The 20th Annual Webby Awards November 5, 2015

Interview with Giphy Co-Founder Alex Chung

Why the Internet Can't Be Stopped in 5 Words: Lolcats can not be denied. (1)

(Photo taken with the


This week we’re thrilled to feature the always animated team at Giphy and their depiction of “The Internet Can’t Be Stopped” for our 20th Annual Call For Entry campaign. Giphy won a Webby in Websites/Weird in 2015 and has been keeping it weird ever since. Did we mention that we have our very own page on their site filled with the most GIF-able moments in Webbys history?

Like when Patton Oswalt presented Jimmy Kimmel with a Webby on horseback.



Webby Special Achievement Winner Steve Wilhite invented the GIF back in 1987, but the ability to easily search GIFs wasn’t a possibility. That is, until a pair of resident hackers at Betaworks, the same start-up studio that made Webby Wins Dots and Digg, created the now number one GIF search engine in 2013.

One of the hackers and Giphy co-founders is Alex Chung, who we had the opportunity to feature in our Webby Fifty series presented by Grey Goose where he talked about the GIF’s place in popular culture and how they help us express ourselves.

A lot of awesome things have happened to the Giphy site so we caught up with Alex Chung to see what the team is working on and why he thinks the Internet can’t be stopped.

Tell us about your depiction of “The Internet Can’t Be Stopped”

“Gifs have been around since 1987, when the mac classic and laser discs were the latest and greatest in hardware. While a lot has changed since then, the internet has remained a place where people are constantly making and sharing. Our poster illustrates this through a bunch of gifs dancing on outdated technology.” – Giphy Creative Team

Watch The Webby Fifty:
Alex Chung, Co-Founder of Giphy

What’s the best thing to happen to the Internet in the past 20 years?

Email won.  Now no one can see your embarrassingly bad handwriting and assume you’re a 5th grader when you’re writing them. Also the move towards asynchronicity.  Everything communication, media, food has become asynchronous.  It’s like having a watch that can stop time and start it when you’re ready.  Yes I stole that from Clockstoppers which was pretty awesome in itself.


What are you most excited for in the next 20 years of the Internet?

The thing we don’t know yet to be excited about.  Something is going to change everything and we haven’t even imagined it yet.  That’s exciting.

A tv network for gifs? I don't think people even understand what that means yet but they will.”
— Alex Chung

Your team has helped shape the last 20 years of the Webbys. What are you working on now?

Giphy is exploring the question:  What does the internet, the world, everything look like compressed into a gif?  We know that the moving image is a really great compression format for information especially cultural information.  We’ve been building technology that converts anything into a moving image and when we’re done we’ll make it searchable to everyone.

What has changed in the way people use GIFs from when you first started Giphy?

Back then and even now the gif language and our linguistic gif vocabulary is mostly a few words (lots of them are cats).  But over the years we’ve been seeing it evolve and are seeing people starting to speak in sentences and more abstract ideas with gifs.  It’s like learning a new language.  We’re still doing a lot of grunting and smiling and impatiently waiting for the day when we our ideas across to everyone but at least we can order some food at the local bodega.

Tell Us in 5 words why the Internet can’t be stopped.

Lolcats can not be denied.

For the Call for Entries for our 20th Webby Awards, we have partnered with 20 Webby Winners – who throughout the past 20 years have shaped not only The Webby Awards, but the Internet itself. Read more about our 20th Webbys collaboration here.


Don’t forget you can watch all the highlights from the 20th Annual Webby Awards now!