It would have been easy for Douglas Murphy to travel down a much different life journey. Few who have experienced the same childhood circumstances as he did have found success. And yet, throughout his life he has continued to persevere, and that can be attributed to a strong work ethic, an imaginative thought process, and some fortunate decisions. This has all led to him turning dreams into reality. But success rarely happens overnight. How did Murphy solidify his spot as one of the nation’s most successful young entrepreneurs? You will have to understand his full story to answer that.
Where Murphy’s Passion for Entrepreneurship Began
Douglas L. Murphy’s story began on February 16, 1993, in Miami, Florida. Though never married, both of his parents—Derek Maurice Gray and Cicely Rambo—were overjoyed to welcome Murphy into the world. For nearly the first 10 years of his life, he lived in the Miami area. And then tragedy struck. Shortly before Murphy’s 10th birthday, his father suddenly passed away. The unexpected death sent traumatic shockwaves through the family, uprooting what Murphy had considered his normal life.
After his father’s passing, Murphy and his mother relocated to Orlando, where they lived for another six years before moving again, this time across the country to Los Angeles, California. Dealing with so much trauma and uncertainty would leave many kids in vulnerable positions, unable to climb out of the chaos and find stable footing for moving forward with their dreams. But Murphy is built differently.
Throughout his life, he has always had a love for the intricacies and strategies that come with running a business. His first stab at operating his own startup was, like most young kids, with a small lemonade stand in the yard. He and his five brothers gathered wood—sturdy oak—and assembled the stand themselves. The effort proved to be worthwhile: Murphy earned his first $100. This experience and success as a youngster was the seed he needed for his later passion for technology to flourish.
Around age 12, Murphy’s love for computers began to take shape when he and one of his brothers built their first desktop modem from old used Dell parts. It proved to be the best summer of their lives, watching their passions turn into achievable success. They even started an eBay store, though that did not last long—the company made the boys close the store because they were too young. However, they were able to keep the revenue they generated prior to the store closing, a story Murphy laughs about as he reminisces.
How Murphy Turned a Dream into $1 Million
As Murphy’s interests and experiences grew, he expanded his technological skills into engineering systems and creative design, which ultimately led to software development. Unfortunately, breaking into the field proved more difficult than he had imagined, forcing him to take a series of odd jobs in restaurants, door-to-door sales, and even being an extra in Paramount films on weekends. Murphy’s big break finally came while he was working as a bartender’s assistant in Downtown LA. That’s where he met Tyler Hansen, one of the chief executives at Periscope.com, a newly-founded startup by Kayvon Beykpour and Joe Bernstein. He could feel his luck begin to change.
Murphy’s hard work to quickly learn the new coding skills proved to be invaluable. Just a few months after his promotion, Periscope was sold to Twitter for $100 million. Being only the 27th employee for the company, Murphy received $1.2 million in compensation—$500,000 in cash and the rest in stock equity residuals.
What’s Next for Murphy
Many people would read of Murphy’s accomplishments and make the mistake of assuming that his life story has been written. But Murphy isn’t wired to think that way. While proud of the success he has earned up to this point in his life, he is, in every sense of the expression, just getting started. One dream he has held for many years is to build his own startup, solidifying his place as a serial entrepreneur. That quest has now been completed, as Murphy has founded multiple startups. One, called AutoDock, is an automotive device that will help combat distracted driving. Another, Hi-Fi, is an internet provider in the American Southwest.
At the core of Murphy’s story is something altogether familiar and yet distant: the American Dream. Born to very humble beginnings, hard work, intelligence, and a relentless mindset have allowed him to thrive and rise in the tech industry and become a young mogul—a term he wears proudly. What he has accomplished thus far has merely been a chapter in his story, the beginning. With Murphy, there is always something even more exciting on the next page.