Meet Mike Merrill.


This story has nothing to do with Merrill Lynch. In case that is what you thought after reading “shares” and learning his last name.

Mike is the world’s only publicly traded person. Which basically means that he sells shares of himself and allows his shareholders to vote on various aspects of his life.


Mike had this idea back in 2008, where he divided himself into 100,000 shares of $1 each. Since then, he has a total of 663 investors who take part in life-changing decisions for him. 

The process is simple. If he needs help with something, he merely asks the investors. He says that his questions are based on what he would have asked his friends if he needed advice with something.

He believes that friends tend to think about what you want most, which may not be the best decision for you. They are always afraid to say something that might hurt you. But investors can be brutally honest. 

The fact that people invested in his life made him realise that there were no negative shareholders. They were interested in doing what’s best for him simply to see their investment to do well. 

But there were some weird decisions he had to take. Like he had to become a vegetarian and they also made him register as a Republican (maybe Trump secretly invested in him).

Fearing a baby in the future maybe a burden on investors, with the added cost and all, he even asked if they wanted him to get a vasectomy. Votes confirmed that he didn’t need one 55 to 45. Close call, that.

The most intriguing part of this venture started when he became single in 2012, he thought that dating someone would take up a lot of his time and he put that up for voting as well. 86% of them voted ‘yes’, but it also meant they now had a say in his romantic life.

“We’ve all been in a situation where your friend starts dating someone and you’re super opposed to it, but can’t really say anything. Friends can’t really give you objective advice — but shareholders? Maybe.” – Mike while talking to The Hustle.


He went on dates, posted feedback and gave all the women aliases. One particular woman got the highest votes. Her real name was soon revealed – Marijke. She in fact bought shares in him as well. She voted for herself to be on top of the list. Surprisingly, other investors also voted for her. 

Soon, a relationship contract was drawn up (Sheldon Cooper would be proud). Even when they decided to move in, all the votes were in their favour. Basically, he found love in a hopeless weird place. More on that later.

This also caught the attention of the media which eventually led to a rapid growth in investors. They went from 120 to 500 and the share that was once $1 went up to $18. This actually gave Mike a $1.2 million market cap. Currently, it is at $5, which still pretty good for the initial investors.

Mike is such a dude that he also decided to dress the same every time so that he is recognised as an entity. He went one particular shop close by – Brooks Brothers – and the lad bought all his clothes from there, he plays around with ties and accessories, but the basic get up is the same.

“At first, people wanted to invest in Mike Merrill,” he told The Hustle. “Then, people became more interested in the concept and the novelty than my life. It was a weird, alienating feeling, but also exciting — it was starting to take on a life of its own.”

He basically has a board of friends and strangers, all wanting what they think is best for him. Although he hasn’t made a profit yet, he has put up 117 resolutions out of which 68% were approved (Vasectomy not being one. You can thank god for that, Mike!). And he has sold 10,991 shares around the globe.

Mike has 99.1% control over himself. But his shares have always been non-voting and he has conceded 100% decision-making rights to his investors.

These people who control his life also voted for him to leave his 10-year long dead end job, which he thought was a blessing. In fact, they also voted in favour of him investing in a Rwandan chicken farming business. 

As for Marijke and him. He announced on 21st November, 2017, that they had sadly broken up. 

I understand that this is an unconventional ask. But this was an unconventional relationship. Here is what we propose:

Marijke had offered her shares at $5 and 99.2% voted in favour of buying them. Within a day, her shares were brought. Mike will probably go for more dates, he will probably consult his board again, he will hopefully fall in love again.

Let’s hope it works out for Mike. The only man to ever sell himself.

Images sourced from: minimums, kmikeym