Jason Sadler…I mean Jason HeadsetsDotCom…no wait, I really meant Jason Surfrapp, is not your typical entrepreneur. In 2012, Jason sold his last name for $45,500 to a San Francisco company called Headsets.com, and became known as Jason HeadsetsDotCom. For 2014, Jason once again sold his last name and is now legally Jason Surfrapp, raking in a whopping $50,000 from the West Palm Beach startup who created an app that helps people log their surf sessions at 8,000 spots around the world.
Despite what some might think about Jason’s nontraditional business methods, which also include a business called IWearYourShirt.com, this guy is a genius. Recently, Jason reached out to Void, expressing his interest in sharing his life story and recent business exploits.
“Throughout my life, I’ve had three separate last names, none of which have carried any real meaning for me or my sense of identity,” Jason said. “So in April of 2012 when my mom let me know she’d be going through a divorce, it occurred to me that shedding my last name might actually make a lot of sense for me. Though I’m incredibly close with the members of my family, I’ve never gotten my sense of self from any family lineage or last name. Instead, my sense of self has come from the hard work I’ve put in to build my company from scratch and from the amazing relationships I’ve fostered with businesses I care about.”
Though some people might think selling your last name is a “grand sell-out” of sorts, Jason said it’s actually just the next logical step in his business and life. “I love brands – especially those that are willing to push the envelope – and I take pride in giving them different creative opportunities to get seen, this opportunity included.”
What some people may find even more surprising, is that his unorthodox method of advertising actually works, and quite well. In the first three months of 2013, Headsets.com saw an increase in sales of $250,000 including huge spikes in traffic to their website. Jason said in the aftermath several different media outlets from around the world wanted to talk to their CEO, Mike Faith, and he told them it was “the best $45k I’ve ever spent!”
With Jason’s initial business endeavours achieving so much success, and his plan to eventually write a book about his entrepreneurial adventures, Jason decided to auction off his last name one last time. The 2013 auction didn’t disappoint with five times the total number of bids when compared to his first auction and a final winning price of $50,000, the winners of course being the two guys from SurfrApp.
Jason said he plans to continue working with SurfrApp, though the terms and conditions on his website basically exempt him from doing any actual work for the company who buys his last name, you know…other than changing his last name. “I’ll be helping them with their mission to get surfers to log their surf sessions through the app, and promote doing social good while surfing one of 8,000 surf spots around the world. They were also excited that 10% of the auction went to a charity called WaterIsLife which will help 500 people get clean drinking water for a year. Not only are the Surfr guys planning to teach me how to surf, I haven’t tried since I was 12 years old and lived in southern California, but we’re also planning four sponsored surf trips around the world in 2014. We hope to have some fun, create some awesome content for the Surfr community, and help a bunch of non-profit organizations and charities along the way. It should be a blast!”
Unfortunately for businesses looking for innovative ways to advertise, Jason said he doesn’t plan on selling his name again. “When I did it in 2012, I didn’t know if I would do it a second time. After the success Headsets.com saw and because I knew I was going to write a book this year, I figured I might as well do it a second and final time.”
So what does Jason’s significant other think of all this? “I’m not married, but do have an amazing girlfriend,” Jason said. “We’ve lived together for three years and she worked for my previous business IWearYourShirt. After the first last name auction, we decided any nuptials will wait until I’m done taking on corporate last names. Luckily she’s super supportive, so I don’t think she’d have a problem becoming Mrs. SurfrApp this year, but we’re not in any rush to get married.”