The Webby Awards
In 1996, Tiffany Shlain founded The Webby Awards, the leading international honors for websites.
As business leader and creative director for nearly a decade, Tiffany and hundreds of others built The Webbys into a global institution and industry bellwether that is known as "the Oscars of The Internet."
The Early Days
In 1996, Tiffany was hired by The Web Magazine, an IDG publication, to produce the first Webby Awards, an idea which was initially brought to IDG by Erik Nelson, the Executive Producer of The Discovery Channel’s then series Cyberlife.
Tiffany's vision of honoring and amplifying the best of the web while also making the awards show model fun came to life from the beginning. That very first year, Tiffany instituted the five-word acceptance speech rule, which is still part of the show today, in its 25th year. She also brought on companies like Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, Intel, and Audi, collaborated with artists on extravagant performances, and made original short films that would project in creative ways for the sold out 3000 person events.
The electric roster of guests Tiffany brought to the show also shaped its personality: Prince, Al Gore, the Google founders, who rollerbladed on stage to accept their first Webby Award, internet pioneer Vinton Cerf, journalist Thomas L. Friedman, Bill Viola, and Arianna Huffington.
In 1998, Tiffany co-founded The International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences with Maya Draisin and Spencer Ante. The academy now has over 1000 members and still serves as The Webbys’ judging body.
After a decade devoting her time building The Webby Awards, she brought in Recognition Media to run The Webby Awards. Today she focuses her time exclusively on her filmmaking, writing and lecturing, and as Director of her nonprofit film studio, Let it Ripple. Her work merges the worlds of film, the Internet, and social change.
The Webby Awards is presented by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences in New York City every year. The 25th Annual Webby Awards just happened with winners including Oprah, Dr. Fauci, Trevor Noah, Ava DuVernay and more. You can watch here.
CNET asked Tiffany for a first person account on her experience founding The Webbys with thoughts on how the world has changed for the web and filmmaking 20 years out. Read more.
Tiffany used to appear on ABC regularly as their "Internet Expert."