The world's tallest Internet entrepreneur

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World Record: Most Party Hats Worn At Once (Elna Baker) Photo: Emily Wilson

Yesterday, the Air Force announced that its Waverider aircraft set the record for hypersonic flight -- it reached Mach 6. Which is impressive.

But some other world records were also broken yesterday: Fastest Time to Name All James Bond Movies in Chronological Order (9.9 seconds). And Most Beer Bottles Balanced on Chin (12 bottles).

These records were featured on one of my favorite websites, the Universal Record Database . If you're not familiar, it's a Youtube-like version of world records, where anyone can upload their feats of human achievement -- no matter whether they're inspiring or absurd, athletic or intellectual.

I thought I'd take this historic opportunity to do a short Q&A with my friend Dan Rollman, who, along with his colleagues, launched the site about a year ago. (It started as a project at Burning Man in 2004).


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Here's Rollman - who I believe holds the unofficial record for tallest internet entrepreneur (6-foot-7). And who also beat my record for longest hand coo, about which I am only moderately bitter.

What is the most unbreakable record?

If anyone ever beats Chad Lunders' record for Fastest Time To Recite "To Be Or Not To Be" Soliloquy While Balancing On A Rola Bola On A Picnic Table And Juggling Knives, I'll be mightily impressed.

What was the first world record set on URDB?  

The first submission I remember coming directly to the site was from a guy in Australia named Daniel Fowler. It was for Most Giraffe Tattoos On A Shoulder (1). 

Three months later, a San Diego radio station offered a free tattoo to anyone who would come in and beat Fowler's record. A guy named Mike McDonald got three shoulder giraffes inked live on-air.

A couple of weeks after that, Daniel Fowler got three more giraffe tattoos on his shoulder and reclaimed his record. That was the exact moment I knew we were onto something. 

What is your most watched world record?

Our most viewed record is Longest Whisper Chain, set last summer at one of our World Record Appreciation Society live events. A guy named Jake Bronstein came onstage and whispered "Kristina, will you marry me?" to a volunteer from the crowd. That person then whispered it to the next person and so on, Telephone Game style. She said yes. By the way, I'm going to their wedding in July.

You also get a lot of traffic for the Deepest Toe Cameltoe. Tell me how that happened?

One of the earliest records we documented at Burning Man involved a woman who measured the depth of indentation between her big toe and second toe. Unsure what to call the record, we went with "Deepest Toe Cameltoe." Appropriate and descriptive title, right?

Somehow, over the past year, this record page has risen extremely high in search ratings for "cameltoe." The title alone has driven tens of thousands of people to our site. We've pondered changing it to avoid confusion, but, you know, we, um, haven't come up with a better title yet.

Speaking of which, you must get people who submit X-rated world records? Like most people in an orgy?

It's a site for all ages, so we don't currently accept X-rated submissions. We do, however have Most Naked People In A Hot Tub and Largest Group Eskimo Kiss. There's also a quick glimpse of a boob hidden deep on one video, but you'll have to pay a hefty ransom for me to reveal where it is.

What about getting seven billion people to do something?

Awesome idea. Imagine if the whole planet teamed up to beat Jake Bronstein's Longest Whisper Chain? That would be a landmark moment in human achievement. Especially if the message traveled without anyone messing it up.
If that were to happen, what do you think the message be? 

Human beings are radical.



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World Record: Most People To Kiss Same Person At Once (Paymon Parsia) Photo: Emily Wilson

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World Record: Fastest Time To Drink Pint Of Beer While Juggling 5 Balls (Stephen Bent) Photo: Emily Wilson