Eric Leebow is a self-proclaimed "Internet visionary" and the CEO of Freezecrowd. According to Leebow, Freezecrowd is like an online college yearbook, where one can "tag" people in photos and view their friends list. Sound familiar? Inside, Leebow is exposed.
Leebow has been pushing Freezecrowd to venture capitalists, invention contests, college students—anyone who will listen, really—for years. Here's a video Leebow recently made for the US Chamber of Commerce-sponsored I Am Free Enterprise video contest, wherein he explains his Facebook-killing vision.
Once you stop laughing, you'll probably ask, "Can this possibly be real?" Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you're into schadenfreude), it appears that Leebow's vision—and his years-long persistence to get anyone to come on board with him—is legit, and there's a giant thread on Reddit that proves it.
In a thread titled, "Why the CEO of freezecrowd thinks he can get away with paying developers nothing," Reddit user explicit_innuendo tells the story of his encounter with Leebow:
I met the CEO of freezecrowd a bit over a year ago, in a bar, at a gathering of vegans. I'm not sure why he was there, he ate meat and asked questions like "do you guys eat fish?"
He is an internet visionary - his linkedin page even says so. He also has many patents pending and wants to be on Oprah.
Freezecrowd is his brainchild - it's a "facebook killer". It's just like facebook, but with THE BUTTON. Upon hearing I was a programmer, he attempted to recruit me, luring me in with tales of J2E based architecture. No pay, mind you, but he would give me a generous 5% equity stake.
He's been looking for a free programmer for the past year. He hasn't found one.
His job ad is not indicative of managers thinking developers are worth nothing, this is not a sign of a bad economy, or supply outpacing demand. It's just a sign that any moron can post a job ad.
I will note that his startup has made progress. Their "launching soon" page can now be viewed in Firefox.
So, what do 11 years and countless sales pitches produce? Well, this:
Following explicit_innuendo's account of his encounter with Leebow, and as is often the case on Reddit, the thread opened a treasure trove of replies from people far and wide, including user rbcb, a venture capitalist who had this to say about an encounter with Leebow:
WOW! I remember him coming to our VC firm and pitching this to us.
First off, this was about 3 years ago. So he's been in "coming soon..." mode since then.
Second, he said how he made a lot of money on google stock, but then lost it all paying for developers and in return got a half made project.
Third, he mentioned how this was going to destroy facebook, because you can basically tag people in a photo and see what other people they're friends with. When I alerted him that facebook already has this, he said that he thought of it first. I told him that's not really a good business model.
Fourth, after I told him our firm was not interested, he then e-mailed and called constantly trying to convince me that we were making a mistake. It got to the point that I was scared he'd just snap one day and come back shooting.
Basically, Leebow is yet another deluded "entrepreneur" who believes an idea he claims to have had 10 years ago—but was made a reality by Facebook in 2004—is still not only relevant, but also deserving of capital, because, you know, HE THOUGHT OF IT FIRST!!!11!!!ELEVEN
If you're wondering why Leebow persists with his push to make Freezecrowd a reality, even when it's apparent that the idea will never come to fruition (at least not successfully), he's quick to mention "The Button." What is this mysterious button? explicit_innuendo explained further down in the Reddit thread:
It's some kind of gadget you buy. I expect he has now reimagined it as an iphone app.
Basically, you are out partying, you push THE BUTTON and so does everyone else, and then freezecrowd uses machine learning and social network graphs and geographic data and buzzwords to somehow learn who you are partying with and out awesome facebook.
Where do I send the check?
One more thing: for even more hilarity, check out Leebow's Twitter page, on which he essentially talks to himself in an attempt to convince his better judgment that Freezecrowd will happen. Here's one of the many recent ~inspirational tweets~ of Leebow's:
Hey, Leebow: stop trying to make Freezecrowd happen. IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.
Update: It seems Leebow's Freezecrowd pitching extends to celebrities, too. Last week, he twittered links to the above video to both actor Jaleel White (better known as Steve Urkel from Family Matters) and actual entrepreneur Mark Cuban (who Leebow enticed with an @reply that suggested his Freezecrowd video was a "basketball shot"). Check them out: