The Perks And Perils Of Launching A Massively Successful Startup

Before you ever “Liked” a single thing on Facebook, Lane Merrifield was busy building Club Penguin into a hugely popular social site for kids, which Disney snapped up for $350 million. With his new venture, he’s trying to develop a healthier work, life balance. Trying.


Before Twitter grew wings and Facebook went public, Lane Merrifield was figuring out how to create a safe social networking destination for kids. Club Penguin launched with a flood of traffic in 2005.

Lane Merrifield

His big idea? Recognizing early on that the Internet is an inherently social place.

Two years later, Disney swooped in with a $350 million offer to buy the popular service. For five years, Merrifield helped his Internet baby grow within the entertainment juggernaut.

He resigned late last year to work on a new startup, the student assessment software company FreshGrade, which will focus on “building some cool stuff for schools,” among other promising-sounding ideas.

During this episode of Dialed, Merrifield discusses the challenges of launching, running, and selling a startup–and finally figuring out how to be an entrepreneur without totally losing your mind.

[Image: Flickr user Bart Hiddink]

About the author

Amber Mac is a bestselling author, TV host, speaker, and strategist. She has worked as a technology TV host with tech guru Leo Laporte on G4TechTV and currently co-hosts a popular show on Laporte's network