The Story of a Snapchat Millionaire.
You know the little black dots populating your Snapchat icon that allow other users to scan and discover you with just their smartphone camera?
One of the men who designed the technology behind that is now off on a never-ending vacation with his wife and their two children.
Snapchat acquired Scan, the company Garrett Gee cofounded with a handful of college friends, in 2014 for $54 million. That technology was developed into Snapcode.
The 26-year-old took his cut from the sale and has since moved on to other endeavors, including taking a seemingly never-ending trip around the world with his family.
Although they have money from the sale to Snapchat in the bank account, Gee told Business Insider that they haven’t touched it. Instead, they used $45,000 they earned when they sold all of their belongings in a garage sale to finance a six-month trip around the world.
But somewhere along the way, Gee decided that if at the end of six months they hadn’t spent all of that money and could find a way to make their traveling sustainable without having to draw on money in the bank, they would just continue to travel. With lots of planning and frugal spending habits, like always buying the cheapest flights, when they hit the sixth-month mark in December, they still had money to spare.
After he sold his stake in Scan to Snapchat, Gee realized that something he had poured his heart and soul into could disappear just like that. With that in mind, he recalled something that Naval Ravikant, the CEO and cofounder of AngelList, had said to him: “If you are young, one of the best things you can do is build a brand around yourself.”
And so, through The Bucket List Family, that’s exactly what he has done — build a brand around the faces, voices and adventures of him and his family by combining his love of photography and videography and pulling snippets from his journal to share with the internet. Gee said that the The Bucket List Family not only makes their nomadic lifestyle more sustainable, but also has allowed him to build a business around the kind of life he wants.
Gee said a personal brand is something no one can take away — something no one can acquire or dismantle for parts.
‘I never really considered myself a businessman’
If his family’s life traveling around the world is a little unconventional, it reflects the approach Gee has taken to much of his life.
The Bucket List Family
Although now he’s successful, Gee said school never came naturally to him.
“I was a very poor student,” Gee said. “What you needed to do in school to get a good grade. That stuff was difficult for me.”
While Gee struggled with homework and tests, he realized he could easily motivate himself to work on things that actually interested him. So when he attended Brigham Young University, which doesn’t offer students the option to design their own degrees, he decided to enroll anyway in the courses that interested him.
His advisers told him, “You know, at the end of this you’re not going to have a degree.”
Gee’s response? He was there to get an education, not a degree.
When he and his team initially moved to the Bay Area to continue building Scan, Gee was hyped. But soon he found that living in the heat of the tech scene limited the time he felt he could devote to the things that mattered to him the most, like spending time with his family or on his own physical well-being. While he loved what he was doing, Gee said he didn’t like the path he was on, and he told his cofounders he wanted to move back to Utah.
They agreed, but asked that he help raise money beforehand. A 2013 appearance on “Shark Tank” looking for an investment ultimately brought Scan to the attention of Snapchat.
“I never really considered myself a businessman — I enjoyed the creative and entrepreneurial side,” the part that can drive life forward, he said. “I’m really good at the stuff I care about.”
For now, that means focusing on his adventures with his family. He confirmed that he also has another app in the works.
To take a look at his family’s adventures, scroll below or check out their website.