The Men Behind MySpace: How Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson First Met

“It sounds crazy,” says Chris DeWolfe, “but even in the first plan that I wrote up, I mentioned AOL, Yahoo! and Hotmail, knowing we would be big. And it’s crazy to think that it happened.”

Together, Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson have over 200 million “friends” and chances are you might be one of them. The two buddies are the brains behind MySpace.com, the online networking site that has taken the world by storm. The second venture for the pair, DeWolfe and Anderson’s first company was sold for several million dollars. Now, MySpace.com, which allows members to create interactive profiles, blogs, and post just about anything they want, is the sixth most popular website in the world, and the third most popular in the U.S. But it was a business that almost never got started.

Anderson was born on October 13, 1975 in San Diego, California. His father was an entrepreneur, who he says, “had one crazy idea after another.” Anderson wanted nothing to do with the business world, rebelling in his own way by studying English and Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley, and playing in various indie music bands. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1998, Anderson enrolled in film school at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he graduated in 2000 with his Masters degree.

Christopher T. DeWolfe was born in 1966 in Portland, Oregon. Both of his parents were teachers, but DeWolfe was determined not to follow in their footsteps. He chose instead to enroll in the business program at the University of Washington, where he earned his Bachelors of Finance degree. He later received his MBA from the USC Marshall School of Business.

When the two young minds first met, they were both intrigued by the buzz going on around them in Silicon Valley. “We met about seven or eight years ago during the beginning of that Internet boom,” says De Wolfe. Both were working at the same dot-com startup. While DeWolfe was enjoying his position as a marketing executive, Anderson was less than happy in his lesser position.

Dissatisfied with his boss, Anderson was getting ready to quit his job. That is, until he met De Wolfe. “Chris kind of rescued me and pulled me into his department, and said, ‘Don’t leave,’” recalls Anderson. “And that’s sort of where we started out.”

Had Anderson quit his job that day instead of bumping into DeWolfe MySpace never would have happened. Luckily for the two, however, they formed a fast friendship, which would take both of them in new creative directions.

“Tom has a million ideas, and some of them are pretty good,” says DeWolfe. “Some of them are a little wacky. But oh, this one was just a phenomenal idea.”

What was Anderson’s “phenomenal idea?” “At a basic level, it’s just like e-mail on steroids or something,” says Anderson. “You can find everybody, and it’s got pictures, and you can talk to a bunch of people at once. It's cool.”

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