#158 - Buying Michael Jordan's House (and Making a Profit), Investing in Athletes & Successful Startup-Studios

MFM #158

Andrew Chen story

  • University of Washington has a program for gifted high schoolers who want to do college early. Andrew took part and graduated at 19.
  • He met some pretty cool people doing this including emmit of twitch, and head of hedge funds.
  • Shaan got into a Duke program as a teenager via TIP program by scoring high on PSAT. Shaan: This is a great marketing trick — he’ll do this when he starts his school
  • For athletics, the opposite is done.

MJ’s house

  • Michael Jordan’s Chicago home went on sale for $30m many years ago, but hasn’t sold. Today it’s on sale for $14m.
  • Idea #1: Buy the house using crowdfunding and through NFTs, any fan can own a fraction of the property. From there, the property can be turned into a museum.
  • Idea #2: Instead of turning the house into a museum, turn into a great Airbnb. Obama’s Hawaii house (the Plantation Estate) rents for $6k a night or $180k a month.
  • You have to make it the dream “man cave”/sports fan getaway. Make it an alternative to Vegas for bachelor’s parties. Fill the house with Jordan memorabilia, and make it an incredible experience for fans to come to.
  • Famous homes: There’s a precedent for taking famous homes and turning them into museums.
  • Graceland: Elvis’ former home receives 600k visitors each paying ~$30
  • Painted Ladies: Painted Ladies and “Full House” house are mainstay attractions. “Full House” house sold for a premium above market price.
  • Counter: Sam is sceptical of crowdfunding on Rally Road because of the difficulty in liquidating. Shaan counters by saying fractional ownership makes liquidity less of an issue. Also many aren’t concerned about selling. Would rather wait and hold.

Big League Advance

  • BLA: Offers cash to minor league baseball players with the promise of making money if the baseball player hits it big.
  • Fernando Tatis Jr: Took cash when he was in the minors from BLA, but now has to pay out ~$30m after signing a $300m+ deal
  • Opportunity: Baseball is the easiest to model, but the NBA presents a great opportunity because of guaranteed contracts. If a player gets a $100m, 5 year deal, you can offer them $80m upfront for the contract. Instead of
  • Counter: This is a risky business. The business only works if you can model properly and get big hits to cover the losses.

Startup studio

  • Instead of investing in companies or starting just one company, startup studios invest and incubate several businesses at once.
  • Shaan: Historically very tough and didn’t work. Garret Camp, Mark Pincus, Kevin Rose, and Michael Birch (Monkey Inferno where Shaan worked) all had studios which had no big winners.
  • Successful studios: The tides may be shifting as a few studios have begun getting hits. Thrive Capital by Josh Kushner (Oscar), Atomic by Jack Abraham (Hims), Prehype (Barkbox and Ro)
  • Atomic: Only works at one project at a time and the team has 9 months to raise a series A or else may be out of a job. Also focused more on B2B than consumer.
  • eFounders: European studio that only does SaaS. They’ve been able to make the model successful
  • Kevin Ryan: Part of DoubleClick when it was sold. Made about $20m and created AlleyCorp which incubated companies like MongoDB, Business Insider, Zola and Guilt.
  • Good: It’s a dream job because you work on multiple ideas. Unlike a traditional startup, when failure happens you can just move onto a new project as a team
  • Bad: For a startup to work, you need laser focus. Often what happens, when a startup hits a plateau, you can pivot to an area that’s working. At studios, the team is more inclined to move onto another project altogether. No do-or-die, back-to-the-wall mentality as with startups.


Have you joined our private Facebook group yet? Go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/ourfirstmillion and join thousands of other entrepreneurs and founders scheming up ideas.

Editing thanks to Jonathan Gallegos (@jjonthan)

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