An Interview With Mahbod Moghadam
George Beall, an entrepreneur who left Wharton to pursue a personal startup, interviews Mahbod Moghadam, a co-founder of Rap Genius (genius.com) and currently is heading Everipedia.
GB: If you had to go all the way back to senior year of high school would you have still chosen Yale→ Stanford→ lawyer→ RapGenius→ Everipedia
MM: I feel like my entire LOIFE up until this point has been in preparation for Everipedia. Rap Genius was just the WARM UP. At Rap Genius, I had to deal with my a**hole cofounders, who wouldn’t let me apply the lessons I learned in law school. Ilan Zechory was the worst perpetrator – his attitude was basically that because my skin is dark, I’m not allowed to make any business or finance decisions. At Everipedia, I am the “adult” of the crew, so I am constantly looking at things from a legal perspective. I’m not just the mascot anymore!
So now, I have no doubt that the student loans were worth it. Plus Stanford is basically the coolest place in the world – I miss the gym!
GB: What is your favorite city in the US?
MM: I really like San Francisco. The tech dweebs are ruining it, unfortunately, but I don’t think any city in the U.S. is as cosmopolitan as SF. It feels like Europe. Also I love the hippies there, everyone does drugs. I can’t even imagine how cool SF must have been before tech people began to ruin it – I wish I could have lived there in the 80s!
GB: What was your favorite class in college?
MM: I learned the history of IRAN from Professor Abbas Amanat. It was an amazing experience, brought me back to my roots. Before I took that course, I went by the name “Matt” – it was my fake white name. Professor Amanat restored my pride in my Persian name, and I switched back to “Mahbod” at age 19 (it means “Moon Power”).
I also took Intensive French with Pierre Capretz, who is the most famous French teacher of all time. God rest his soul! He was 90 when I took his class, he retired the year after, so I really lucked out. French became my passion after taking his class, and I ended up spending a year in France after college as a Fulbright scholar.
GB: What made you go gluten/sugar-free?
MM: I’m allergic to gluten.. but that is not the scourge of humanity. SUGAR is the scourge of humanity. It is our poison, we are literally ruining our society with our consumption of sugar. I think sugar is evil! No one is allowed to eat it at Everipedia HQ – it was the same at Rap Genius too. When I start a company, it is a paleo company, to the core.
GB: What apps are on your phone?
GB: Best advice for college kids?
MM: Don’t smoke weed! Just stay away from it. Spend your time learning! Also, consider joining Everipedia! You can become a “campus rep” – it is the highest accolade you can earn during your tenure, to be honest! http://everipedia.com/register