|Born||Seoul, South Korea|
|Nationality||South Korean, American|
|Occupation||CEO of Cheezburger|
Huh was born in Seoul, South Korea and grew up in Rancho Cordova, California, attending Cordova High School there. In 1999, Huh graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism, although English was not his first language. With regards to this, he said “I got a degree in a language I didn’t speak because I felt something in the power of media that attracted me.”
At that time, the web’s influence on journalism was growing exponentially, and so Huh decided to go into a career in the Internet. He founded a web analytics company, which folded after 18 months. After that, he worked at three companies in six years.
In 2007, Huh started a blog for fun with his wife about living with a dog in Seattle. Later that year, there was a series of pet food recalls, and the company responsible took down their company website. Huh went through the company’s cached files and found a PDF that outlined the company’s customers, revenues, and facility locations. He posted this to his blog, and the post got linked around the internet. One of the links was from a site called I Can Has Cheezburger and Huh struck up a friendship with the two owners.
The Cheezburger Network
In September 2007, Huh connected with a group of angel investors to buy I Can Has Cheezburger. At the time, the site was getting viewed 500,000 times daily, which Huh notes was “fantastic for a cat picture site that nobody understood.” He likes to joke that his investor pitch was “I would like to start a media company by buying a cat picture website. Can you give me $2.25 million?” Huh states that “we felt like that there was a pretty good possibility that we were buying into a cultural phenomenon, a shift in the way people perceived entertainment.”
Currently, Huh runs Cheezburger, which receives 375 million page views a month across its 50 sites, including I Can Has Cheezburger, FAIL Blog, The Daily What, Know Your Meme, and Memebase. The content is user-generated, with users allowed to upload images and add text captions throughout its network of sites. The best are culled by Cheezburger employees and users and posted to the front pages daily. Although Huh doesn’t reveal financial specifics, Wired speculated that the network makes $4 million in yearly revenue, which comes mainly from display ads, books, and merchandise. The Cheezburger Network has raised $30 million in venture funding in January 2011, currently employs 75 people, and has been profitable since its first quarter. They’ve released five books, two of which are New York Times bestsellers.
In July 2013, Huh told the media that his decision to make 24 job cuts at Cheezburger, amounting to a third of the firm’s employees, was one of the most difficult weeks he had ever experienced.
Huh is the central figure in the LOLwork reality television series on the Bravo television network. The series follows Ben Huh and his staff at Cheezburger as they create new content for the site.
Huh has been a speaker at SXSW, Web 2.0 Summit and TEDx Seattle. In 2010, Huh was named to Fast Company’s list of the “Most Creative People in Business.” He was also named to GQ’s list of the “Worst-Dressed Men in Silicon Valley”; in response to this, he challenged GQ to a fashion duel.
Huh received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year© Award in 2011.
Huh lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife Emily and poodle mix, Nemo. He also runs The Moby Dick Project, which aims to change how news is presented. Ironically, he is allergic to cats.
- Chard, Thea. Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh on Surrounding Himself with More Talent, and the Future of the Global Humor Blog Network. Xconomy. June 30, 2010.
- Stacy, Michael. Big Omaha - Ben Huh: ‘Things that excite us are things that would make other people cringe’. Silicon Prairie News. May 12, 2011.
- James, Anthony. Startup Q&A: Cheezburger's Ben Huh on new ideas. Tech Flash. July 9, 2011.
- Wallace, Lewis SXSW: 2008, the Year the Audience Keynoted. Wired. March 11, 2008.
- Cook, John. Q&A: Ben Huh of I Can Has Cheezburger on tech, cats and more. Venture Blog. November 6, 2008.
- McCarthy, Brad. Cheezburgers Ben Huh On Education, Entrepreneurship, and 5 minutes of happiness. The Next Web. May 13, 2011.
- Dudley, Brier. Cheezburger's first venture financing raises $30 million. The Seattle Times. January 18, 2011.
- Mcedward, Laura. Entrepreneur’s Kitty Site Now A Caboodle. LA Times. September 23, 2008.
- Fitzpatrick, Laura. Building a Media Empire Around I Can Has Cheezburger. TIME. August 24, 2009.
- Huh, Ben. Circa. Betabeat. April 27, 2012.
- Roy, Jessica. I CAN HAZ SEED ROUND: Ben Huh’s News Startup Circa Raises $750K. Betabeat. April 27, 2012.
- Liz Welch (July 2013). "How I Live With Myself After Firing a Third of My Employees". Inc. Magazine.
- "It's "Bravo's Big Premiere Week," Featuring Five New and Returning Series Kicking Off November 4". The Futon Critic. October 23, 2012. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
- Simons, Wes. TED Invades Seattle. Seattle Business.
- Ben Huh Speaker. Web 2.0 Summit. November 15, 2010.
- Mascai, Dan. The 100 Most Creative People: Ben Huh #86. Fast Company. 2010.
- Hope, Clover. The 15 Worst-Dressed Men of Silicon Valley. GQ. August 3, 2011.
- Cook, John. Cheezburger chief challenges GQ to fashion 'duel'. MSNBC. August 4, 2011.
- Wortham, Jenna. Once Just a Site With Funny Cat Pictures, and Now a Web Empire. The New York Times. June 13, 2010.
- Huh, Ben. Why Are We Still Consuming The News Like It’s 1899?. May 28, 2011.
- Cook, John. Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh’s latest voyage: It’s time ‘to rethink journalism’. GeekWire. May 23, 2011.
- McCarthy, Caroline. Ben Huh Has Successful Business Model? CNET. October 8, 2008.
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