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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

"But as startups, you don't know what's going to happen. You don't know if that strategy is going to work. No-one's telling you what to do, so you have to understand that you live in the grey area and you can't be waiting for orders all the time or just issuing orders and hoping they get done.

"You need people who can roll up their sleeves [and] can also do it by themselves."

This grey area, Huh says, can be challenging when people look to you to confidently say the company is on the right path.

He admits that he's had to learn self-belief along the way, but it can make an entrepreneur more reluctant to issue predictions about the world because "you're not very good at it".

"Every week will go by and you get an email and you'll be like 'holy crap, this is amazing' and you look at the numbers and go 'holy crap, it's terrible', and so you have this emotional rollercoaster that you go through."


Huh's tips for startups


Huh says he was given some sage advice early on - that he would spend too much money, he would not work on his product enough, and he would raise too little money and spend too much time doing it.

"I made all three mistakes. I said I wouldn't but I did. I ended up folding my first company in 18 months and then when I started Cheezburger I was a lot more frugal. I raised more money than I needed and so I was solving those issues that I had," he says.

In Sydney to talk about entrepreneurship in partnership with Dell, Huh says Australian startups also make the mistake of avoiding risk. He says Australians should embrace failure as part of the process all startups must go through.

"A lot of entrepreneurs avoid failure, so they actually avoid taking risks. One of the things I want to teach other entrepreneurs is that failure [is] part of the dialogue and it's ok if you fail as long as you take the right risks," he says.

"Sure, you don't want to fail, but if you spend your [time] avoiding failure, you're never going to see the opportunity; you're never going to fully embrace that opportunity."

Huh also advises startups to avoid following trends: by the time it's a trend it's probably too late and too difficult to catch up.

The key to success, he says, is to be there first and be the one willing to take the risk.

Entrepreneurs also need to be passionate about what they do, according to Huh. Due to the emotional rollercoaster that being an entrepreneur brings, he says passion helps to deals with the highs and lows.


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