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This week, we bring you the first VB Engage to have been recorded live on stage!

That’s right: At Web Summit in Lisbon earlier this year, we got to interview Alan Schaaf of internet phenomenon Imgur about the evolution of the company, geek culture, and community, and find out what it takes to create a success from seemingly meager beginnings.

In the news segment, Travis quizzes Stewart about his trip to Helsinki (where Travis spoke at Nexterday North and Slush) and discovers what he learned about the near future, artificial intelligence, mobile marketing, and where technology is taking us next.



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Listen to this episode of the VB Engage podcast to hear:

  • Welcome to VB Engage episode 31! [00:10]
  • Stewart has been all over one part of the world [00:34]
  • From Helsinki, Finland, Stewart attended Nexterday North & Slush [02:45]
  • Nexterday North is a customer event for Comptel [03:15]
  • Nexterday North does not feel like a customer event [03:50]
  • Comptel released one product and only spent 15 minutes on it [04:45]
  • Amazing speakers, including David Meerman Scott, Jon Wolske, Songül Ballikaya, Chris Messina, and more [05:20]
  • Nexterday North video keynotes are here [05:40]
  • Brand new customer research on VR [07:15]
  • Almost two-thirds of all consumers surveyed have tried or want to try mobile VR [08:50]
  • Stewart believes that Sony will dominate high-end VR sales by 3X [10:35]
  • From Nexterday North, Stewart went on to Slush, also in Helsinki [13:25]
  • Slush was rife with future trends, artificial intelligence, VR, machine learning, and tomorrow’s tech [15:15]
  • Stewart led a fireside chat — in the round and in 360-degree video — with an actual fire [15:45]
  • Here are the Slush conference videos [16:15]
  • Today is the first round of our Web Summit interview series [17:05]
  • The very first VB Engage recorded live on stage, with guest Alan Schaaf [17:50]
  • This interview was the day after the U.S. election, so the crowd was interesting [18:15]
  • Stewart and Travis are introduced on stage at Web Summit [19:00]
  • The Canadian Immigration website went down for some reason [19:35]
  • Introduction of Alan Schaaf, CEO of Imgur. Travis beatboxes, for some reason [20:00]
  • Alan starts off with the backstory behind Imgur and the $7 investment [20:55]
  • Imgur has been built and shaped by the fans that love it [21:25]
  • Imgur’s vision is to lift the world’s spirits for a few moments each day [21:45]
  • The mission behind Imgur is to surface the internet’s most entertaining content [22:00]
  • Break you out of your friend’s list and geek out on new interest [22:30]
  • How does Imgur curate the geek culture within its community? [23:40]
  • 83 million millennials in the U.S., and 60 percent self-identify as being hardcore geeks [24:35]
  • The video game industry makes more money than the box office [25:15]
  • A majority of Imgur’s users begin their day checking Imgur [26:30]
  • Schaaf pivoted to mobile development once the company raised its $40 million Series A [27:15]
  • Imgur has one the world’s largest concentrations of millennial men  [27:45]
  • Its audience is predominantly male, “the lost boys” [28:10]
  • The majority of Imgur’s audience use ad blockers [28:45]
  • Imgur’s ad platform is based on sponsored posts instead [29:45]
  • Be authentic, if you are a brand. Don’t spam your community [30:30]
  • Best content ever? This really cool post about drones [31:40]
  • The Michael Cera Photoshop posts every day for a year were hilarious. [33:05]

Thanks for tuning in this week. We appreciate your awesomeness.

See you next week with Episode 32, where we continue our Web Summit interview series with Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian.  If you missed last week’s episode with Jessy Hanley, you can listen to it right here.


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