John McAfee, software pioneer turned fugitive: I faked being crazy and ill to escape to U.S.
Original post, 6:29 a.m. November 13: In Rebecca Moss's July feature "The Hot Yoga War," antivirus pioneer John McAfee was a bit player, albeit one colorful enough to earn his own Q&A; we've included the interview here. But McAfee's hucksterism about what he's dubbed "observational yoga" contrasts sharply with his latest reason for making news: He's being sought for questioning about a murder in Belize. Bizarre details below.
Moss's feature focuses on a legal conflict between two yoga entrepreneurs: Greg Gumucio and Bikram Choudhury, the former's onetime mentor. As for McAfee, he enters the story when Gumucio attends a yoga retreat in Colorado put on by the namesake of McAfee AntiVirus systems, which was reportedly sold to Intel in 2010. Here's an excerpt from the article, which begins with Gumucio's meeting with McAfee at his 280-acre Tuscan-style estate in Woodland Park:
Continue to read more about John McAfee and the current murder case.
When McAfee opened the door, he offered Gumucio a place to stay before even asking his identity. The two immediately clicked, and they talked for ten hours, wandering the estate and discussing McAfee's work. For the past fifteen years, he had been studying the kripalu method of yoga, a practice that focuses on self-discovery and spiritual realization; the books sitting beneath Gumucio's desk were full of McAfee's meditations on how yoga can lead to a better, enlightened life. But it was not yoga that had made McAfee wealthy. Rather, it was the software company he'd founded that bears his name. McAfee anti-virus software was the first-ever virus scan created to protect computers, and by 1994, he was worth nearly half a billion dollars because of it. He'd sold the company two years before meeting Gumucio, though, and had focused his energy on yoga. McAfee considered himself the founder of "relational yoga" and ran yoga retreats at his Colorado estate. Along with his books, he had produced DVDs by the same title, which taught his students how to combat the "human condition" of fear and uncertainty through self-understanding, which he believed to be the overlooked core of yoga.
Source: Facebook McAfee in a shot from his Facebook page.
McAfee invited Gumucio to teach at a retreat, where he spent several days in nature practicing yoga in complete silence. By the time it was over, Gumucio decided he wanted to teach multiple forms of yoga, incorporating McAfee's kriya method. "He taught many things," Gumucio says today. "Really, he is a genius, and brilliant."
Like Bikram, McAfee was not a surprising mentor to catch Gumucio's attention: He was full of the ingenuity that launches empires and fortunes, with eccentricity to match. But as Gumucio worked with him, "that's when things started to go south" with Bikram, Gumucio recalls.
(Ultimately, McAfee himself went south -- literally. He soon was seeking self-enlightenment not just through yoga, but through extreme sports, including racing ATVs and motorcycles and jet-skiing. In 2002, McAfee began studying aero-trekking, a form of low-flying aviation along the dessert; he and a gang of "Sky Gypsies" collected vintage aviation equipment and spent their days piloting through low altitudes. But in 2010, the New York Times reported that McAfee was selling all five of his estates in this country -- he, like many others, had apparently been hit hard by the recession -- at an estimated $96 million loss. McAfee moved on to Belize, where, with the help of a thirty-year-old research assistant, he began studying indigenous herbs for a new form of antibiotics, not to mention a female aphrodisiac: Think Viagra for women. "You find self-awareness by breaking boundaries, breaking taboos," McAfee told Fast Company.)