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10 Things You Didn't Know About Rap Genius Founder Tom Lehman

Tom Lehman

The power of digital media is undeniable, and one company that has shown this fact is Genius. Formerly known as Rap Genius, the digital media site was originally launched with a hip-hop focus to allow users to interpret lyrics and such. Today, Genius has become a multi-genre digital media company after acquiring attention and financial support from a number of celebrities and investors. The entertainment company operates on a global scale, but all of it started out from a single line of code that was input by one of Genius’ founders—Tom Lehman. If you didn’t know anything about this Rap Genius founder, here are 10 things to get you started.

1. Annotation

According to this interview on, Lehman and his team believe that annotation is necessary in today’s world. That’s the whole idea behind the Genius brand. Lehman believes that it’s important for people to know that it’s okay to not know something but that there’s a way to figure things out. Genius provides that kind of service, and the whole purpose of it all is to find out more information about the things that we already love.

2. CEO

Lehman acts as CEO of the entire Genius organization. He may be a young CEO, but he’s totally up to the challenge of running a company. Lehman believes that being CEO is not much harder than doing anything. It’s a task-by-task process, which requires that attachment doesn’t exist. However, Lehman believes that in order to succeed, one must be constantly seeking to find, do, or create something good. It makes total sense because that is the only way to move towards positive change. As far as we can see regarding his company, he’s doing more than okay.

3. Ceramics

The Genius CEO is an artist of some sort with the field that he’s in—from programming the code for their company site to being a business savvy CEO. In addition, he also happens to be a legitimate artist. One of Lehman’s pursuits happens to be ceramics, something he started when he was only in high school. He took a break from it around the time he was starting Genius up, but then he picked up the art form again after a while.

4. Inspiration

Apart from his ceramics and the release that it gives, Lehman finds inspiration out in the world. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard from something as such. Lehman is the type of person that wouldn’t be able to sit in an office and work alone all day, every day. He needs to be out in the world, seeing faces and seeing places, in order to find what he is looking for.

5. Miami Lehman

He may have been residing in New York for a while now, but according to, the young CEO actually came originally from Miami, Florida. His company may be headquartered in Brooklyn, but part of his Miami roots is deeply embedded into the overall process and purpose of his brand and company.

6. Therapy

Running and starting a company is not easy. While partners are great when it comes to shouldering and splitting the burdens, partners could be just as troublesome as well. Lehman has been working with his Genius co-founder Ilan Zechory since their college days, and suffice it to say that their relationship wasn’t the easiest. According to this article from, the two friends and colleagues have gone through the best and worst times together. And that’s precisely the reason why the two attend couples therapy—together. It may strike many as odd, but it actually makes a lot of sense. In a way, Lehman and Zechory are true partners, maybe not in marriage, but they have so much on the line that they have to learn how to care for it all. If something happens with their relationship, the business might get affected. On the other hand, if something happens with the business, their relationship might get affected. Therapy is possibly one of the best solutions to prevent issues from building up in a business partnership.

7. Ergonomics got a chance to analyze Lehman’s desk, and there were many things on there that showed what Lehman likes and what he doesn’t. First off, the CEO believes heavily on ergonomics and practicality. He’s got an adjustable monitor on his table and a keyboard with a gel resting pad. He claims it’s more nostalgia than ergonomics, but we don’t believe him. He has a Tide To-Go pen on his desk, after all.

8. Doodle

Lehman is a certified doodler. He also fidgets and joggles quite a bit. It sounds like this young CEO has a hard time keeping his mind and his body still. Doodling helps with that, as well as paraphernalia like a fidget spinners, shuffling cards, and board games. Lehman has a box of the game SET: The Family Game of Visual Perception.

9. Yale

You don’t have to be a genius to come up with an awesome name such as Genius, but you might have to be one if you decide that the Ivy League route is for you. Lehman attended Yale University for college, and that’s actually where he met his co-founder Zechory. We can imagine that the first ideas about Genius were borne out of the hallways of Yale, but Lehman and Zechory actually started Genius after college. We’re glad they did because Genius is certainly one of a kind.

10. Experience

Part of the success of Genius probably comes from Lehman’s experience working after college. Genius wasn’t the first thing they tried to do. Lehman (and Zechory) actually worked on a few projects before focusing on his own baby. They built a site that was called Fliff, which basically turned into Venmo. They also worked on, a site that sold bed sheets, and also on His experience, albeit average, prepared him for what he was going to accomplish with Genius.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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