September 8, 2014
How well do you know Ben Huh, the CEO of everyone’s favorite lolcat website (and many more)? Did you know that he was born in Korea and is allergic to cats? Good, here are a few more tidbits to amuse your friends with, which he shared with us last week at Tech Cocktail Chicago:
He once tried to get fired
Ben Huh was working for InstallShield when they got acquired by Macrovision, a company that did DRM software. He was against DRM, but rather than just leaving, he tried to get fired and get a severance package.
“I decided that I was going to stop showing up for work – like the scene out of Office Space,” Huh told the crowd.
One day, he finally got an email from his manager asking him to come to a meeting and bring his laptop. “I was like, ‘Sweet, I’m getting fired,’” Huh recalled. “[The CFO and my manager] say, ‘Ben, we’re sorry to tell you that we’re going to terminate you today.’ And I said, ‘Awesome! Here’s my laptop, here’s my password. I deleted everything already. What else do you guys need?’ I was ready.”
His favorite book is The Making of the Atomic Bomb
“It’s a history of physics and history of how we ended up with nuclear weapons,” explained Huh. “And my point there is not about the book, it’s actually about the fact that inspiration and ideas and lessons come from places that are not business. The worst diet you can have is to eat the one thing you’re suppposed to be eating over and over again, which is like business books.”
Even he gets starstruck
Huh was really excited when he found out that Obama had seen this photo from Cheezburger, printed in Valerie Jarrett’s book Game Change:
“I was reading this book and I sat up straight in the bed and I was like *gasp* ‘The president’s seen one of our photos!’ It’s awesome,” recalled Huh.
He gets restless
When he started Circa with Matt Galligan, he realized something about himself: “Every three years or four years, I need to do something else,” he explained.
He gave away the idea for Circa
Huh realized that mobile news was broken and spent some time distilling his learnings from Cheezburger into a theory of media. Then, he went to a Techstars conference trying to find someone to take on his idea. “I said, ‘Hey, I’m going to give this away. Which other entrepreneurs want to work on this with me?” Huh recalled. Galligan approached him and became cofounder and CEO of Circa.
Also check out: Cheezburger’s Ben Huh Says Entrepreneurs Are Like Cats
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