How a Band of Actors, Artists, and Athletes Hacked Silicon Valley
Zack O'Malley Greenburg
How Hollywood cashed in on the latest tech boom-and changed the face of Silicon Valley.
When Ashton Kutcher first heard about 50 Cent's nine-figure Vitaminwater windfall in 2007, the actor realized he'd been missing out. He soon followed the rapper's formula-seeking equity instead of cash for endorsement deals-but with a twist: as the first person to top 1 million Twitter followers, Kutcher leveraged his social reach to accumulate stakes in a vast range of user-hungry tech startups.
A decade later, Kutcher is perhaps the brightest in a firmament of star investors from Beyoncé and Jay-Z to Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez. Bartering credibility and connections in exchange for early (and often discounted) access to the world's most coveted investment opportunities, this diverse group changed the face of venture capital while amassing portfolios packed with companies like Airbnb, Spotify, and Uber. But how did two once-dissonant universes-Silicon Valley and Hollywood-become intertwined?
Forbes senior editor Zack O'Malley Greenburg told the first chapter of Kutcher's transformation for the magazine's cover story in 2016. Now he offers a lively, page-turning account of how this motley crew of talent managers, venture capitalists, and celebrities helped the creative class forge a brand-new blueprint for generational wealth. Through extensive reporting and exclusive interviews with more than 100 key players-including Shaq, Nas, Joe Montana, Sophia Bush, Steve Aoki, Tony Gonzalez, and dozens of behind-the-scenes power brokers-Greenburg sheds light on the unlikely group that fundamentally transformed the value of fame.