What do Silicon Valley’s newly-minted multi-millionaires spend their money on once they’ve finally hit it big? One another’s products.
After Facebook purchased Oculus VR for $2.3 billion last March, the virtual reality company’s rather idiosyncratic founder, 22-year-old Palmer Luckey, permitted himself a single splurge: a $120,000 Tesla. Tesla co-founder Elon Musk “is a cool guy who deserves my money,” Luckey told The Telegraph in a new profile.
Luckey added that he admires Musk for his world-changing ambitions. “If you look at who most people respect now, they don’t idolize politicians, they idolize these people founding companies, the self-made entrepreneurs like Musk, Thiel and Zuckerberg.”
Beyond the slick new ride, Luckey – who founded Oculus out of a trailer parked in his parents’ driveway in Long Beach, California – seems largely disinterested in materialism. He never wears shoes (only sandals), regularly eats at McDonald’s and has never drunken alcohol or taken drugs.
However, unlike Musk and Thiel, who are preoccupied by human extinction and immortality, Luckey’s personal visions for Oculus are decidedly less sweeping. While the technology might eventually be used by architects to design buildings, by doctors to practice surgery or by soldiers to help combat PTSD, Luckey says he’s most excited about virtual reality video games.
“For me,” he says, “it has always been about controlling my own destiny. VR is a way to escape the real world into something more fantastic.”