Impossible is Nothing

Impossible is Nothing

Updated Jan 25, 2013 at 11:24AM EST by Don.

Added Jun 26, 2009 at 04:25PM EDT by Captain Blubber.

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About

“Impossible Is Nothing” is a video résumé created by then Yale University student Aleksey Vayner that went viral after it was leaked online anonymously by an investment bank employee in 2006.

Origin

In early October 2006, Yale University student Aleksey Vayner applied for a job at the Swedish investment bank UBS AG. Vayner’s video begins with Vayner asking the rhetorical question “How do some people like yourself become very proficient in their field much faster than most?” to which he provides a six-minute answer. Highly amused by Vayner’s over-the-top video resume, an employee at the bank forwarded his application to other investment banks, including Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Credit Suisse Group and Wachovia.



Spread

On October 6th, 2006, Vayner’s video was uploaded onto YouTube by the Ivy League news blog IvyGate. In the following weeks, the video quickly spread through mentions on several personal blogs as well as internet news sites including Gawker[2], New Yorker[15], New York Times[3][4], MSNBC[5] and NPR[11] among many others. On November 3rd, YouTuber vlogolution uploaded a parody video titled “Impossible is Nothing Spoof” (shown below, left), which received over 45,000 views within the next six years. On December 20th, YouTuber maplestreet uploaded a video titled “Impossible is the Opposite of Possible,” in which actor Michael Cera parodies Vayner’s video resume (shown below, right). Within six years, the video received over 2.1 million views and 2,800 comments.



On October 31st, 2007, the business news blog Dealbreaker[19] reported that Vayner had a book coming out titled Millionaires’ Blueprint to Success, based on his experiences with wealthy people he knew through tennis and skiing.

Cease-and-Desist

By the end of the month, Vayner had become a viral video celebrity, though he was rather displeased with fame that he didn’t ask for. Vayner began sending cease-and-desist letters to websites hosting his video resume, including YouTube, IvyGate and several other blogs as well as UBS for their involvement with disseminating the video. However, Vayner’s attempt to take down his videos quickly became compromised as a result of the Streisand Effect and only fueled the online interest in the video.

Public Feud

The cease-and-desist request also led to a public feud between Vayner and IvyGate, the latter of which responded by publishing his legal threat and several irregularities in his track record, including an allegation that two organizations operated by Vayner, Youth Empowerment Strategies and Vayner Capital Management LLC, were fraudulent.

Vayner’s Death

On January 23rd, 2013, IvyGate published an article reporting that Vayner had died on the morning of January 19th at his residence in Queens, New York. According to the article, a spokesman from the New York City Medical Examiner confirmed the record of a 29-year-old man matching Vayner’s description under the name “Alex Stone,” although the cause of his death has yet to be determined. It also revealed that Vayner had legally changed his name to “Alex Stone” in April 2012, some time after relocating to New York. Based on an e-mail circulating among his friends and Yale alumni circles, a memorial service is scheduled be held on Saturday, January 26th in New York. On January 25th, the techno-culture blog Motherboard[20] published an article about Vayner’s death, and included a screenshot of a cryptic post submitted to Vayner’s Facebook wall, which said “Do not, anyone, sell this idiot ANY pills!” followed by a message in Russian saying “Damned egoist, pick up the phone, who’s going to take care of mom?” (shown below).



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