Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh is known as a master of Web humor, with his company’s network of comedy sites drawing some 20 million unique visitors each month. He’s also a talented entrepreneur, building one of the most successful Internet upstarts in Seattle, one of the reasons he scored $30 million in venture capital earlier this year.
But before Huh got rolling at Cheezburger and following the demise of his previous startup, the Internet entrepreneur was locked in a room contemplating suicide.
In a candid blog post, Huh lays out his struggles with depression, pointing specifically to the toll that running a startup company can have on one’s psyche. He writes in the post — titled “When Death Feels Like a Good Option” — that he had to come to terms with failure as an entrepreneur.
“I closed the doors of my first start-up in the summer of 2001. I was throughly broke, depressed, and feeling the burden of losing hundreds of thousands of dollars of other people’s money. Loneliness, darkness, hopelessness… those words don’t capture the feeling of the profound self-doubt that sets in after a failure. Loneliness. Darkness. Hopelessness. Those words describe the environment of depression. Self-doubt? That shakes you to the core and starts a fracture in your identity that makes you question if you should even exist anymore.”
It’s refreshing to hear an entrepreneur, especially one who has met with as much success as Huh in recent years (Ben and his wife, Emily, were recently selected as GeekWire Newsmakers of 2011) to speak so openly about the struggles of entrepreneurial life and depression.
Huh followed up the post with an interview with Mashable, noting that he wrote the post to help everyone who is suffering through depression quietly.
“No amount of success, no amount of milestones can replace the loss of hope. A slew of entrepreneurs today are not all going to end up with a happy story, and I’m afraid this may lead to suicides,” Huh tells Mashable. “These discussions need to continue and they should happen in the blogosphere.”