The creator of Chatroulette is Andrey Ternovskiy – a thin, nervous, high-school drop out from Moscow, born in 1992. Julia Ioffe tracked down the kid for an article in the New Yorker that takes a closer look at the pimply pioneer of the industry and why he wants to leave Russia forever.
Ioffe repeatedly spoke (and chatted) with the teenager whose computer dependency spawned a worldwide, random video chatting perv epidemic (from Brooklyn bar Chatroulette parties to the Daily Show). Andrey has been briefly interviewed before, but Ioffe digs deeper.
Andrey Ternovskiy has been writing code since fourth grade. At 11, he apprenticed with Russia’s hacker Terminator online and he was a crafty troll by 15. At 17, working at his uncle’s upscale souvenir shop, he enjoys talking to an international variety of tourists and gets an idea.
Flash forward to last February: Ashton Kutcher, visiting Moscow with a US State Department technology delegation, tells Andrey to clean up Chatroullete, because this thing is getting out hand. Now, courted by multiple investors, he only wants to deal with Americans, because of Russia’s infamously criminal, tedious business dealings. And he wants to leave Moscow forever. He dislikes NYC (too much like Moscow), but San Fransisco seems perfect to him, though it’s hard to imagine he is so concerned about his geographical location in the physical world:
I always believed that computer might be that thing that I only need, that I only need that thing to survive. It might replace everything.