One Million Giraffes


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What began as a silly bet between two friends, has morphed into a website with 6 million hits, a 32-page book and most importantly, become a testament to the collaborative powers of the internet.

On June 6th, 1999, 25-year old Norwegian web developer Ola Helland, was hanging out with his friend Jorgen, talking about how the internet and social media had made almost anything possible - even collecting one million sketches of giraffes. To his dismay, his friend challenged him to do it, marking the beginning of the one million giraffe quest.

The two friends set some ground rules - The giraffes had to handmade - No computer sketches, toys, zoo photos or sculptures were allowed. The deadline to collect the million was set for 1st of January 2011, giving Ola 573 days, to complete his mission.

Figuring he would need a website, he created, and posted the link to his twitter and Facebook pages - asking his friend to help. At the best Ola hoped to collect a few images a day. However, from the first day, he received responses from people all over the world and giraffes starting to pour in, at a rate of about 2,000 a day.

Then on day 62, after getting some press in a Polish newspaper, things really took off - All of a sudden, Ola started to receive over 10,000 giraffes daily. His record? A whopping 30,845 received on a single day!

It is therefore not surprising that on August 25th, just 440 days after the fateful day when he made the bet, Ola posted his millionth drawing, sent in by a 16-year old Norwegian girl, who received a cute giraffe toy and a Chumby to celebrate the event.

Though he has clearly won the bet, Ola is having so much fun with his giraffe project that he is going to continue accepting entries until the January 1st deadline. To upload your creation or simply look at the giraffes, check out -,

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