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Most of all, he turns his knowledge and instincts toward Internet business strategy as a way, he says, of “re-architecting society. It’s technology, not business or government, that’s the real driving force behind large-scale societal shifts.” Indeed, Parker has such a superb track record for predicting where technology is headed (and which type of product and service will appeal to consumers) that companies often invite him to invest simply to tap his brain. “Few people are as smart as he is,” says Facebook’s Zuckerberg, aged 26, who still consults quite frequently with his former partner.
But, for all his Web-world savvy, Parker at times seems just as drawn to recreational indulgence. His is the life of programmer-as-rock-star—often spent among real-life rock stars—with the lifestyle that that implies. He routinely stays up very, very late, talking intensely about subjects he cares about and/or partying—and sleeps in much of the following day. Says San Francisco tech investor Ron Conway, a longtime friend, “The fact that Sean is so scattered yet so brilliant is something you just don’t see often. He’ll probably start another five really significant life-changing companies before he’s through.”