: After “a lot of thought, energy, and talk,” Merrill creates a website to sell shares. “I figured evenings and weekends for the rest of my life were worth about $100,000. So I granted myself 100,000 shares and started selling them at a dollar each.”
Aug 2008: Weighing future productivity concerns, Merrill asks shareholders to vote on whether he should get a vasectomy. “It was very close, but didn’t pass.”
April 2010: Key share-holder votes prompt Merrill to change his voter registration to “business-friendly” Republican.
June 2012: Merrill stock briefly hits an all-time high of $20 per share.
Feb 2013: After years of steady trading, the market gets volatile when a girlfriend sells a share of her stock at a good price: “the most romantic market crash in the history of capitalism.”
Spring 2013: Both the Atlantic and Wired run stories on the Publicly Traded Person. Those stories lead to an appearance on Today. “Those three pieces of media have created an amazing worldwide community of shareholders.”
Oct 2014: Fox announces plans to adapt the Wired article into a feature film starring Jason Bateman. Share price spikes from $4.25 to $7.70, before settling to around $6.