Chris Poole (aka moot) is many things. He is the founder of the notorious 4chan (2003—), the bulletin board that gave rise to some of the most memorable memes of past decade, and Canv.as (2010—), a website that encourages sharing and remixing media. His most recent project, DrawQuest, is an iPad app that prompts users with a new drawing challenge every day. Its latest version was launched in the iTunes store last week.
Poole embodies and understands the internet and online community in the way only a millennial who had a computer in his bedroom with no parental supervision can. He started 4chan when he was 15, and for the community that emerged around it, he belongs in the pantheon of internet gods. Their adoration went so far that in 2009, 4chan users flooded the Time 100 poll to award Poole as The World's Most Influential Person. They describe him in the satirical Internet culture wiki Encyclopedia Dramatica as "supreme overlord of the Internet." He still devotes a considerable amount of time and money to 4chan, despite the fact that he can expect nothing in return. But although he stays involved in the community he created as an adolescent, Poole has grown up. Now, he’s an entrepreneur attempting to solve the puzzle of how to cultivate and – hopefully – monetize a creative online community.
I met with Poole for bubble tea in the East Village on a hot Tuesday afternoon. After showing me the new updates in the latest version of DrawQuest, we talked about his views on art, online communities, and growing up internet.
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