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Home » Imgur’s CEO Alan Schaaf on Breaking Outside of Your Friends List (Full Transcript)

Imgur’s CEO Alan Schaaf on Breaking Outside of Your Friends List (Full Transcript)

The following is the full transcript of Imgur’s CEO Alan Schaaf’s TEDx talk: Breaking Outside of Your Friends List at TEDxWellington.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Breaking outside of your friends list by Alan Schaaf at TEDxWellington


Five years ago, I created a website called Imgur, which is now one of the top 50 most trafficked websites on the internet. And I was helped by my involvement with online communities.

When I was growing up, I had a deep passion for computers and programming. I remember coming home from school, running up the stairs to my room and just being on my computer for the entire night until it was time for bed.

My mom could not understand what I was doing up there but I was essentially breaking my computer and then fixing it again. Over and over, trying to customize it to make it do what I wanted. Things like installing new parts, writing small programs to move files around. I even wrote a small program that shut down the computer as soon as it booted up.

Every time something went wrong, rather than bringing it in to be repaired, I would just search the internet for a solution. And almost every time, I would land upon a community forum where people were talking about the exact thing that I was trying to do. If I didn’t, then I would just post to a community forum to ask my question and then wait for an answer.

So what my mom didn’t know at the time was that I had actually discovered this world of anonymous strangers on the internet sharing knowledge with each other and helping each other out. And over time, I ended up learning more and more about my passion because of it.

So for the next few minutes, you will learn how the internet is changing how we think about community. It used to be an immediate social construct based on religion, education, race or ethnicity, it almost always included a geographic restriction. You interacted directly or physically with the communities to which you belonged.

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