Minecraft Inventor Markus Persson: Being a Billionaire Is Lonely

1 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Minecraft billionaire complains about being rich.

A series of Tweets that Persson sent out caught the attention of several members of the media, with Re/code and others claiming Persson seemed lonely and isolated while hanging out in glamorous Ibiza.He spent a reported $70 million on an 8-bedroom, 15-bathroom mansion in Beverley Hills that came complete with a replica James Dean motorbike and a bar stacked with Dom Perignon.Being a billionaire may sound like a great idea on paper but it doesn’t necessarily equate to happiness, with the brains behind Minecraft, Markus “Notch” Persson, revealing his deep loneliness and sadness despite selling his company to Microsoft for $2.7 billion. The billionaire again took to Twitter on Monday morning to defend his comments, saying, “fwiw, while there are articles about my depression because I had a bad day and vented on a trend I saw, I’m sitting here having a nice day.” Regardless of whether his tweets were momentary venting or a sign of deeper malaise, Persson’s comments reflect some of the lesser-known downsides of a massive windfall, or “sudden wealth syndrome.” Entrepreneurs who are naturally driven to create, build, innovate and work around-the-clock realize their dream upon selling their company.

Since, he’s been hosting parties attended by Selena Gomez and skateboarder Tony Hawk and had Skrillex DJ a pool party for guests in his infinity pool, which has panoramic views across LA. Notch, the Swedish gaming mogul who founded Minecraft-maker Mojang, says despite having millions and millions of dollars his former co-workers now “hate” him, and he now has a lack of purpose in life. He wrote: ‘The problem with getting everything is you run out of reasons to keep trying, and human interaction becomes impossible due to imbalance. ‘Hanging out in Ibiza with a bunch of friends and partying with famous people, able to do whatever I want, and I’ve never felt more isolated. ‘In Sweden, I will sit around and wait for my friends with jobs and families to have time to do shit, watching my reflection in the monitor.’ Persson has a personal fortune of around £1billion, according to Forbes estimates. Some Twitter users suggested Notch use his billions for good, therefore giving the programmer-turned CEO a sense of purpose, but Notch said that would just compound his issues. “I would [emulate Elon] Musk and try to save the world, but that just exposes me to the same type of assholes that made me sell minecraft again,” he wrote. “I really appreciate all the offers to hang and talk and all.

But the 35-year-old said he no longer wanted the ‘responsibility’ of owning such a global success, and sold his development studio Mojang to US giant Microsoft. ‘I don’t make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits. Add to that the distrust that can come with being rich—as some assume everybody wants something from them—and being rich can quickly become its own form of prison.

Though many will not take pity on others’ riches, Persson’s comments offer an important lesson: When it comes to large wealth, be careful what you wish for. The tech industry has been grappling with issues related to work-life balance and the immense pressure placed on CEOs and executives recently, with giant e-retailer Amazon coming under fire over past weeks for having an especially harsh and unforgiving workplace culture.

A New York Times article which cited more than 100 current and former employees, described a wildly successful but ruthless company where workers are encouraged to report each other to supervisors for transgressions such as “inflexibility and openly complaining about minor tasks.” It’s about my sanity.’ Like any 35-year-old who has suddenly found himself being one of the richest people in the world, Persson has spent lavishly and partied extravagantly. And to celebrate the sale of 10 million ‘downloads’ of the game he treated the whole staff to a three-day trip of ultimate extravagance to Monte Carlo three years ago. Before Christmas he out-bid pop star couple Jay Z and Beyonce to buy the most expensive mansion in Beverly Hills ever – an eight-bedroom modern-day palace in Los Angeles’ most exclusive district – for over £43 million [$70 million].

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