Connected Ventures cofounder Zach Klein did fly out to California to interview for a gig at MySpace, but it wasn't the right fit for him. Or he wasn't the right fit for MySpace. Hard to tell which. So what's the designer behind BustedTees and Vimeo up to next? Think geckos and real estate.
Seventeen years old and trying to figure out how to pay for college, Klein started an online pet store in the late '90s. He designed an online store front, took orders, and mailed a daily manifest to a breeder located near the Miami airport. He made enough cash to pay for a Wake Forest degree, too. The success gave him a taste for using the Internet to sell things. You know, actual things, not just advertising.
Which is good, because without BustedTees — Connected Ventures's online T-shirt shop — CollegeHumor.com might never have become what it is today, a sparkly gem in Barry Diller's IAC tiara. Early on, the CV founders noticed that many of CollegeHumor's advertisers were T-shirt retailers. They decided to cut out the middleman and sell their own shirts. Klein lead the charge, and BustedTees became CV's most significant source of profit.
That might not be the case anymore, but the memory of success stayed with Klein. In fact, he told me the act of creating something offline and selling it online was his most fulfilling responsibility at Connected Ventures. So expect more of that. What's Klein going to sell? He wouldn't say; he only hinted it might have to do with real estate in an online world. Or selling geckos.