Fifty-plus sites, 375 million page views a month, 4.5 million contributors, and $30 million in venture capital: Ben Huh’s Cheezburger Network has come a long ways from one little cat cartoon site, I Can Haz Cheezburger.
Born in Korea, Huh came to the U.S. in the 1990s and earned a journalism degree at Northwestern University. His first company, focused on the decidedly unfunny vertical of web analytics, failed after 18 months. After working a succession of jobs, in 2007 he started blogging, found I Can Haz Cheezburger, and bought the site.
Above: One of Memebase’s recent contributions
Image Credit: Cheezburger
Today, Cheezburger runs FAIL Blog, Memebase, and The Daily What, in addition to numerous other sites.
I caught up with Huh at GROW conference in Vancouver and got some inside news on Cheezburger network plans and how Cheezburger is designed.
While we were chatting, I also took the time to ask Huh a few more personal questions:
VentureBeat: What was your inspiration for starting Cheezburger?
Ben Huh: I had a job that I hated and I wanted to get out of it … and I wanted to do it in B-to-C.
VentureBeat: You’ve done a lot for cats. What’s your favorite animal today?
Ben Huh: Right now it’s sea otters.
VentureBeat: What’s the reason you took VC money?
Ben Huh: I wanted to hit a grand slam and not hit a double.
VentureBeat: Funniest web meme ever?
Ben Huh: It’s not the funniest, but one of my favorites is a little meme called Brushy-Brushy … it’s actually a picture of a tiny little bat being brushed on the head by a toothbrush.
Above: For the uninitiated … the original Brushy-Brushy
Image Credit: Cheezburger
VentureBeat: Stupidest idea that Cheezburger ever did that worked.
Ben Huh: Start.
VentureBeat: What would you do today if you were just starting out?
Ben Huh: What would I do today if I was starting out? I would think really hard.
VentureBeat: Most surprising thing in your career?
Ben Huh: That people gave me money to run a business!
VentureBeat: Something no one knows about Cheezburger?
Ben Huh: There’s a lot of things that people don’t know about us. But I think this one thing goes against the grain: We’re really, really serious at work.
VentureBeat: Number one reason for your success?
Ben Huh: Our users.
VentureBeat: Favorite accomplishment?
Ben Huh: Not starving to death? No, actually, I think my favorite accomplishment is when I failed in my first company, but I got back up and did another one.
Image credits: Cheezburger Network
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