We often hear mumblings of ‘The Lifestyle’ in the tech world. I know this may be shocking to some, but it appears that rich people like having sex with lots of people and they also really like experimenting with drugs.
Whether were talking about Elon Musk having an affair with Google founder Sergey Brin’s wife, or the brains behind Oracle who now builds software for swingers parties, or just the pictures we see from Silicon Valley of promotions for such parties. It’s clear, that there is a sub culture in Silicon Valley that surrounding sex and drugs, which also can lead people to dark places.
This brings us to today’s story about Bob Lee, who carved a name for himself that echoed through the halls of innovation. He was the brains behind Cash App— an app that changed how many Americans use money.
Sadly, his name is now making headlines for a different reason. A supposed love affair gone wrong in San Francisco that ended his life too soon. Today we will dive into the rise of Cash App, Bob Lee’s exciting life, and unravel this story that sounds like an episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Units.
Bob Lee & the tech world
Lets dive in.
Bob Lee was a software engineer, business wunderkind and modern-day digital Da Vinci, if you will. Some might say he programmed his path to destiny when he crafted a 3D rendering engine in Turbo Pascal while still in high school. After a brief gig where he developed a safeguard against the Code Red worm in 2001, he joined the AT&T ranks as a technical architect.
Three years later, Bob made the leap to Google, where he assisted in the creation of the Android mobile operating system many of us use today. He was an investor in SpaceX, the rocket company run by Elon Musk, and Figma, the collaboration-software business acquired by Adobe for $20 billion last year.
Bob had his hands in a lot of tech that touched our lives. But the biggest one came when Square hired him in 2010, where he earned the title of chief technology officer after initially assisting with the firms Android app. Which today is used by all sorts of American’s and loved by, well, rappers.
The origins of Cash App
So what is cash app?
Launched in October 2013 under Square, Cash App had a singular mission: simplifying money transfers among friends and family.
Here’s the twist: while the digital realm was chock-full with online payment systems, Cash App cracked the code by approaching finance like a social network, owed in part to Square’s founder, Jack Dorsey, and his experience with developing that little known network called Twitter.
They saw what others missed: that money, like gossip, is fundamentally social. Its appeal laid in its user-friendly interface, speed, and simplicity, transferring money via a mobile number or email address without complex bank account details. It’s like sending a text but with cash – and everybody loves getting texts… and cash.
Poor credit scores? Minimal initial deposit? Not a problem for cash app. Cash App flipped the script on traditional finance, making money matters as simple and engaging as the latest viral cat video.
Popularity and success of Cash App
It wasn’t just inclusivity that catapulted Cash App to the top of the App Store. These folks got creative with their marketing, blending the kind of tactics that would make Don Draper envious.
Remember those Cash App Fridays? Who wouldn’t retweet for a chance at free cash or bitcoin?
Cash App then took it a step further. They saw how their app was being embraced by African American culture and they leaned into it. They had multiple rappers singing about their product like it was the next summer hit, and trust me, no one’s dropping bars about a Chase checking account.
Don’t believe me? Just take a look at what a quick search for “cash app” on Spotify returns.
They had Travis Scott and Lil Nas X giving away money on the platform, and even partnered with Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion for the #WAPParty. Venmo might have been the talk of the town among the suburban brunch crowd, but Cash App was busy building street cred.
But it had problems.
But like any digital juggernaut, it wrestled with fraud and security issues – just ask Nate Anderson over at Hindenburg Research, who highlighted the app is rife with problems. Sure, it appealed to the “underbanked” people of America, but the lack of KYC, which essentially means, make sure your clients aren’t anonymous, also lead to the company being ripe for exploitation by criminals.
Take, for example, the “CashApp” gang of Baltimore accused of distributing fentanyl or the accusation that the app is popular among mexican drug cartels.
And remember the pop culture that Dorsey bragged CashApp was included in? Much of that media described its use in scams, drug trafficking, and even paying for murder. But what good is tech without a little controversy?
Bob Lee & “the lifestyle”
And CashApp isn’t the only controversy that surrounds Bob Lee.
Delving into the San Francisco underground scene, affectionately termed “The Lifestyle,” is a bit like entering a Narnian wardrobe, except with hedonistic parties, fueled by recreational drugs and casual sex. It’s a playground for the Bay Area society’s upper crust, where the lines blur between friendships and bedroom affairs, all while navigating the hazy avenues of cocaine-infused revelry.
