Earlier I wrote about sifters – individuals who sift through content and redistribute it to their audiences. This was based on a talk given by Jeff Deitz, President of The Mises Institute. Another fascinating aspect of Mr. Deitz’s talk had to do with the non-traditional success of one prominent sifter, Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report.
Here are a few facts about Mr. Drudge as originally presented by Jeff Deitz:
1. He graduated 341st out of 355 in his high school class. He never attended college.
2. After high school he worked at McDonald’s, 7-11, and as a telemarketer. By his own account these were the only kinds of jobs for which he was qualified.
3. He started the Drudge Report in the early 1990s with a simple computer his dad bought him, operating out of a one-bedroom apartment.
4. The Drudge Report started small, as an email list to a few of his friends focusing on political gossip, entertainment, and media. The list eventually grew to 1,000 before he started his website.
5. In 1996 (before most of you were born) he seized on an opportunity to report a story revealing Jack Kemp as Bob Dole’s vice-presidential running mate, and then in 1998 he scooped the major media by uncovering the Monica Lewinsky story. These stories catapulted his website into popularity, making it one of the most highly visited news sources in the world. Here was one guy with a computer in a one bedroom apartment rivaling the biggest news organizations in the world.
6. He has never changed the basic design of his website; it still looks like it did in the 90s.
7. Today he makes more than $1 million annually.
8. The concept of a news aggregation website did not exist when Drudge began. He created an entirely new product and found an untapped market for it, much like Steve Jobs at Apple.
Mr. Deitz goes on to say that Matt Drudge is a success, but not in a traditional sense. I agree wholeheartedly. Traditional success is not a predictor of entrepreneurial success. Actually, I believe that traditional success may be inversely proportional to entrepreneurial success – the greater the success you have achieved in a traditional manner, the more difficult it will be to achieve entrepreneurial or non-traditional success.
Matt Drudge is not alone in achieving non-traditional success. A few others are Sir Richard Branson, Andrew Carnegie, and Steve Jobs, but there are many, many others.
1. Business Insider. Top 100 Entrepreneurs Who Made Millions Without A College Degree: http://www.businessinsider.com/top-100-entrepreneurs-who-made-millions-without-a-college-degree-2011-1
2. Drudge Report: http://www.drudgereport.com/
3. Forbes. Four Career Tips From Billionaires Who Never Graduated College: http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenbertoni/2012/01/11/four-career-tips-from-billionaires-who-never-graduated-college/
4. J.R. Sedivy. Sifters: http://jrsedivy.com/sifters/
5. The Mises Institute. Matt Drudge and Information Overload: http://bastiat.mises.org/2014/04/video-matt-drudge-and-information-overload/