March 30, 2011

Cornell’s Own Zuckerbergs?

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The Sun editors have not been too pleased with me lately. In fact, they threatened to cancel my column if I didn’t contribute something “meaningful” and “important” to the paper for once. Faced with this ultimatum, I decided to try my hand at being an interviewer. My first two test subjects: Eric Burel and Charles Cho — two Cornell seniors who started the events-based website I headed over to their secret entrepreneurial lair (a.k.a. their apartment on College Ave) and went all Barbara Walters on their asses.

The Sun: Gentlemen, thank you for sitting down with me today. Why don’t you start out by telling the great people of Cornell a little bit about

Charles Cho: Well, CampusAmp is a website that Eric and I founded with a couple of other people — Jesse Zhang, Michael Fortino, Le Zhang — and the premise is finding and promoting events at Cornell. So, there’s Facebook events and the Cornell calendar, those are both great sites to find events, but they don’t have everything. You either have to go to Facebook for something or the Cornell calendar for something. We just wanted to bridge that gap and have a website where you can find everything that’s going on.

Eric Burel: We have a large emphasis on organizations as well. We’re looking to empower organizations by giving them the opportunity to promote their events on our site, and also providing them with features so they can manage their members.

Sun: So are you guys trying to be the next Mark Zuckerberg? Because that guy is a huge asshole.

C.C.: Some people call me Charles Chockerberg and Eric, umm …

E.B.: That one didn’t work [laughs].

C.C.: Call me Chockerberg in the interview.

E.B.: But anyway, the way I would say it is, when you look at companies out there today, there are some companies that are considered to be evil corporations, and then there are some like Google that have really made a strong stance to show they’re not evil and that they’re out to promote good. So for us, we’re trying to be a company like Google. We’re trying to help the greater good of the Cornell community, as well as other communities we’ve been to —

Chockerberg: A company like B.P., Exxon Mobil … [laughs]

Sun: In the movie The Social Network, the whole Facebook thing gets started because Zuckerberg gets rejected by a girl. Which girls rejected you and made you angry enough to start this website?

E.B.: Oh my God … [laughs] … Yeah, I would say that Cho and I had girlfriends that made us extremely frustrated and told us they would break up with us if we weren’t billionaires by 25 like Zuckerberg, or by 30 like Sergey Brin [glances at girlfriend who is also sitting in the room].

Sun: Or were you trying to impress some of the ladies out there by making this website? Like, for me, the only reason I became a Sun columnist was to get girls.

E.B.: Yeah, what can I say, everyone loves a baller entrepreneur. So, you know, maybe I’ll move out to San Fran, live in Silicone Valley, ball it up like J.T. did in The Social Network …

Chockerberg: Silicone Valley? Don’t you mean Silicon? [laughs]

E.B.: Whoops … Definitely don’t put that in the interview.

Sun: Zuckerberg also backstabbed his friend Eduardo in the movie. Which one of you guys is going to be the one that eventually backstabs the other guy?

Chockerberg: You can just call me Cho-uardo because I’m expecting to get backstabbed.

E.B.: Yeah, I already have it booked on my iCalendar over here … Have Cho sign a contract that dilutes his thirty percent ownership to .001 percent next week. I just have Cho sign legal documents all the time. He never really knows what he’s agreeing to. Not only do I get his equity, but I’m going to get his house as well [laughs].

Sun: All right, let’s move on from The Social Network, though I want to remind the two of you to stay away from any shady Justin Timberlake-type characters, because they’re trouble … What do you guys have planned for CampusAmp in the near future?

E.B.: Well, this semester we’re hopefully going to launch at Lafayette, as well as Union. We’re trying to go to some smaller colleges and see how it goes there. As you know, Cornell is a fairly large institution. And then beyond that, next fall we’re going to have a ticketing system in place.

Cho-uardo: Also, we’re looking for marketing interns at Cornell and other universities, so if you’re interested in helping out a start-up, contact us.

E.B.: Only ballers should apply, though [laughs].

Sun: One of your main competitors is CollegeACB, because a lot of people go there to get their party information. Are you guys trying to put CollegeACB out of business? Because that’s my favorite website of all time.

E.B.: Well, I think CollegeACB is a good site in its own right, but what we’re trying to do is provide a more reliable source for events. On ACB, you take it with a huge grain of salt when a party is posted; like, you can show up at the door and there’s no party actually going on, or maybe it’s an extremely private party. But, I think CollegeACB does have its benefits of having interesting, provocative conversations, I guess, about anything from sex to random shenanigans going around campus …

Sun: I love those threads about me, and also that one about who the hot blonde chick in that one Econ class is.

Cho-uardo: Yeah [laughs], CollegeACB is a lot more gossip-focused, whereas we’re really trying to focus more on events.

Sun: A couple of weeks ago you guys had a CampusAmp launch party at Johnny O’s that I reluctantly attended. Why would you ever decide to have a launch party at Johnny O’s?

Cho-uardo: Well, we know that Johnny O’s is probably one of the least popular bars in Collegetown, but we decided that the setup of the bar was a good fit for our launch party. There was a huge projector that we were able to project our website on, and it was kind of a smaller feel than Dino’s and Level B.

Sun: You guys don’t want to say it, so I will, because I have no shame: Johnny O’s sucks. If you were going to choose a bar that nobody goes to, you should have chosen Pixel. At least they have Super Mario Bros. 3 and Ms. Pac-Man.

E.B.: Yeah … [laughs] … You’re probably right about that.

Sun: OK, now for the most important question: On a scale of 1 to 10, how funny are my columns? (With 10 being The Hangover, and 1 being Big Momma’s House 3.)

Cho-uardo: I’d say like 7, like Family Guy.

E.B.: It’s very variable, especially when you go with the bulleted list. Sometimes one point will be like a 10 for me – it really hits home. But then the next point might be something that I’m not familiar with, and that’ll be more in the 3 or 4 range. So when you average it together, I’d say a 7 is pretty accurate …

Sun: Only a 7? You know, I don’t have to publish this interview if I don’t want to …

E.B.: Well, actually, now that I think about it, when you average it all together it’s more like a 10 [laughs].

Sun: That’s better … All right, any closing thoughts from the peanut gallery?

E.B.: Yeah, check out, and I’d like to thank the wonderful Corey Brezak for taking the time to interview us.

Cho-uardo: I’d like to thank you, as well as the other people who made this all possible, like Professor Lesser, Rebecca Black, Muhammad Ali, the sneezing panda on YouTube …

There you have it, folks. Check out and follow me, Corey Brezak, on Twitter. I only need 9 million more followers to reach Lady Gaga status. Peace out, y’all.

Original Author: Corey Brezak