Ben Huh, CEO and Co-Founder of Cheezburger Network, wants to provide people with five minutes of happiness each day with his empire of hilarious niche websites. His favorite is his first, icanhascheezburger, which provides audience-submitted photos of cats with witty captions.
Ben presented at the KAC (Korean-American Coalition) Networking Social last night, sharing the history behind his internet success. He mesmerized the packed gathering with his easy charisma. He said his job is like being the world’s worse comedian who can still make people laugh. He doesn’t have to tell any jokes, just show content submitted by the public. Ah, vive la web 2.0! And long live entrepreneurs like Ben who know how to provide compelling and valuable platforms that make us happy.
Ben is a local internet star, getting a lot of media attention. Yet, he remains humble and funny. He is engaging and authentic, critical traits for any successful web personality. He speaks easily, and answers all questions. He said he became an entrepreneur because he hated his job at the time. His motivation was not a driving ambition to become rich, but a desire to do something he would enjoy. He shared that he doesn’t own cats. In fact, he is actually allegoric to cats, but he certainly loves cat photos. Ben said his biggest current challenge is finding the right people for his growing team. Amen (A repeated theme on this blog).
Entrepreneurs can learn a lot from Ben. To be successful, you need to be passionate about what you do. A web entrepreneur needs to be authentic and transparent. And oh, it’s nice to have a business plan that includes zero cost “inventory”.
Cheezburger is one of the largest blog networks in the world where more than 12 million people come every month to get their daily dose of laughter. With 220 million page views per month, the Cheezburger network of more than 30 blogs including I Can Has Cheezburger, FAIL Blog, GraphJam, Emails From Crazy People, ROFLrazzi, and There, I Fixed It is quickly becoming the new Internet media empire. Every day, more than 10,000 photos and videos are submitted and page views are growing at an annual clip of 300%. In addition to the blogs, a Cheezburger inspired book spent 13 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list during the winter of 2008. In the fall of 2009, three more books were released – ICHC: How to Take Over Teh Wurld, FAIL Nation, and GRAPH OUT LOUD.
Ben is a former journalist turned dot com entrepreneur who has a knack for nailing the zeitgeist. He has been credited with bringing Internet memes to the mainstream and popularizing Internet culture. The success of his business is attributed to his knowledge of memes, viral content, and crowd sourcing. Ben graduated with a BSJ from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.