Category Archives: Business

The Zappos Tour and Us

Ben Huh at the Zappos Tour

One of the fundamental changes that technology brings us is a change in the way we do business. One of the least-understood impact of such change is a change in culture.

When I went down to Las Vegas for CES, I was invited on a tour of Zappos by two Vegas social media starlets Bill Cody and Chris Rauschnot. I started the Zappos tour with a healthy dose of skepticism: “they can’t really love working there that much, could they?”

I’ll cut to the chase: I walked out a believer with a handful of business books from their free library and an appreciation for the blank slate technology has given entrepreneurs like us.

The most important thing I learned is that Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, had an opportunity to reinvent the way shoes are sold as a result of the Internet revolution. But rather than using technology to define the business, he used the technology to enable a new culture in customer service — by re-examining every little detail. (If you want to read more about the Zappos culture, I would recommend that you Google it. There’s been enough written about it to fill several books. Then go take a tour and see for yourself.)

The most direct reaction from my revelations at Zappos would have been to run to the airport, draft a long email on the flight and implement the practice by edict. Wouldn’t that have been easy and effective? But most importantly, it would have been a waste of time. Cultural changes don’t work that way.

Coincidentally, for weeks before visiting Zappos, I have been obsessed with finding The Cheezburger Way to do recruiting and hiring. It’s been priority #1 for me for weeks.

So, on the way home from Vegas, I took a deep breath and decided that culture was best built by the people who work here — so I started asking our team questions about what kind of a company we wanted Cheezburger to be and we started experimenting on our recruiting process, because that’s where it all starts.

It may be subtle and hard to notice, but this job listing for a “Supercharger” is the result of 6 weeks of interviews, research and soul-searching. Can you spot the difference?

Follow up on why universal healthcare will benefit the startup ecosystem

I recently did an interview with the Dave Shorr Show where I expanded on why guaranteed healthcare coverage means a better environment for startups.

How to get tossed from a job application

Last night, I posted an ad for the Managing Editor of Cute position at the Cheezburger Network in the SF Craigslist:

The Cheezburger Network (bringers of I Can Has Cheezburger?, FAIL Blog, There I Fixed it and like 30 more) are looking for a superstar editor to manage their new cute-oriented blogs:

Are you a content professional? Have you managed editorial teams and freelance writers? Have you grown consumer-focused communities? Negotiated content exchange and traffic development deals on the Web? ARE YOU AWESOME?

More info and application is here: Apply at

The job DOES require relocation to Seattle.

I received several good candidates via our online job application management system. But I also received this webgem of a reply. While the email contained more professional information about this candidate, this was the very first line in the email:

From your ad copy, you sound like you have no money, and are goofy to work with…if you are (hopefully) a little more together than your copy would indicate, than maybe we should talk.

Let me count the wrongs…

1) No greeting. Hello. Hola, OHAI, or even YO! MTV RAPS would have been acceptable.
2) “you sound like you have no money” LOLWUT? Assuming makes an ass out of U. Not me. Maybe you’re saying that we’re poor as a compliment, but as a communicator you should know better than to lob ambiguous compliments.
3) “if you are (hopefully) a little more together” I assure you Mr. Jobseeking Professional Communicator, that this is potentially an explosive accusation. We are VERY much together and the use of a search engine would probably help. Also, RTFMing.
4) “than maybe we should talk”. Than? No Mr. Accomplished Communications Professional. The correct word to use in this case is “then” not “than”. Even, I, the runner of massibly misspellinged web network of kittens linguistics knows this.
5) You sent me an email. I provided a link to an online application site. As much as I enjoy a rule breaker now and “than”, but being a lazy jackass doesn’t win you any points.

Thanks for the consideration,
Ben Huh

Resumes. Here. Please.

The Cheezburger Network has 7 open positions:

  • 4 Moderators
  • Managing Editor of Cute
  • Sr. Developer
  • Automated Test Developer

Two of these positions can be applied for on-line: Moderator and Managing Editor. Both positions are based in Seattle.

My Last Upgrade

I upgraded this blog from WordPress v. old.old to the latest version (which means I no longer need to do manual upgrades in the future). Every time I interact with Automattic’s products I am very impressed by their ability to translate technical prowess into effectiveness. It’s something that we try to emulate at Cheezburger.

Kudos, Automattic.

MSNBC interview about "A Day Without Cats"

1 sentence summary = probably not going to make any impact (thank goodness)

This is Timeaaaahhhhh!!!!!

Wow. Thanks to MaggieCake

Me. Time Cover. Shopped.

The Glamor of Trans-National TV Interviews

I appeared as a guest on The Morning Show for Australia’s Seven network.

What looks like this on TV:

I'm a talking head!

Actually looks like this from the point of view of the talking heads:

It’s amazing what you can do on TV. Also, Aussies are just so adorable!

The Killer Fear of Guaranteed Healthcare

The most astounding thing about the health care reform is the amount of frightened people out there. What’s even more amazing is the number of uninsured people who are afraid of government intervention. That’s like the poor worrying about the higher taxes rich people pay.

I’ve been on both sides of the system. As a relatively young man, not being insured doesn’t appear to be much of a problem. Medically, young males have very few things to worry about. On the other hand, as a husband, I can’t imagine putting my family through a financial disaster that is possible under the current arrangement. I’ve seen my mother survive cancer and enjoyed the benefits of company-paid healthcare. And then watched her become worried and desperate for coverage after she was laid off and became uninsured.

As a CEO, I’ve come to realize that lack of healthcare is a barrier for employees from leaving jobs and starting new businesses. That’s a problem for a small business / startup like ours. Its not unusual to run in to very talented employees working at large companies who feel that they cannot leave a job they dislike because our company’s health plan is not as good. I’ve met many people who would love to start a new business but can’t, because they would be unable to get coverage for pre-existing conditions until they reach a certain company size.

Effectively, unequal healthcare serves as a barrier to innovation. It’s entirely possible that our own employees may quit and start their own companies because guaranteed heathcare coverage may allow them to do so, but I have no desire to be the man that keeps an employee down. Increasing costs in healthcare also means that annually we face the choice of paying more in premiums or cutting benefits.

This will probably be the last time in a long time that we’ll be able to have an intelligent public debate about how we can safeguard our family from healthcare costs. So please, don’t be afraid of the complexity and start asking questions.

Loverly Things

One of the surprising things about this job is the random gifts people send us. From thank you notes to cakes and candy, we’ve gotten some amazing things from our fans and partners.

Today, we received the biggest gift we’ve ever gotten in the form of four American Apparel boxes from Dov and Ryan. Here’s the chaos that ensued after I opened one of the boxes and said “Hey! Free clothes!”

*Warning: Transgender apparel outfitting*

Thanks American Apparel!


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