I Can Has Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh’s TedxSeattle Talk

Ben Huh, CEO behind the Cheezburger Network

After news broke that Cheezburger Network’s Ben Huh was offering to buy the ailing Reddit, it was natural to investigate what role Ben Huh plays and what he did to capitalise on something I’d dare say is phenomenal on the internet: lolcats (cat memes). Reading through his blog, he posted up a talk he did at a Ted conference in Seattle around April about the “19 debts” he owed himself; i.e. his 19 goals he has set himself out to do.

I was really touched by the moment just under 8 minutes in where he choked up, reflecting on his failings and his struggles, most likely for his first start-up after he graduated.

There is nothing harder than waking up in the morning, look in the mirror and seeing a failure.

There is nothing harder to realise that you’ve let people down, your family down who put money in you, let your friends down who you hired.

But that kind of struggle, getting out of that struggle means that you’ve become a person with character and moral values and a person who has a centre that can not be shaken.

This is personally one of my biggest challenges and something I always wanted to largely avoid and not be a burden to society. It’s that relentless pursuit of making things work, and that determination of refusing to ever take no for an answer, but there are times when the stars align to say “fuck you, not today it ain’t”. But it is so important to remember that a true test of character and entrepreneurial craftsmanship is when you go through all that and pick yourself up. Pick your fucking self up.

I wasn’t a big fan of him, considering he was making money off an idea derived elsewhere, but I do admire the rags-to-riches entrepreneur who recognised the opportunity and brought an idea somewhat wholesome from 4chan into the mainstream which I believe partially makes the internet what it is today. Macroed memes are such a huge part of internet subculture now and some credit is due for Huh to brand it and make it recogniseable.

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