Matt Inman didn’t come to Gnomedex to discuss baking. He wasn’t explaining how his mom fixed his breakfast. He stood before us on the big stage to tell us his recipe for success. Matt IS The Oatmeal. His cartoons and quizzes are legendary. His is a story of passion and dedication, of laughter and late nights, and of skyrocketing over the top of that “other” type of oatmeal within a Google search. This, my friends, is the stuff dreams are made of. Meeting Matt in person and realizing what a fun and humble person he is just adds the proverbial icing to the cake – or would that be on the cookies?
27 year old Matt Inman draws, sketches and codes his way to a successful business making people laugh. His site, receiving more than four million unique hits per month, was recently named in Time Magazine’s Top Blogs of 2010.
Behind his wit and unassuming presence, Matt has a powerful story about his journey and how social media played a role in his success. His experience includes co-founder of SEOmoz,and founder and creator of an online dating website which he later sold, Mingle2 (the entire site from concept to launch was built in only 66.5 hours). He now focuses his energies full time on The Oatmeal.
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I can’t think of the last time I set any site as my default “start page” (other than my own, or a local document of collected links and search fields). I was checking referral logs for bLaugh and noticed that Protopage and Netvibes kept popping up. I had visited each of them a while ago, but never really bothered to return to either – portal sites aren’t really my thing.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that our daily comic was toggled as a default widget on the primary Protopage tab! So, not only is Protopage the best designed AJAX portal, but it also has the best sense of humor. Okay, so maybe I’m a bit biased with the second claim – but it’s still incredibly thrilling to see just how many people have picked up on bLaugh since its launch a few months ago. Technorati reports that we’ve moved up to 831 (3,919 links from 1,353 blogs), though Hugh has been around substantially longer and has a insanely better numbers (and rightfully so).
Comic impressions are different than text impressions and/or video plays – just like most Web images (read: banners) have always been better played for branding purposes. For instance, there’s virtually no way of telling how many people read bLaugh on a daily basis through mass aggregation services like Protopage, Google Reader, Bloglines, etc. I can tell you one thing: I certainly welcome the use of our feed and/or API by any third-party. Brad and I have already been profitable with our madcapped adventure – without having to resort to venture comical capital. GoDaddy seems equally as happy! Move over, United Feature Syndicate and King Features Syndicate!
When we released the bLaugh API, I was hoping that some enterprising developer would use it to create something fun. Mike from Singer’s Creations just unleashed Comicazzi tonight. Essentially, it’s a desktop app that will let you drag and drop bLaugh comics onto your current wallpaper. If that doesn’t sound very exciting to you, I’ve suggested that the interactive comic viewer eventually include other Web comics – hence, the generic “Comicazzi” title. If you would like your comic to be included in the app, you’ll have to talk to Mike about it (and give him an easy way to access the images). I’ve also suggested that Comicazzi eventually call on the Flickr API to help people build dynamic wallpapers from Flickr iamges, too. Fun times! Download it!
Okay, so… Brad and I released this comic on bLaugh today:
Should be chuckle-worthy, though it wasn’t the original strip. I showed another image to friends, with some of them suggesting that we hold it indefinitely – and others suggesting that we run it immediately. If you’re offended easily, you don’t want to see this: the comic we chose not to run.
Did we make the right decision in not running the original version? It’s culturally offensive (playing on stereotypes), but so are countless political cartoons these days. I personally think we did the right thing by going with the ski-masks. Last thing I’d ever want to do is incite an interracial (or international) incident.
I was playing around with our new Web comic this evening. We launched the other day and are making fantastic progress with the gags. Steve Rubel wants a larger version of his strip, suitable for framing. Don’t know if there’s a market in that, but… maybe we should post larger and smaller images, too? I thought I’d check to see if RubelWithoutACause.com was taken, and it’s not. I kept playing with the GoDaddy search form and found several that weren’t taken (as of the time of this entry):
I love to laugh – so now I’m preparing the world to bLaugh! Today, we’re launching the (un)Official comic of the blogosphere – colorful, satirical, and comical. Expect parodies of “A-List” bloggers all the way down to the meme of the day – no holds barred. Brad Fitzpatrick is bLaugh’s artist, and I’m the writer. The strip is exclusively sponsored by a single company, GoDaddy. We have a bLaugh feed for you to suck down – and we’ll rotate the daily comic image in a static URL to encourage deep-linking from anywhere (widgets, anyone?). Of course, all you ego-whores should be watching closely – because you’re likely the ones to be parodied on a regular basis. If you blog, or your name (brand) is getting tossed around in the blogosphere, you’re on our radar. That includes you, Hugh and Jacek (because we love everybody equally).