PETER KOECHLEY^^Co-­founder of Upworthy


Peter Koechley '03CC has been making important ideas irresistible for more than a decade — as an Onion editor, a viral video producer, and now, as a co-­founder of Upworthy.

At 24, he became managing editor of The Onion, America’s Finest News Source™, where he co-­created the company's break-­out Onion News Network video series, staffed and oversaw digital strategy, and wrote YOUR all-­time-­favorite Onion headline.

Peter joined in 2007 to work on video strategy and youth vote initiatives. During the 2008 presidential campaign, he led a team that helped raise $10 million dollars, add 2 million members to the organization, and ship more than 5 million buttons, stickers, and limited-­edition screen-printed posters signed by Shepard Fairey. In the final weeks of the race, Peter produced and directed a video accusing the viewer of ruining the election by not voting, which was seen more than 23 million times. Voter turnout was also unusually high that year, but correlation ≠ causation.

In early 2012, Peter co-­founded Upworthy with longtime collaborator Eli Pariser. The pair set out to prove once and for all that what’s important can be incredibly popular, even if what’s popular isn’t usually important. To date, the Upworthy community has logged more than 1.5 billion minutes of attention on topics ranging from the criminal justice system to advertising’s adverse effects on body image to clean energy.

A Madison, Wisconsin native, Peter is based in Brooklyn, where he lives with his wife, toddler son, and dog. You should follow him on Twitter here.


2015 Speakercasey altman