A bout of appendicitis when he was 13 led, six years later, to Cashmore starting the Mashable blog in his bedroom in Banchory, near Aberdeen. “I had an operation and ended up with complications, so I was in and out of the hospital,” he said. “The internet was something I could do in bed and feel like I was achieving something.” Cashmore’s background and good looks earned him a series of nicknames, including “the Loch Ness blogger”, “the Brad Pitt of the blogosphere” and “the world’s sexiest geek”. His fiancée, Texas-born lifestyle blogger Kimmy Huynh, revealed their wedding plans to her online followers in January.
Cashmore, now 31, started Mashable as a forum to discuss developments on the internet and in computer technology and gadgets. Before long he was selling enough advertising to bring in £2,000 a month and decided to develop the business instead of going to university, building the operation into a must-read with 55m global readers and 28m social media followers. Now based in New York, it has moved into video with a $15m investment from Time Warner. In late 2015 there was speculation that Mashable was up for sale with a price tag of $300m-$350m. That has not happened and the market is becoming increasingly crowded, so until we see how the push into video pans out we keep Cashmore at £170m.