TECH: Reddit Co-Founder Making World Suck a Little Less
Even if you're not a techie, you've heard of Reddit. Co-founder Alexis Ohanian says Internet-based innovation can make the world a better place. (Our headline is how he phrases it.) Tech Bisnow recently caught up with him in Arlington, Va., one of the stops on his 75-university tour to talk about his new book, Without Their Permission. He talked about the early days of Reddit, a "front page to the Internet" sold to Conde Nast 16 months after its launch. (The sale made Alexis a very wealthy early 20-something, so he bought really good season tickets to the 'Skins.) Timing, mentorship, responding to every email and blog post about Reddit, and a really good mascot made the startup a success, he says.
After Alexis sold Reddit, he went to Armenia, his father's homeland, and volunteered for a nonprofit for three months and disconnected from technology. When he got back, legislation known as SOPA/PIPA were threatening the Internet business, so he borrowed a tie from his Dad and headed to the Hill for intense lobbying. The Columbia, Md., native is credited with helping thwart the bill. Alexis also invests in companies and is now helping run other startups: Breadpig (offers advisory services to startups) and hipmunk (a travel search site). Some of his advice to entrepreneurs: Obsess over early users. And an entrepreneur is 99.99% smarter than everyone else about their industry. So be a thought leader. (And read our whole story here.)