THE STORY

Even at 8 years old Alex Tew was inventive, selling hand-drawn comics in the playground. He snubbed college to pursue his passion—beatboxing—touring the UK and launching the world’s first beatboxing forum.

But success wasn’t moving at the beat he wanted. He sold it on, and enrolled in business school to focus on big money ideas.

Broke and back in his childhood bedroom, he began listing cheap things he could sell a million of. How about a webpage with a million pixels sold at $1 each? Advertisers could buy a 100-pixel block for $100 and display their logo. Ah-ha!

Two days and a small domain fee later, he was live. And with the first thousand pixels sold to friends and family, he hired a PR agency. They snatched the bait: journalists, bloggers… even the BBC and The Guardian. Two months in he’d made $500k from more than 1.4k advertisers!

On New Year’s Eve 2005, Alex auctioned the last thousand pixels on eBay for $38k, bringing his total to $1.04m… in four short months. Mission accomplished!

Naturally, he sought success off the back of his idea. Pixelotto and OneMillionPeople bombed. So, like most dotcommers, he moved to San Francisco to join an incubator. In 2012, he launched “Calm”—a guided meditation, sleep and wellness app. In 2017, it was crowned Apple’s App of the Year.

It’s now valued at $250m.

The Million Dollar Homepage.

UNBURDEN

The hardest thing is not to learn, but to unlearn. That’s revisiting things that burden us—unproductive habits and processes we inherited or learned, without questioning—and throwing them out the window. But doing so requires spending some time with ourselves regularly. Challenging, when everything is designed to distract us from our inner selves. To those of us who manage to unlearn and think differently, I say: the sky is limitless.

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© Story by Tarek Issa.

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