Technology has been advancing at a rapid rate, but the costs associated with the development of new gadgets can be exorbitant. When a new device is released, the initial cost can slow adoption of the device into the mainstream. We all love our new tech, but many of us can’t always afford to buy the newest gadgets, let alone spend enough cash to make a worthwhile investment.
That’s where celebrities come in. Just like the common people, many celebrities have an undying love for new tech. The difference is, these technophiles are able to make a real splash in the tech world. Many celebrity geeks have been making important investments in new gadgets, spurning the development of new tech, while others have even taken more upfront roles.
10. John Mayer
The singer-songwriter John Mayer became infamous for his obsession with Twitter, where he allowed himself to go off on rants that often put him in the hot seat. While he had to force himself to quit the social network, abandoning his 3.7 million followers, that does not mean that he gave up on technology at all. Even when he quit Twitter, he went right to Tumblr to post photos. He’s also returned to Twitter since then.
Of course, using Twitter doesn’t dub Mayer is tech obsessed, but how about being friends with former Apple CEO Steve Jobs? Jobs and Mayer used to be close friends, that is until Mayer’s tech love got the better of him and he signed on as a spokesperson for Apple’s competitor Blackberry. His familiarity with Apple products also became quite a hit when a video of him providing his father with tech support hit the web.
Another musician that has been known for his love of new technology is U2’s frontman, Bono. As a fan of technology, Bono co-founded Elevation Partners, an investment agency that has invested in Yelp, Facebook and Dropbox. Their investment portfolio has been extremely successful, making millions. Bono has had a close relationship with the founders of Dropbox, having met them when they were working on a music app for Facebook. As a philanthropist, Bono has spoken lengthily on how technology can play an important role in ending poverty and social injustices.
8. M.C. Hammer
While hammers and electronics definitely should not be mixed, 90’s rap star M.C. Hammer has found that mingling with tech works just fine for him. Hammer rose to fame quickly in the 90’s, but quickly found himself filing for bankruptcy. His activities with the internet may seem like an attempt to regain lost fame, but it’s actually another passion of his.
Hammer has been attending tech conferences since the early days. His forward thinking saw the internet as a potential platform for music early on, and pushed him to be involved with Youtube when it was first started. He has even started his own Youtube styled website for dancers, Dance Jam. Unfortunately, the website is no longer up and running. He’s been known to do promotional work for tech companies, but what is most impressive is his role as a speaker at Stanford on the topic of social media.
7. Tim Ferriss
It really isn’t much of a surprise that best-selling author Tim Ferriss is a technology fanatic. While he’s best known for his books The 4-Hour Workweek and The 4-Hour Body, Ferriss is also a legend in the world of online entrepreneurs. Ferriss’ career got its start online with the web-based health supplement company BrainQUICKEN. As his career has continued to blow up, Ferriss has been taking the money he’s made and using it as an angel investor for web start ups. Some of the companies that he has invested in, and worked as an adviser to, include Facebook, Twitter, and Evernote.
6. Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake didn’t just play the role of wild boy internet businessman, Sean Parker, he’s an online entrepreneur himself. The musician turned actor must have taken his role as Parker seriously, as since then he’s become quite involved in the world of tech investment. As an investor, he’s put some of his millions into a few online companies. Companies like Stipple, which allows photographers to sell their work, and Miso Media, a group dedicated to revolutionizing music education, show that Timberlake’s interests still remain in the world of art and music. Unfortunately, Miso Media must have not received enough from Timberlake, as the company eventually ran out of funding.
Timberlake’s most impressive tech undertaking would be his involvement with the former social network titan, Myspace. Myspace was essentially killed off by its competitors, Facebook and Twitter. Timberlake and his partners, seeing an opening, invested millions into Myspace, with the hope of reviving the website and turning it into a social network specifically for musicians and their fans.
Another tech fanatic is the Black Eyed Peas singer/rapper, Will.i.am. Will.i.am’s name itself may be a shout out to the internet, as it even serves alone as his personal website.
In 2011, Will.i.am was appointed to the position of creative director for semiconductor chip giant Intel. Will.i.am is truly creative when it comes to technology. In 2012, he released a special iPhone case, i.am+ foto.soho, a special case that includes lens to turn an iPhone into a quality camera for artists. Reviews of the iPhone case haven’t been too positive, though, so maybe he should stick to music.
4. Shaquille O’neal
Shaquille O’neal, is one of the most recognized athletes in the world, but the former NBA star is also a tech aficionado. A diehard fan of gaming, Shaq admitted in an interview that he spends a whopping $1,000 a week on new apps!
In 2013, Shaq attended the tech convention SXSW for the first time. Before the convention, Shaq invited those registered for SXSW to give him 15 second elevator pitches for their products, hoping to get an investment from the NBA star. His investments in tech range far, and impressive. He bought a stake in Google before the company had even gone public, and he sits on the advisory board of Tout, a social media company.
3. Curt Schilling
While Shaquille O’neal is spending thousands on apps and deer hunting games, MLB star, Curt Schilling, had an even stronger addiction to video games. Schilling is a huge fan of the online games Everquest, and Ultima Online. These games are the epitome of fantasy games. Schilling was such a beloved player of Everquest that they eventually made him into a villain for players to hunt down.
Schilling’s love of video games goes much further than just playing them, and after his long run as a baseball player he started up his own video game studio, 38 Studios. Teamed up with a few major names from the fantasy world, such as R.A. Salvatore, Schilling’s studio released Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning in 2012. Schilling didn’t plan on stopping there, as his real dream was to bring his own contribution to the online gaming world.
Sadly, this dream was never accomplished. In what became one of the biggest controversies in the video game industry, 38 Studios fired its entire staff after not paying them for a month. It was revealed that they had defaulted on a massive loan from Rhode Island. The studio was forced to shut down, and its property recently auctioned off while Schilling undergoes a lawsuit by the state of Rhode Island. Schilling’s failed tech endeavor cost him his entire baseball fortune.
2. Ashton Kutcher
When Charlie Sheen‘s career took a downturn after a public meltdown in 2011, the producers of the popular sitcom Two and a Half Men were forced to replace him. When looking for someone to fill the empty role of Alan Harper’s millionaire sponsor, the producers went with Ashton Kutcher. In Kutcher’s new role as Walden Schmidt, he plays a wealthy tech developer and investor. What many don’t realize is that the role is not that far-fetched for Kutcher, as he plays a very similar one in the real world.
When it comes to social media, Kutcher is a king. In 2009, he became the first Twitter user to reach 1 million followers. Like many of the other people on this list, Kutcher is highly involved in tech investments. His venture capital company, A-Grade Investments, has invested in such companies as Skype, Foursquare, Vicarious and Secret.
Like Will.i.am, Kutcher doesn’t just invest in technology, he is also involved in its development. In 2013 Kutcher was appointed as a product engineer for the world’s largest PC manufacturer, Lenovo.
1. Masi Oka
While many of those on this list gained their role as tech lover, post celebrity fame, the Heroes star Masi Oka has been one from day one. With a rumored IQ of 180, Masi Oka may be a genius. He went to Ivy league Brown University where he graduated with a degree in computer science. After graduating, he got his start in show business, but not as an actor. Instead, he started out as a digital effects artist with George Lucas‘ digital effects studio, Industrial Light and Magic. While there he worked on such projects as the Star Wars prequels, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Hulk, War of the World, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.
He’s also an avid video game player, and besides continuing to pursue his acting career has also been working on developing his own video games for a Japanese audience. Most of his work seems to be focused on mobile gaming, a cheaper investment than trying to break into the hard shell of the console world, so hopefully he won’t go down the way of Curt Schilling.