Now that they’ve sold Instagram (aka, Picture Twitter) to Facebook for $1 billion, founders Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom are probably sitting by a pool, high-fiving each other with with the severed hands of a thousand serfs. While they made their fortune in an unprecedentedly short time — Instagram was 551 days old when Facebook bought it — they’re not the only people who’ve unexpectedly struck it rich.
So if you want to make a fast fortune, take a lesson from these examples.
INVISIBLE CHILDREN’S KONY 2012
Film a C+ documentary urging people to take social action by donating money. Promote the project with an A+ marketing campaign. Do not strip naked and publicly lose your sh!t afterwards (optional).
Payday: About $4 million
Cut the legs off of pantyhose. Sell what’s left.
Payday: $1 billion
Purchase 80 acres of Louisiana swampland. Avoid hungry gators until oil companies discover massive natural gas deposits under the ground.
Payday: $57.6 million
THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT
Film a few of your friends running around the woods at night, screaming.
Payday: $140 million
Find a bunch of rocks. Turn around and sell them.
Payday: $15 million in 6 months
Buy a bunch of off-brand cereal. Turn around and sell it at restaurants that serve only cereal.
Payday: Enough to open restaurants in several cities
12-YEAR-OLD ENTREPRENEUR CAMERON JOHNSON
Buy a bunch of Beanie Babies. Turn around and sell them at a markup.
Payday: $3-4 million a month
Buy a bunch of swimming goggles. Turn around and sell them at a mark-up as “swimming goggles — for dogs.”
Payday: $5 million a month