A successful Internet blogger had students LOL-ing at Tripp Commons in the Memorial Union Wednesday night with his sharp wit and knowledge of modern media.
Ben Huh was the guest speaker as part of the Distinguished Lecture Series Committee’s fall speakers.
Huh is the CEO and founder of The Cheezburger Network, a unique group of web sites and blogs designed to simply entertain its followers.
Some of Huh’s most well known sites include I Can Has Cheezburger?, FAIL Blog, Lolcats, and ROFLrazzi, which feature everything from funny pictures of animals to celebrity parodies.
Huh said another successful addition to the company came in April of 2008 when FAIL Blog was established.
As described on the site, it is a compilation of epic fail pictures and funny videos of owned, pwned and fail moments.
Huh also shared how the FAIL Blog videos became the number one comedy channel on YouTube, and within months of being added racked up more than one billion views.
Huh said before beginning the Cheezburger Network, he was a successful but dissatisfied corporate businessman making six figures a year.
“I was unhappy,” said Huh. “I realized it could have been a career killer if [Cheezburger Network] didn’t work out, but we have some more fun that way.”
In September 2007, Huh made the decision to found The Cheezburger Network, which first began with the original site I Can Has Cheezburger?, a blog dedicated to kitten pictures with purposefully misspelled captions.
In three years, more than 50 new sites and 50 employees have joined the team, Huh said.
“It didn’t matter to me that my career progressed, it mattered that I did something fun and interesting,” Huh said.
Tom Black, director of the Distinguished Lecture Series at the Union, said the evening was meant to give the attendees a taste of what the Union Showcase is all about.
“Attendance could have been better since there are a lot of things going on early in the semester,” he said. “The people who were there, however, were engaged.”
Black mentioned that no matter how small the turnout, an event such as this requires a $5,000 to $10,000 payment.
According to Black, no future plans for the Distinguished Lecture Series for this fall can be revealed until contracts are finalized. He did predict the first major event will take place around the first week of October.
Huh wrapped up by revealing one of the secrets behind the success of his popular websites, which is reaching out to an international audience, making up 45 percent of his web followers.
“Whatever we find enjoyable is what we add to our company,” he said. “We have to rely on our sense of humor to decide what type of website to build.”