Silicon Valley has seen more than its share of self-involved entrepreneurs over the years, but Gurbaksh Chahal, the 26-year-old founder of ad network BlueLithium, is beginning to make the lot of them look like amateurs.
Even before selling BlueLithium to Yahoo last fall for a stunning $300 million, Chahal was driving a Bentley around town, calling a luxurious condo in San Jose home, and generally living like a king because of another ad network he founded and sold, for $40 million, at age 18. (I’d live like a roller, too, if I’d pulled off something like that.)
To say that he has taken things up a notch since would be seriously understating the situation.
First came the personal Website. He then announced that he was publishing a memoir titled, simply, The Dream. Soon after, the William Morris Talent Agency signed Chahal, and out went a press release that placed “G,” as he likes to be called, squarely in the company of Bill Gates, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin.
By spring, SFLuxe.com, a site for socialites, was taking us on a tour through Chahal’s $6.9 million San Francisco penthouse. Unfortunately, the tour included his bedroom, with its gilded headboard, emblazoned with a G. (Get it, biotches? I’m rich!)
Now, Nicholas Carlson of Valleywag is reporting that Chahal will appear in a new Fox series called “The Secret Millionaire.”
Here’s the premise: Each week, someone wealthy (a person in the “triple-digit-million range,” say the show’s producers) is dropped into a poor, crime-infested neighborhood for a week. Going in “undercover,” the show says that his job is to “meet as many people as possible – some of whom will touch the millionaire with their dedication to helping others while others will have incredible stories of trying to overcome tremendous odds” — and apparently failing, or they wouldn’t be living in crack central.
Never mind that depressing business, though! Because on the final day of these inspirational shows, each Secret Millionaire will meet with those who were nicest to him during his charade, reveal to them how loaded he is, then give his new, destitute friends “a sum of money that is going to change their lives forever.” I, for one, can’t wait to watch.
Chalal is not a vainglorious jerk in person; I met him once and remember him as very likable. His personal assistant even told SFLuxe that Chahal “saved me.”
Still, the site, the book, that penthouse, the show — it’s becoming downright gruesome. Someone needs to step in. A parent. A girlfriend. A new decorator. Someone strong enough to right this ship before Chahal does something that we will all regret for the rest of our lives: ABC’s “The Bachelor.”