James Hong

investor in Menlo Park, CA

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I've lived a very lucky life so far, and I try to appreciate it as much as I can. Here are the things that I care and think about:

I enjoy spending time with my family a lot. Thanks and love to my wife Julia who somehow manages to puts up with all my antics, and to my kids Jackson (aka Roaming Jackson) and Sophie who love my antics.

I'm also fortunate to have many people that I consider close friends. I've been told by someone that I like people "to a fault", the truth is that I generally like most people and tend to see the good in them more than any bad.. which basically means if I don't like someone, i *REALLY* don't like them. But fortunately that is rare, which keeps life pretty good. I can tolerate jerks, I mainly can't stand phonies.
I wish I could spend an infinite amount of time with all the people I feel close to, but physical and time constraints (and kid constraints!) make that impossible. Here are the friends that I am able to spend time with on a more regular basis: [to come]

Most people know me as the guy who came up with HOT or NOT, a website where people uploaded their picture for others to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 based on hotness. We built a lot of cool things at HOTorNOT including Yafro, which was one of the first online mobile picture sharing sites (vis MMS) in 2003.. basically an early Instagram. HOTorNOT as a company was very cool and touched a lot of important things, although you could argue our timing and aggressiveness were both horrible. We almost got Steve Chen and Mike Solomon (Youtube employee #1) join us to start a social network around media sharing, and our site had a strong influence on how they got started (it started off as a video HOTorNOT dating service). We were also able to help lots of of our friends with their startups by giving them years of free hosting (mi rack es su rack!), and many of them have been quite successful. These include: Zipdash (now Google mobile maps), Bit Torrent, Mochi Media, and Twitter.

At HOTorNOT, we had what we felt was arguably one of the better teams in the valley a the time. Not many people flowed through our company, but almost every one of them ended up making millions on their own startups after leaving HOTorNOT. One of them was Crunchyroll, which was sold to AT&T for over a billion dollars and has millions of paying users.

  • Education
    • UC Berkeley