While well known as a habitual truant at his high school, when 17-year old Andrey Ternovskiy is not where he's supposed to be, he's taking business lunches and entertaining offers. However the goose that laid the golden 'webcam' egg might be ready for a major change in his very short life. There's evidence that he just might be packing up the Internet's next shiny thing and transplanting it from Moscow to the Silicon Valley, in hopes of converting rubles into Ben Franklins.
If at this point in time you've been living under a rock or not tuning into the Daily Show, Chatroulette might not have entered into your lexicon. However for those that know that "nexting" is synonymous with "F9" and have a proclivity for 'dropping trou' in front of perfect strangers, you also know that Chatroulette has become the world's latest water cooler for the terminally attention-deficit and disorderly crowd.
In the immortal words of satirist Jon Stewart, the terrain known as the land of the "free flying dongs," is one of the only social networks that allows you to hob-knob with divergent demographic groups the likes of pubescent teens and journalists.
(Other videos, surveys and stats can be found on my previous blog titled "The Chatroulette Genie & 'F9' Are Out Of The Bottle!")
Yuri MilnerSo while fielding offers from the likes of Russian Web magnate Yuri Milner who in addition to owing 5% of Facebook is the CEO of Digital Sky Technologies, 'wunderkind' Ternovskiy is displaying business savvy of a man twice his age. After basically being asked to "name his price," young Andrey ends this high-level meeting with a "Thanks, but I'll have to sleep on it."
Wise move from the prodigy software coder, who grew his site from 500 daily users in December to an unfathomable 1.5 million today - while still maintaining one his original servers under his mother's kitchen table.
In the only interview he has agreed to do so far, Ternovskiy emailed Brad Stone at the New York Times that he "created this project for fun...a little site for me and my friends where we could connect randomly with other people." He also acknowledges that he knows the site is being used for reasons that are other than pure: "Although some people are using the site in not very nice ways – I am really against it," he notes in his broken English.
So while he has moved some of servers to Germany to attend to the increased traffic, Ternovskiy might have his targets set for a potential move to the USA. In his email to Stone, he muses, "I actually think that it would be best to found Chatroulette as a U.S.-based company. But this is just an idea." But one helluva idea from one cagey little 17-year old who was last seen applying for a US Visa.
Andrey Ternovskiy en route to the USA?