Ben Huh Interview: I Can Has Cheezburger, Fail Blog + WIN Tickets ($70!) For ROFLCon Summit @ Wieden + Kennedy

Pipeline is giving away two pairs of tickets to attend ROFLCON Summit on Saturday, October 1 at Wieden + Kennedy. To win, comment on this post why you’d like to attend. Winners will be drawn and emailed Friday, September 30.

Reminder: We give out 100s of $$$ in free tickets every week including to many of the top music and art venues in Portland. Join our email list if you like free stuff

By Nathalie Weinstein
Ben Huh ROFLCon SummitIf you enjoyed a funny cat picture while avoiding doing your actual job today, you have Ben Huh to thank. Since 2007, the CEO of Cheezburger Network has taken a website of funny cat pictures and turned it into a media empire with 12 different blogs, all receiving millions of hits per day.

But Huh is not content to dwell in the realm of adorable animals and internet memes. He’s also working on a new project to change the way our culture consumes news, The Moby Dick Project. Huh will be in Portland this Saturday for ROFLCon Summit at Wieden + Kennedy where he will speak on a panel titled ” New Memes On The Block.

PDX Pipeline had a chance to catch up with Huh about Portland, internet culture and why journalism students shouldn’t give up the dream.

PDX Pipeline: How has America's internet culture changed since you started I Can Haz Cheezburger in 2007? Do you feel your work played a role in those changes?

Ben Huh: When we started, I didn't know much about internet culture. It was eye opening to find out it was something different. I had to do a lot of historical digging to see what happens when a new medium (like the internet) comes on the scene and what it does to culture. We've done a good job of popularizing internet culture and bringing it into the mainstream. It's something where we showed up at the right time and place.  We'll look back at 2007 and say that's when internet culture found its stride. We played a small but significant part in that.


PDX: What's going on with the Moby Dick project? Have you come any closer to a better solution for getting news out to a changing culture?

BH: We did a working session at Stanford a couple months ago.  80 peoope came and that made it hectic and crazy. We all agreed upon the problems with news curation and the consumption of news and talked about what ideas can fix those problems. I need people who can put resources together to pull off a service that can share these ideas with the world. We're beyond the idea phase and are looking for ways to bring it to life


PDX: Do you have any advice for younger people currently in journalism and new media programs for how to pursue a career in a rapidly changing climate?

BH: I understand the fears about the industry. People are looking at this world of news and information and thinking about the demand for quality information. The internet is no different. People will say that my company’s content is low quality content, but who are you to tell me what quality is? If you look at user generated content, people used to say its low quality. The times and people’s attention spans have changed so quality means something different and new, but its just as entertaining. That's true time and time again. Students should think about what they can do that will provide media consumers with something unique and interesting.


PDX: Is the market for cute animal blogs saturated at this point or is there room for more?

BH: I think you'll see more. Its hard to measure saturation in animal blogs. I hope the demand will continue grow.


PDX: What are your favorite things to do in Portland when you visit?

BH: We like the restaurant scene. It's less expensive (than Seattle) and the food is just as good.  I really like to go to this tapas place in NE, Toro Bravo.

ROFLCon Summit
Saturday, October 1
8 a.m. 5 p.m. | $35 | All Ages
@ Wieden + Kennedy, 224 NW 13th Avenue

ROFLCon Summit is a spin-off of the wildly awesome biennial ROFLCon. It'll bring together the leading generators, preservers and advancers of online culture so they can talk about where it's all headed and what it means to everyone else.

It's an open discussion about why the very same communities that are good at making dumb, funny things online are having a real impact on the world. Join us on October 1st, 2011 in Portland, Oregon for the first-ever ROFLCon Summit to address the incredible potential of the Internet, virality, the blogosphere, and beyond!

Panelists include Alexis Ohanian of Breadpig and Reddit, Ben Huh of the Cheezburger Network and Sherrod Degrippo of encyclopediadramatica and OhInternet, as well as representatives from organizations like BoingBoing, Internet Archive and Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Check us out at or follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@ROFLConSummit) or YouTube.

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19 Responses to Ben Huh Interview: I Can Has Cheezburger, Fail Blog + WIN Tickets ($70!) For ROFLCon Summit @ Wieden + Kennedy

  1. Sarah September 26, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    I need this!

  2. Tim L September 26, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    Please I need to go to this and have no $$$ since I lost my job at PDX. Now all I have are these instructional GIFs on what I used to do….

  3. Letani September 26, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    I can haz tikets?

  4. Jadd September 26, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

    Entry, please don’t FAIL me now

  5. Jesse September 27, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    My boyfriend would love this! Too bad we broke up. My cat was allergic.

  6. LS September 29, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    I would love to go to this. Great learning opportunity, possible networking opportunity. Looks like it’s not just ROFL but also good info about internet culture in general. Thinking about starting an internet biz. Lots of smart cool PDX folk to be there? Now it’s sold out so I have no other way to go!

  7. Lee Herman September 29, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    I are excite to see funny internetz people. Pleeeeaaassseeeee

  8. Ashley September 29, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    My boyfriend has a 15-year-old brother living in a repressed Catholic home in the West Hills. His secret escape from his religious parental prison is the internet (mostly the awesome geek sites named above). I would love to give the tickets to he and my boyfriend to show him someone respects and appreciates his interests and get him out of that house for a bit.

  9. Stan September 29, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

    I would like to go to this because then I can be like “oooo, I’m so cool at this thing” and other people will be all like “damn, you are such a badass” and I’ll be like “yeah. thanks. i know.”

  10. danielle September 29, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    please, let my singing & dancing cat come. thank you!

  11. Seantourage September 29, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    These speakers’ websites are the bane of productivity and friend of procrastination. The late evenings I’ve spent browsing aimlessly knowing I’ll hate life in the morning are countless and might include tonight.

    However, had it not been for them my Facebook status updates would be a little less hip, trolling less refined and my useless fact knowledge less colorful.

    Hoping I win and if not…..It wont be cheezburgers but flipped tables you’ll haz! (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

  12. Grace September 29, 2011 at 9:37 pm #

    pick me pick me!!!!!!!! I would love to hear all about the up and coming internet fads and be part of the amazing community that will be a part of this! WOOOOOOO!!!!!

  13. Marcus September 29, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

    I want NEED to go to this! I just turned 37 and I don’t get the internets. Please help! I’m in danger of loosing my cool! Help me keep up with the cool kids before I hit my midlife crisis!

  14. Hilary Andriesian September 29, 2011 at 11:58 pm #

    Huh Ben? Me ow. Purr fect ion. Rock lobster. gimme gimme



  15. Tina September 30, 2011 at 1:58 am #

    The boyfriend and I haven’t had a date in ages. This will be lots of fun.

  16. Matthew DT September 30, 2011 at 8:40 am #

    My buddy Cheezburger Eddie (Spelled incorrectly because it isn’t ironic yet) and I would love to go to this. I’ve been in the W+K offices too. Props to anyone who gets to work there. The place is awesome

  17. Tim September 30, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    purrr purrr
    i promise to avert my eyes if u lets me go
    -ceiling cat

  18. Chris September 30, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    Help me Help the World.
    – Chris.

  19. Anthony September 30, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    I need something socially unacceptable to do tomorrow :(

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