In an age of constant connectivity, it’s not uncommon to crowdsource a decision, asking friends, family and strangers on the internet for advice on mundane choices. But Mike Merrill has taken this idea to its logical extreme.
In 2008, Merrill launched KmikeyM, a corporate-alter-ego-slash-trading-platform, where investors can purchase stock that gives them voting power over Merrill’s life choices. Anyone can buy or sell their shares in KmikeyM, and the more shares you own, the more votes you get in deciding what Merrill does with his time. The votes themselves range from whether Merrill should grow a beard, to whether he should get a vasectomy.
Merrill’s project occupies a strange space between art, self-promotion and self-improvement. But the application of stock market logic to one’s own life raises interesting questions about power and money in a capitalist society.
VICE visited Merrill in Los Angeles to see how this experiment actually works and why he wants to keep it going.