Reddit

Reddit64 posts

Reddit is a social news site started by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian in 2005. The company was one of the first companies to Y Combinator’s business accelerator.

20 Aug, 2015

Reddit AMA

Interview

McAfee conducts a Reddit AMA, where he talks about society:

Here’s what I’ve learned. People will be people, you can trust no one. It’s not a bad thing/cynical. I trust people to be people, to act in their own self-interests. If you understand that, you can use that! People will be disloyal, I’ve heard there are wives that sleep around, etc. We are disloyal, but loving, kind, gracious. We are a contradiction, the negatives are not bad if you see them for what they are. You cannot trust people, big deal, you CAN trust them to be self-interested, and I use that all the f-cking time.

About Belize:

The most beautiful in the world. It has a barrier reef, 2nd in the world. I had 5 boats on the beach on the ocean, you try that anywhere else. It has jungles and ruins that haven’t even been explored. The problem is that it has people there, people descended from pirates. There is nothing illegal that the government there is not into. The government is smart if you just go there as an American you will not be bothered. I lived in the jungles where I was the only white person, and they were on to me. They asked me for $2M, weeks later 40+ armed men stormed my house, shot my favorite dog, and held me in the sun with my hands tied. The next day the congressman came and apologized asked for the $2M again. I should have done that rather than tell him to get the f-ck off my property.

And life:

Money corrupts. Once you have enough money, you have no friends, none, even the most dedicated friend you had cannot stop thinking about his mortgage, or new car, or new wife, and friendship ends. Second, your life becomes a nightmare. I was getting 1000/day asking for help, or asking for me to invest (the best was rocket-power roller skates, I almost invested). Money now has become information, how does Google live? They gather information on smartphones and their services. This is far worse than paper. Paper doesn’t try to get into your head, to find out who you’re f-cking, etc. We are all jealous, hopeful and ambitious, and as long as that exists we’ll all have chaos.

11 Jul, 2015

AMA

Interview

Huffman participates in a Reddit AMA (link). On bringing back controversial subreddits:

Unlikely. Creating a clear content policy is another of my immediate priorities. We will make it very clear what is and is not acceptable behavior on reddit. This is still a work in progress, but our thinking is along these lines: Nothing illegal. Nothing that undermines the integrity of reddit. Nothing that causes other individuals harm or to fear for their well-being. Banning content will be a last resort…I don’t want to ever ban content. Sometimes, however, I feel we have no choice because we want to protect reddit itself.

On growth:

Of course the board wants to see growth. I want to see growth, too. We’re not going to see much growth without serious product efforts, and we’re not going to get serious product efforts without more resources. Fortunately, I have the ability to get those resources, so that’s what I’ll do.

30 May, 2012

Inc. interview

Interview

Ohanian tells the magazine about his conversation with Graham after Y Combinator rejected his initial pitch:

The next morning, on the train back to Virginia, hung over, somewhere in the middle of Connecticut, I get a call from Paul. He says, “I’m sorry, we made a mistake. We don’t like your idea, but we like you guys.” We got off the train, and I was able to sweet-talk the Amtrak lady into not charging us to turn around. In our conversation, Paul said, “You guys need to build the front page of the Internet.” That was all Paul, and that became Reddit. We built Reddit in three weeks.

The buyout also happened partly by chance:

The acquisition by Condé Nast basically started with a Halloween party, where we met a reporter who introduced me to a freelancer for Wired who told her boss about us. That editor’s husband was the biz-dev guy at Condé Nast. He worked on a licensing deal with us, and everything worked great. So we started talking money. Founders are supposed to be not at all interested in selling. But there is a price at which a founder can’t help being interested.

2010

YC Founders at Work: Reddit

Interview

Livingston interviews Ohanian about the early days of Reddit. Livingston asks about the “Chicken and egg” problem of building a community with no initial users:

This is one that I have no hesitation in saying, but it always stirs up a lot of controversy. Steve [Huffman] built a really simple system for admins, that is Steve and me, so that when we submitted a link also let us type in a user name. It let us easily and efficiently create lots of fake users. And we were able to browbeat a few of our friends to build up comments. But the rest of our friends and family could not be begged or bribed enough to do it really consistently. The only option we had to resort to was to fake it. But we didn’t have to do it for too long because Paul [Graham] did us a big favor  by [profiling us] us in an early essay.

It was at some point about three or four weeks into it that neither Steve or I had to submit or vote on anything, and the site just worked…We could spend the day just lurking on Reddit, that is just using it like the vast majority of people do and not actually generate content. That was huge. That was when we realized, maybe we haven’t wasted this summer and we had a legitimate community.

4 Jun, 2009

Mixergy interview

Interview

Ohanian talks about how Y Combinator helped shape the idea for Reddit in the early stages:

We approached Y Combinator … with an idea that would transform the way you order food, specifically using a cell phone to do so.  They didn’t really like the idea.  They liked us, but they hated the idea.

They still didn’t have a firm idea, but sat down with Graham and talked about a site that would filter the most interesting web content.

…it was in that conversation with Paul where we developed this idea for creating a way to find out what’s new online.

The idea morphed into the final product:

All the actual mechanics of how that would work, basically happened in the next few weeks, while Steve [Huffman] and I were in a crap apartment, in Bedford, Massachusetts, playing a lot of Warcraft.

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