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James Hong

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

So long HOTorNOT, and thanks for all the fish!

It was reported yesterday on Techcrunch that Jim and I sold HOTorNOT. I wasn’t originally going to make a big deal about the acquisition, preferring to go gently into that good night, but a lot of people have been asking questions so I thought I would kind of make an announcement here.

Mike actually got the exact size of the deal wrong, but he was correct that the deal closed on February 8. Where Mike Arrington gets his information I will never know, but man is that guy plugged in!!!

The private investors that bought us out intend to hire up and grow the HOTorNOT brand... basically to do all the things that Jim and I dreamed of doing, but never managed to organize and do! We would love to see HOTorNOT grow to epic proportion, and we are confident that it is in better hands with these guys!

If you run a company that is cashflow positive and may be synergistic with HOTorNOT, and are interested in being acquired, you should definitely contact them! You can see their contact info on their Hot or Not Media website.

I can’t speak for Jim, but he seems to be just as happy as I am about this deal. HOTorNOT was an insanely fun thing for us to create, and we are extremely proud of building a company of its size without ever taking any funding (back when a Megabit/second cost $1,000 a month!). To us, it is yet another example of the ultimate bootstrap, and we hope our story serves as an inspiration for all the entrepreneurs out there who are in the same spot we were in: totally broke and inexperienced, but with a good idea and the energy to start something new.

But all good things must come to an end. Eight years is a long time, and both Jim and I were mentally prepared to move on years ago. With our waning interest, it seemed like the right thing to do was put the company in the hands of capable people who are excited about it and want to take it to the next level. That would also better enable us to move on and focus on other things.

So since I have all this free time now, people have been asking me “what’s next”?

I’ve been just telling people that I’m busy actively helping out various companies I’ve invested in… but to be honest, the truth is that most of them are already doing well and don’t need my help (but everyone be sure to check out my friend Dennis "Thresh" Fong unveil his new company at GDC, next Friday at noon!)

The truth is I have no idea what I’m doing next. While my best friend Max is known for his large scale ambitions with Slide, I am content sitting at a café all day peoplewatching. As far as I know, I have no current plans to start an incubator or become a VC or anything… the only plans I have so far are to hit Vegas next weekend :)

The one thing I DO know is that after 8 years of HOTorNOT, I'm VERY ready for an extended summer vacation :)


Blogger Unknown said...

well, it's not vegas but i'll look forward to toasting over oolong tea at dim sum in a few weeks!

7:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations James! Wish you all the best.

I admire HotOrNot for monetizing so well without a penny of VC funding. I was really hoping you would take it public.

1:03 AM  
Blogger Scabr said...

Cool guys and cool service (sold!).Good luck!

7:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

James, congratulations from Paraguay.
Ive been following your blog since a while ago.

Its like every entrepreneur's dream came true.

I wish someday my websites got to be as succesful as yours.
Im 18 years old; Right now Im developing a dating site, a free webmail service and i have a greeaat idea in mind that it doesnt existe yet and it could turn very popular, but i cant develope it because the "money" factor.

I also wish you the best of luck with your future projects, I dont dubt they will be as succesful as HoN was.

Best hopes,

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

James - When I saw you talking with Guy Kawasaki and heard your story I *knew* your's was the inspiration that would keep me chugging along despite the tough conditions of bootstrapping.

Way to go guys! Congrats and well deserved.

~Gerald, Tulsa

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Been following your success for years.. You've been an inspiration to fellow boot strappers like myself. Great exit!

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm an entrepreneur (social app. developer) and friends with your office manager Desiree who always tells me how much she loves her job. It's classy that you've done so well and still maintained a great working environment. Kudos and best of luck in your future endeavors.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Jason Shellen said...

Congratulations James (and Jim)!

I know you have been looking to move along for a while now. Here's to Vegas!

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If only everybody could be as grounded as you seem to be, congrats!

8:36 PM  

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