Bob Lee was reportedly a regular in this whirlwind of nocturnal frolic. Picture a ‘tech-Casanova’ who favors Teslas over roses, all-expenses-paid trips to Tulum over candlelit dinners, and think less romantic walks on the beach and more raving in his underpants for a $5 entrance fee.
That’s our Bob, living it large, one epic night at a time.
Yet, the endless carousel of fun concealed a darker underbelly. Friends noticed changes in Bob’s behavior, citing the crowd he was running with as questionable at best. Think more ‘wolves of Wall Street’ than ‘knights of the round table.’ High-functioning, intelligent, but with a taste for the edgy and unconventional.
Nevertheless, the thrill of the ride blinded Bob to the perils lurking within his circle, especially as his financial generosity made him an easy target for the unscrupulous. Friends recounted how he splurged on his loved ones, buying a Tesla for a girlfriend and replacing a stolen iPhone for an ex.
These actions, while seemingly harmless, painted a picture of a man increasingly susceptible to manipulation.
The Momeni connection and the tragic end
This brings us to the tragic death of Bob Lee.
On April 4th, Bob suffered three stab wounds, two to the left side of his chest and one to his right hip. One of the stab wounds went into part of his lung and the right ventricle. The toxicology report showed Bob had cocaine, ketamine and alcohol in his system at the time of the stabbing, although the substances were not indicated as a factor in his death.
About a week and a half after, Nima Momeni was arrested and charged with Lee’s murder.
The police report stated that both Bob and Nima were driving around together the night before the alleged murder. At one point, they are seen on a sidewalk, where Bob is eventually seen walking away injured. Followed by a BMW that appears to be owned by Nima speeding away. Footage obtained by the Daily Beast then showed Bob struggling for help as he bled to his death.
The allegations state that Nima stabbed Bob with a kitchen knife which was recovered by the police.
Nima ran an IT consulting firm from his loft just outside of San Francisco, where public records painted a picture of a struggling business. Acquaintances describe him as aloof and introverted; very unlike his wealthy and glamorous sister, Khazar Momeni, who was married to a well known plastic surgeon from the Bay Area. However, friends of Mr. Lee have since told the media that Bob was casually sleeping with Khazar.
But that’s not Bob’s only connection to Nima. About three years earlier, he was allegedly together with a woman that Nima had also dated.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Bob’s friends had become worried he was getting in over his head. What they were referring to is an underground party scene governed by an unwritten code of conduct, where sex, drugs and jeaoulsy can sometimes make people act crazy. On that fateful night in April, Nima, allegedly driven by a toxic mix of jealousy and concern for his sister, confronted Lee at one of these gatherings.
Adding a dose of digital-age strangeness to this tale, Khazar was found to be texting Lee during his final moments, thanking him for ‘handling’ her brother with ‘class.’
Of course, Elon had to pipe in, who since spending $44B on Twitter always has to let us know where he stands on every single issue. He leveraged Bob’s death as political fodder to criticize San Francisco’s crime rate—an act District Attorney Brooke Jenkins labeled as “reckless and irresponsible.”
As if 10 times more policing could stopped someone from stabbing another person on a sidewalk with a kitchen knife in the middle of the night.
Let’s wrap it up.
As we turn the final page on the shocking saga of Bob Lee, we are reminded that success, wealth, and recognition, while dazzling, are not shields against life’s most brutal realities.
I never met Bob before, but people seem to say really nice things about him. He apparently kept a list of 20 close friends on his phone, to remind him to check in on them regularly, just to see how they were doing. I wish I had the time and selflessness to do those sorts of things.
Sex, drugs and rock and roll is I think how many people would live their lives if they had the kind of financial success Bob did. And no matter what your status, life is complex and full of unexpected turns. From what we can tell, and we’re told there are more facts coming, Bob was just living his life and happened to piss off the wrong person.
And just like that, it was all taken away from him. A sobering reminder to appreciate everyday you get and make sure the people around you know you love them.
Information for this briefing was found via the Daily Beast, Washington Post and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.
As the founder of The Deep Dive, Jay is focused on all aspects of the firm. This includes operations, as well as acting as the primary writer for The Deep Dive’s stock analysis. In addition to The Deep Dive, Jay performs freelance writing for a number of firms and has been published on Stockhouse.com and CannaInvestor Magazine among others.