Sock it to 'em, Alex

7th October 2005 at 01:00
"It is so hard learning to act rich, don't you find?" Alex Tew, a 21-year-old business student, has made pound;150, 000 by selling space on his website, called The Million Dollar Homepage. He plans to pay his way through university and give his parents a break. His other priority is socks. But when he faced a lovely pair in Selfridges costing pound;20, he couldn't splurge. "I thought it was a rip-off," he told the Diary. He opted instead for some with a pixel design of Space Invader icons for pound;2.

The pixel design is apt, for Alex had a brainwave to raise $1 million (it sounds better than pound;1m) by selling pixels on his website - for a dollar each, in 100-pixel blocks. Any fewer would be too small to display anything meaningful. By Tuesday, he had sold more than 250,000.

Alex, who has come late to studying after two years as a vocal percussionist (he once performed in EastEnders), working at Tesco's and travelling, has just started a business management degree in at Nottingham university. But what could a degree teach him that he didn't already know? "There's more than one reason to be at university," he says. "Getting a degree is only one part of it. I'll have insights at university that I won't necessarily have outside."

Meanwhile, the dollars roll in and an accountant is busy working out how much tax he owes. He should have enough to keep himself in baked beans, but "after that I've got lots of business ideas I want to invest in. There's lots more to come from me," he warns.

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