About PenPal World

Jakob and Linda
Hello. My name is Jakob Herrmann, and I am the founder and webmaster of PenPal World. For the first 16 years I was the only person who is running PenPal World since the first day 19 years ago.

My history: I grew up on the south side of Switzerland on the border of Italy in the beautiful famous Swiss Alps. When I was 25, after three years of schooling, I received a diploma as a car body painter, but I left my job in pursuit of something greater.

So in 1998 I moved to the Los Angeles area of California, where I went to Santa Monica College and majored in Computer Science. There I also started Penpal World, an idea that came to me in the middle of a sleepless night. I also met my wife then, Linda, who's Vietnamese, and we married in 1999 in Santa Ana. Today we have three daughters, Emma Rae, 2001, Alexis Leigh, 2003, and Sophie Anne, 2007.

Our kids

After graduating from college in 2001, I was accepted to Cal State Long Beach University. However, instead of going back to school, I decided to jump into the work world and started working as a webmaster for television.com. After one year doing that, I landed a job at Sony Pictures Entertainment as a web programmer and worked there for three years. In Spring 2004, my family and I moved to Connecticut where my wife opened her Vietnamese restaurant, the Vietnamese Bistro. Despite the success of the restaurant, the very cold winter got to us, so after about a year and a half we decided to move back to Northern California, near Sacramento. We moved yet again in summer 2007 to Yorba Linda, after an offer from Walt Disney Internet Group in North Hollywood to work for them as a senior web programmer. Five years later I started working for LegalZoom.com, an awesome company.

I like many things: spending time with my family, long-distance running, programming, swimming, bicycling, traveling, movies, music of every conceivable type, bookstores, and exploring the secrets of this wonderful planet. Things I dislike include smoking, drinking, drugs, selfish and arrogant people, racism, and war.

My running

I've been an avid runner since April 2005. So far, I ran over one hundred fifty races, including 10 half marathons, 59 marathons, twenty eight 31-milers, ten 50-milers, two 62 milers, twenty two 100 milers, and one 144-miler (twice around Lake Tahoe, California, non-stop in 41 hours). I'm a distance runner; it's my deep found passion; going the long distances is what interests me.

Some people e-mailed me thinking that PenPal World is a big company. It's not. PenPal World has been run only by me since the very beginning. I work virtually every day on PenPal World, usually from my home office in California, but sometimes from my laptop anywhere in the world. PenPal World is really a 365 days a year job. I usually spend from two to six hours a day validating pictures, investigating profile issues to keep the service clean, answering support questions (over 17,000 so far), thinking about features, and programming. Everything you use and see at PenPal World I developed and programmed, and I already programmed PenPal World eight times from scratch since 1998 to keep it up to date with the latest programming knowledge.

I guess you can hear my enthusiasm for PenPal World, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. And please don't forget to tell your friends about it!