Courtsy of Ebru Yildiz/NPR
Jonah Peretti, founder and CEO of Buzzfeed; co-founder of the Huffington Post
Shortly after launching HuffPost, which sold to AOL for $315 million in 2011, Peretti started BuzzFeed as a side project.
“I learned a lot at Huffington Post about building a business and start-ups, but there were still things I wanted to figure out about media,” he tells Raz. “What does it mean when people can share media and become the distribution? … I couldn’t do it at HuffPost, so I started BuzzFeed as a lab where I could continue to play and do research and experiment.”
Since launching, BuzzFeed has about doubled their audience every year, Peretti tells Raz. Today, the company reaches hundreds of millions of readers, employs 1,300 people around the world and was last valued at around $1.5 billion.
Arguably, it all started with the 2001 email thread. “The Nike email was the thing that opened my eyes to the kind of stuff I’m doing now and it really was an accident,” Peretti says in an interview with Felix Salmon. “It was, ‘I should be writing my master’s thesis. I’m procrastinating.'”
A little bit of luck can go a long way, the CEO tells Raz: “Once you have some initial success, you get access to people and ideas and data that allow you to synthesize things. … If you stay at something long enough and you learn as you’re doing it, a little bit of initial luck can be turned into something much bigger over time.”
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