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I can haz business: King of the LOLcats on what it takes to build an empire

Stephanie McDonald | March 28, 2013
An entrepreneur who has reached the depths of depression after a failed start-up is now the CEO of a million dollar company

"You will have that moment where you think 'I'm working really hard - I'm working a lot of hours. This is really, really tough. Why am I doing this?' and a lot of entrepreneurs quit when they realise that they're doing it for the money," Huh says. "People sense that from you,"

In Australia there is often a perception that in order to make it big startups need to leave the country and head to Silicon Valley.

Huh says the key to stop Australian startups leaving the country is for them to make the most of the environment Australia has, citing tourism or natural resources as possible opportunities.

"If it can be done better elsewhere, go there. But if you're passionate about being here, use something that is going to give you an advantage to being here so you can build the business on the advantage of being in Australia," he says.

Huh says that making it easier for people to migrate to Australia would also encourage the startup scene here.

He says that like in Australia, programmers are in high demand in the US and businesses have dealt with the problem by importing labour "like crazy".

"In fact, we're pushing for a bill that allows any entrepreneur to set up shop in the United States and get a visa for doing so. We're trying to make it easier and easier to poach people from all over the world," he says.

Now that Cheezburger is into its sixth year of operation, Huh has proven that LOLcats are not just a short-term fad and that there's money to be made in cat memes.

Huh says the lasting nature of LOLcats is due to the ability of cats to convey human emotion. While dogs are either happy or sad, according to Huh, cats have a wider range of emotions.

"They can be mad, they can be upset, they can kind of not care, they can look evil but also good and they're adorable. So you can use them as a canvas for the human emotion," he says.

Huh says humans have been breeding cats for thousands of years to suit certain purposes - to fill our time with "love".

"So every time we breed a cat we're trying to make it better suited to our lives, so there's actually no surprise that after 10,000 years of selective breeding we've got a really adorable and cute [animal]," he says.

"So we've forced upon ourselves this - I call them weapons of mass cuteness because we've bred them that way."

Allergic to cats, Huh warns about the dangers of selectively breeding cats. He begins telling a story about a virus that around a third of the world's population is apparently infected with that makes people want to serve the feline species.

 

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