Ben Huh

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.”

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  • Jeff Rodenburg

    Very brave post, Ben. The world’s a better place for you making it out, as we know others aren’t so lucky.

  • Erin Zangari

    I don’t get any sense of sincerity from Huh. It seems like this guys will do/say just about anything for publicity.

    • Alpinmd

      It’s not the “feeling of entepreuers and creative thinkers,” rather the feelings and thoughts of a HUMAN BEING – we are who we are NOT what we do. 

  • Jay

    Great post, Ben.  A lot of people don’t realize the sometimes incredible, long-term pressure and strain that entrepreneurs often find themselves under.  My experience is it can be very taxing emotionally, with lots of emotional swings from extreme lows to extreme highs (sometimes in the same week!).  Insulating co-workers, investors and family seems to be the most prudent course of action (i.e to “tough it out”) in our society, but that can often exacerbate the issues.

  • Guest

    As someone who suffers from chronic depression that has sent me to the hospital many times over, I have so many issues with his post that I don’t even know where to begin.



  • private pilot license

    Very inspiring and touching story, Ben. It was heart touching to hear how someone so successful could have dealt with such problems before seeing success…Something we must all learn in our path as entrepreneurs and in life.

  • Guest

    WAAAAA… loser and thief

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