Mahbod Moghadam

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Mahbod Moghadam

Mahbod Moghadam, an American internet entrepreneur, left an indelible mark on the digital landscape during his lifetime. Born on November 17, 1982, Moghadam ventured into the online realm with his co-founding of Rap Genius, now known as Genius, in 2009 alongside Tom Lehman and Ilan Zechory. This platform revolutionized how users engaged with music by enabling them to submit annotations and interpretations of song lyrics and other content.

In 2015, Mahbod Moghadam embarked on another entrepreneurial journey by co-founding Everipedia with Sam Kazemian and Theodor Forselius. Everipedia, a wiki-based online encyclopedia, quickly gained traction as a hub for knowledge-sharing. Moghadam played a pivotal role in shaping the platform’s community as its Chief Community Officer for several years.

Despite his significant contributions to Everipedia, Moghadam’s entrepreneurial spirit continued to drive him forward. Following his tenure at Everipedia, he transitioned to the role of an entrepreneur-in-residence at the esteemed venture capital firm Mucker Capital. Subsequently, he immersed himself in the world of cryptocurrency with HellaDoge, a social network based on cryptocurrency.

However, Mahbod Moghadam faced personal challenges along his journey. In September 2018, he encountered a formidable obstacle when he experienced an epileptic seizure attributed to a second brain tumor. Undeterred, Moghadam underwent brain surgery later that month, demonstrating his resilience in the face of adversity.

Mahbod Moghadam’s legacy as an internet entrepreneur and innovator endures, leaving an indelible imprint on the digital landscape. Through his pioneering ventures and unwavering determination, he continues to inspire generations to push the boundaries of possibility in the ever-evolving realm of technology and entrepreneurship.

Baskin, Louisiana, U.S.

Baskin, Louisiana, U.S.
Mahbod Moghadam
NameMahbod Moghadam
Date of BirthNovember 17, 1982
Birth PlaceN/A
DiedMarch 2024 (aged 41)
NationalityAmerican
ProfessionInternet Entrepreneur
Alma Mater
  • Yale University (BA)
  • Stanford Law School (JD)
Education
  • Stanford Law School (2005–2008)
  • Stanford Law School (2008)
  • Yale University (2004)
Known
  • Co-founder of Everipedia
  • Co-founder of Genius
Employer
  •  Everipedia (2015–2019)
  • Genius (2009–2014)

Early life

Mahbod Moghadam, born into an Iranian Jewish family on November 17, 1982, spent his formative years in Encino, California, after his family immigrated from Iran to the United States just before his birth.

His academic journey led him to Yale University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in History and International Studies in 2004. Demonstrating a commitment to academic excellence and cross-cultural understanding, he ventured to France in 2005 as a recipient of the prestigious Fulbright scholarship. Upon his return the same year, Mahbod Moghadam embarked on his legal education at Stanford Law School, obtaining his J.D. in 2008.

His diverse educational background and international experiences have undoubtedly shaped Moghadam into the accomplished individual he is today, equipped with a nuanced understanding of history, culture, and law.

Career

After completing his law degree in 2008, Mahbod Moghadam embarked on his legal career, joining the prestigious law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf. However, the tumultuous economic climate of 2009 led to many firms implementing measures such as placing junior staff on “deferral,” a scheme offering partial pay in exchange for time off to pursue other opportunities. During this period, Moghadam found himself on deferral from Dewey & LeBoeuf and secured an internship at Berkshire Hathaway in Omaha, Nebraska. Unfortunately, just before commencing his internship, an incident involving a satirical memo he had penned and published on his blog, aimed at “Ballstate Insurance Company” (a playful nod to Dewey & LeBoeuf’s client, Allstate Insurance), led to his dismissal from Dewey & LeBoeuf.

Undeterred by this setback, Mahbod Moghadam, along with Tom Lehman and Ilan Zechory, ventured into the entrepreneurial realm and founded Rap Genius in August 2009. Initially conceived as a platform for annotating and interpreting song lyrics, Rap Genius quickly gained traction. Moghadam’s pivotal role in the site’s inception was evident when he elucidated Cam’ron’s cryptic lyric “80 holes in your shirt, there: your own Jamaican clothes” to Lehman, inspiring the creation of the platform.

The success of Rap Genius garnered Mahbod Moghadam recognition, culminating in his inclusion in the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2013, alongside his fellow co-founders. Subsequent years saw the platform transform, rebranding as Genius in 2014 and broadening its scope to encompass annotations for news articles, poetry, and various documents. However, controversy arose in the same year when Moghadam faced backlash for his annotations on the manifesto of the perpetrator of the 2014 Isla Vista killings, characterizing it as “beautifully written.” His remarks were widely condemned as insensitive and misogynistic, prompting his resignation from Genius.

Despite his significant contributions to the platform’s success, Moghadam found himself embroiled in further adversity in 2021, expressing frustration over the acquisition of Genius by MediaLab, a deal that reportedly left him without financial compensation while enriching Lehman and Zechory.

This journey reflects Mahbod Moghadam’s resilience in the face of challenges, from navigating the legal landscape to pioneering a groundbreaking platform, showcasing both his entrepreneurial spirit and his capacity to weather storms.

Other

After departing from Genius, Mahbod Moghadam sparked an online uproar with his article on Thought Catalog titled “How To Steal From Whole Foods”. The piece was later removed by Thought Catalog, along with other contributions Moghadam had made to the platform.

In 2015, Mahbod Moghadam crossed paths with Sam Kazemian, leading to their collaboration as co-founders at Everipedia, an online encyclopedia that operates on blockchain and wiki principles. Moghadam assumed the role of Chief Community Officer alongside Kazemian. However, his tenure at Everipedia concluded in 2019.

Transitioning to a new venture, Mahbod Moghadam ventured into the realm of venture capital at Mucker Capital in 2019. Subsequently, he ventured into the world of cryptocurrency by spearheading HellaDoge, a social media platform centered on the Dogecoin cryptocurrency.

Personal life

Mahbod Moghadam was widely recognized for his eccentric personality and unconventional behavior. One notable incident occurred in 2013 when he made headlines for directing vulgar remarks towards Mark Zuckerberg in an interview and Warren Buffett in a tweet, followed by a public apology during the TechCrunch Disrupt New York conference. Later, he revealed that some of his actions were influenced by the presence of a benign brain tumor, which was diagnosed and removed in the same year.

In August 2018, Mahbod Moghadam made an appearance on Sacha Baron Cohen’s show, “Who is America?”. Unaware of Cohen’s true intentions, Moghadam found himself in an awkward situation, believing he was participating in a photo shoot with a persona named Gio. During the encounter, Moghadam was prompted to perform gestures associated with the Bloods gang and mimic shooting a gun, under the guise of “doing something like a black guy.” Subsequently, Cohen manipulated footage of Moghadam to depict him in absurd scenarios, such as feeding starving children.

Tragically, in September 2018, Moghadam experienced an epileptic seizure attributed to a second brain tumor, leading to subsequent brain surgery.

In a somber turn of events, Mahbod Moghadam passed away in March 2024 at the age of 41, succumbing to complications arising from his recurring brain tumor. His life was marked by moments of controversy and adversity, yet his legacy endures in the tech community.

Awards and Nominations

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