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Jason Hirschhorn's personal network made him rich. Then it saved his life.

"Crowdsourcing anything on the internet is usually a positive thing."

Amelia Krales for Recode

From an early age, Jason Hirschhorn knew how to rally a crowd. While in high school, he worked as a club promoter in New York City; one night, he got 7,000 teenagers into a venue that charged $10 a head — and he had negotiated that he would receive half of the door sales.

"I walked out of the club with a garbage bag of $35,000," Hirschhorn said on the latest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka. That was just the start; he sold his first startup to Viacom for tens of millions of dollars, a "life-changing amount of money," and embarked on a career that brought him to MTV, Sling Media and Myspace, all the while building strong connections throughout the media industry.

In 2006, Hirschhorn launched Redef Media, a weekly email newsletter for that network, full of links to must-see content from around the web. More recently, Redef has become its own company, delivering curated newsletters to people in other industries like music, fashion and sports.

Serving as Redef Media's curator since 2006, Hirschhorn opens each entry with a personal note. Those notes got a lot more personal when he went in for quadruple bypass surgery last year and then encountered serious complications afterwards that his doctors struggled to fix.

"One of the things when you write about personal stuff on the internet is that you can find the doppelgänger," Hirschhorn said. "You can find the person going through the same things as you."

Sure enough, his loyal readers directed him to a new doctor with a world-class reputation. He said that doctor, who proposed solutions never mentioned by his initial doctors, saved his life.

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