It’s good to be a robot entrepreneur.

Being all logic and no emotions, you can make hard decisions with ease. You hire the right people based on the correct metrics. You make difficult calls with the deftness of Occam’s Razor. You fire poor performers without any emotional baggage. You’re a machine.

You may wish you could rely solely on logic, but that is only half of what you need to be a good founder.

Startup culture places immense value in our logical thought process. I do too. But without incorporating both sides of your brain in your decision-making (slow logic and fast intuition), you risk being swept down the river when the dam of startup stress bursts. …


The best advice I ever received:

“Do what you love, in the place you love, with people you love,” said my friend Brad Feld. Since then, I have relentlessly chased this vision: leaving the company I founded, traveling, giving up most of what I own, and moving to San Francisco.

I came here to build a new company. But after wandering the hipster cafes of SOMA for 31 days meeting amazing people, I failed to find something I love. While I dreamt up ideas for a company, my personal passion tugged at me. I ignored it because I judged it to be too risky. Too impossible to consider. Too ambitious to be sane. …


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Elephants roaming in Damaraland, Namibia. Ben Huh

I am writing to remember what I learned in the last 12 months of our life traveling to 37 countries. I originally wrote this letter of stream of thoughts to myself, but I’ll take the risk of publishing it. I hope it’s as helpful to you as it is to me.

First:

The word gratitude seems too small to describe how fortunate and thankful we are for our gap year.

Second:

I’ve come to understand clichés.

When Emily and I planned our gap year, we did not set goals. This was our first extended free time to examine our life and happiness. I did not want to set expectations in case of failure. But of course, it’s not possible to start a trip like ours without expectations. As we planned our travels, I began to imagine spectacular moments, expect amazing experiences, anticipate great food, and dream up exciting adventures. We did experience all those things, but they deviated sharply from my mental image. We flew a drone on all 7 continents, held a baby panda bear, watched sunrises and sunsets color the giant Moai statues on Easter Island, argued our way out from crooked cops who demanded bribes, and sailed the Mediterranean. With the ups, I experienced the downs. I began writing a book, but halted the project mid-way. I battled depression, disappointment, and frustration. …


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Extreme winds whip up a snow storm in Ushuaia, Argentina, at the southern tip of the Americas. Photo by Ben Huh

I received a heartfelt question from a friend who is a young, single, software developer, about making a difficult choice. Should he:

  1. Return to a startup offering big money? But one that’s burned him out.
  2. Travel extensively but spend down his savings? Feels irresponsible.

Many of our choices are based around avoidance, but often, we are fortunate enough to be faced with 2 choices with different positive outcomes.

That’s a task for the “Extreme Choice Framework” — a way to decide when you have multiple positive choices to choose from. This isn’t wisdom. …


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My mom and our family car during my high school days.

Ben is the founder and former-CEO of the Cheezburger Network and co-founder of Circa currently filming drone videos around the world.

It’s common for people who live through stressful and traumatic moments to forget them. I was no exception. What I do remember are the phone calls with my immigration lawyers, asking them on every call what the U.S. deportation process was like and how much time I might have to pack up my life. But try as I might, I couldn’t remember. I would forget right after I’d hang up.

Fortunately for me, I was at least on a call with real lawyers, unlike the last ones our family used. …


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I’ve always dreamt of being a pilot. It was much easier once I wrote that I would and could do it.

Before I started The Cheezburger Network, I’ve kept a public Life Goals list. I published it on my personal site on a whim more than a decade ago, and to my surprise, people have been continuously drawn to it.

The kind of things on my list are not groundbreaking. For example: Graduating from college, paying off my mortgage, writing a book, etc.

When I ask people why they are so surprised to see my Life Goals list, there are three repeating themes:

  1. I was able to create a list,
  2. I was brave enough to publish it, and
  3. I actually crossed — and continue to cross — items off the list with dates added. …


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Thirsty wanderers at Great Sand Dunes National Park.

After stepping down from Cheezburger last month, my wife and I decided to spend the next year traveling the world. We started by visiting friends and family to reconnect. We are having a great time reveling in our stories, dreaming of the future, and checking items off our bucket list. I am certainly overjoyed by the fact that I have no need to know the day of the week.

When we tell our friends about our plans to spend the next 12 months visiting dozens of countries, we get wonderful reactions like surprise, a sense of shared joy, and great advice. When we get the occasional tinge of jealousy, it goes straight to inflating my ego. (I really should talk to my therapist about that.) …


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Emily and I. 8 years after starting our company.

Dear Friends and Fans of Cheezburger,

After 8 incredible years, I am stepping down from being CEO of Cheezburger today.

I will remain a Board member. Cheezburger’s President and COO, Scott Moore will step in to the CEO role with my full support. Scott has proven to be a skilled operator and a steadfast leader. He has taught me a lot about being strategic, decisive, and positive. He has taught me that I have much to learn, and I am grateful for his dedication to Cheezburger. I will miss working with him daily.

I recommended this change to our Board as we continue to get closer to profitability. We have been preparing for this transition for the last few months and I have learned that our investors are truly exceptional people as they have repeatedly demonstrated their helpfulness. I am thankful for their support during this change. …


Our entire lives are documented and stored with someone else — our private photos, love letters, sexts, bank details, etc. US and foreign governments, law enforcement, and even other corporations are increasingly demanding this data from our Verizons, Googles, and Snapchats. Cheezburger is not immune from these requests.

In response, companies have issued “Transparency Reports” as a way to inform consumers about these requests. These reports force companies that store your data to be accountable to the users about the process of disclosing information and shine a light on the tactics used by those who demand this information.

This is a good start. But unfortunately, very few people ever read them.


Note: This is a repost from benhuh.org

YOU ARE HERE

On Friday, May 18th 2012 just after sunrise, I stood at the edge of a 150 foot tall natural rock arch in the Moab desert looking over the side, ready to jump. There were an infinite number of reasons why this was a bad idea.

How did I get here?

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In February, a viral video of the insane jump off Corona Arch was making the rounds. It had accumulated more than 10 million views. So that same month, when Francisco Dao, organizer of the 50 Kings conference asked me if I would do the jump. I didn’t hesitate at all. …

About

Ben Huh

Now: Building New Cities at Y Combinator. Then: CEO and Founder of Cheezburger and co-founder of Circa.

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