The Life of John McAfee

shouldn’t your life goal be to have a meaningful life ? Unknown, mysterious and thrilling ?” John McAfee once asked.

His life which ended in a Spanish prison was all of those 3 things . 

McAfree grew up in Roanoke, Virginia ; his father was abusive and an alcoholic , and killed himself when McAfee was 15. McAfee started drinking while a student at Roanoke college.  After graduating, he began a phd in math , but was kicked out for sleeping with one of his students. 

Mcafee got fired from his next job for buying weed . Then , he settled into a position using computers to schedule trains. He would take LSD in the morning before work. One day , he tried a dose of DMT , considered the strongest psychedelic , but felt nothing. So he snorted a whole bag. 

“ within an hour my mind was shattered ,” McAfee said in an interview, and he never fully healed. For years part of him thought his life was a hallucination he’d eventually snap out of. He became an alcoholic and a drug addict; his wife left him. 

“ my life was total hell,” he said. 

In 1983, a therapist pointed him to Alcoholics Anonymous , and he claimed to have been sober ever since. He started working as a coder at Lockheed, a defense contractor. In 1986, while McAfee was at lockheed, 2 brothers in Pakistan launched the world’s first PC computer virus. 

McAfee launched McAfee associates to create software to protect computers from it. He was successful and decided to make the program available free online. By 1990, millions of computers were relying on it , with companies paying $5M+ annually to license it.

McAfee became a tech celebrity.In the years that followed, he became a fixture in the media , hyping up the threat of computer viruses. Demand for his product soared through the roof . McAfee associates IPO’d in 1992 ,and he was worth $80M.

Free from work , he became an adrenaline junkie and then a yogi , setting up a yoga institute in Colorado.Next he created an adventure sports resort in New Mexico.  He snapped up cars and properties around the world, living out his life as a tech mogul.Then abruptly ,in 2008, facing multiple lawsuits and claiming to have hit hard during recession , he sold everything. 

He decided to start again, away from America. In April , he moved to Belize , where the most mysterious part of his life was about to begin. 

In Belize, he set up cigar manufacturing, coffee distribution , and water taxi companies. He also launched a company with Harvard biologist he had met who was searching for rainforest plants to use as antibiotics , building her a lab in the jungle. 

Soon after , he fell in love with gun-toting 16 year old named Amy Emshviller.

Emshwiller told McAfee horror stories about crime and gangs in the village , which he came to call the “ most corrupt village on the planet .” Locals said the village was nothing like the drug trafficking center McAfee believed, but he became increasingly paranoid.

He thought the gangs and the police were hunting him; he thought pharna companies were spying on his antibiotic lab. So he hired security guards and acquired arsenal. The police started showing up at his house believing he was selling drugs.

McAfee fled to Mexico and eventually Guatemala, where a vice reporter accidentally shared his location, resulting in his arrest.McAfee was deported to Belize  but not charged , and then largely fell off the public’s radar. 

He was arrested in the US for a DUI in 2015 , then for high caliber weapon possession in the Dominican Republic. He made money promoting crypto currencies on Twitter and through speaking engagements.

In October, 2020, McAfee was arrested in Spain while boarding a flight to Turkey.The US charged him with a number of crimes including tax evasion. 

On 23rd June 2021 , Spain agreed to extradite him to the US. Within hours , he was found dead by an apparent suicide.  The life of John McAfee has ended , but it’s mystique has not. 

Categories: Education