Evan Spiegel, the boyish cofounder and CEO of Snapchat, is dying to be taken seriously. He rejected Mark Zuckerberg, opines like Steve Jobs, and hobnobs with media titans. But Spiegel's undergrad emails—when he began his path to Snapchat—show a different Evan. Did Steve Jobs ever joke about peeing on girls?
During his time at Stanford, Spiegel (now 23 years old) was a prominent brother of the university's Kappa Sigma chapter—a fraternity with a fraught record, temporarily kicked off campus for violating the school's "Controlled Substances and Alcohol Policy." The house was also a tiny tech incubator, and brought together the three boys whose fratty bond would eventually lead to the creation of Snapchat (after one was betrayed and screwed out of the deal, of course). Emails obtained by Valleywag show a slightly younger Spiegel shifting seamlessly from entrepreneur to a guy trying very hard to get girls so drunk, they might have sex with his friends. Who needs Y Combinator when you've got a stripper pole, your dad's swanky house in L.A., and some cocaine?
The screenshots below are cropped but otherwise unedited, except for phone numbers and the names of some Stanford alumni, which have been redacted at their request.
"Hope at least six girls sucked your dicks last night."
Fwd: Stripper Pole
"ACTION NEEDED... TO GET PI PHIS FUCKED UP"
Remember how we captured memories before Snapchat?
"Have some girl put your large kappa sigma dick down her throat."
"sigma nu decided to stop being gay"
"Papa Spiegel is liable for underage drinking, he's cool with it but probably not a good idea to take handles to the face." This same elder Spiegel lent his home to the Snapchat team as an improvised office during its early days.
Nothing like a fun Sally Hemmings theme for a party.
"Bobby is really high now." That would be Bobby Murphy, the co-founder who didn't get kicked out of the company.
In the midst of all this, here's a professional email from Spiegel, without any talk of sucked dicks or blacking out, as he looks for help with FutureFreshman. This endeavor would soon fail, turn into Picaboo, and transform into the mega-valued Snapchat of today.
And then, back to talking about shooting "lazers at fat girls."
What "gaytitties" means is anyone's guess, but "Dean Julie" is Julie Lythcott-Haims, who at the time served as associate vice provost for undergraduate education and dean of freshmen and undergraduate advising. Snapchat has long shared a close, almost affectionate relationship with Stanford.
Maybe you can chalk this up to youthful indiscretion—but you can't discard it as such. Silicon Valley worships youthfulness, adores the scofflaw, the pirate, the reckless kid. Investors and Valley pundits seek out boys like Spiegel, "where's my bong?" emails and all, on the assumption that the same lightning that zapped Zuckerberg will continue to strike, and strike, and strike. But if the bazillions swirling around tech companies and their boy-king founders is going to continue to flow, we need to remind ourselves who exactly these kids are. And maybe, upon reflection, maybe, offering billions of dollars to children is not always prudent.
Image by Sam Woolley
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