Alexis Ohanian – No, Reddit Didn’t Copy Digg. Here’s How It Was Built

Alexis Ohanian – No, Reddit Didn’t Copy Digg. Here’s How It Was Built

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It took Reddit‘s founders less than 2 years to launch the company, make it into a top social news site and sell it to Conde Nast Publications, owner of Wired. I invited Alexis Ohanian, the company’s co-founder, to come to Mixergy and talk about how he did it.

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Description

About Alexis Ohanian

Excerpts: The Reddit story

Andrew asked if it was true or false. When you saw that Digg was doing well, you said, let’s jump on that bandwagon? The person said it was false. That is not true.

It’s a good chance for me to clear up rumors. We had no idea what was going on for the first month or so. Two weeks after we got our site online, we found out that there was a different site called Digg that was out for a long time.

The comparisons inevitably started coming.

How did you meet Paul Graham? We were the only kids in Virginia who went North to Boston to listen to Paul Graham read an essay after he gave this talk. After Steve got his book signed, I told him it would be worth it if he sat down with us and just heard us out, because we came up from Virginia with this startup idea.

What was the idea that you pitched? We approached Y Combinator, a seed stage venture company that invested in us, with an idea that would transform the way you order food, specifically using a cell phone. They did not like the idea. They liked us but didn’t like the idea.

They said, You guys should come back with a better idea, and maybe we’ll take you in to the program.

We talked to Paul Graham, the founder of Y Combinator, trying to come up with ideas. One of the issues that Steve and I had was that there was no way to find the best stuff on the internet. We looked at Delicious.com/Popular for the first few weeks.

If you haven’t been, check it out. A lot of the early motivation for Reddit can be seen aesthetically.

Why didn’t you argue after your investor didn’t like your first idea? Steve came in with a lot of respect for Paul. Steve was a student of his work, but I only knew him from a few of his essays. There was an appeal to the format. I think we were willing to admit that we were stupid.

Is it Paul Graham who came up with the idea for the site? The idea for creating a way to find out what is new online came from that conversation with Paul. The actual mechanics of how that would work happened in the next few weeks while Steve and I were playing a lot of games.

How did you go from idea to product? The first three months were intense. We went from a vague idea to an actual site about three weeks later.

In the middle of nowhere, Massachusetts, I and Steve were sitting in an apartment. We would only go outside for pizza and then we would go to Azeroth at night to distract ourselves from the game.

It was just a lot of work, a lot of chatting across the table from one another, and a lot of doodling in our journals.

Here are some early designs that he talked about in the interview.

Full program includes

Salepage: https://mixergy.com/interviews/no-reddit-didnt-copy-digg-heres-how-it-was-built-with-alexis-ohanian/
Archive: https://archive.ph/wip/izDMn

Delivery Method

No, Reddit Didn’t Copy Digg. Here’s How It Was Built.

It took Reddit‘s founders less than 2 years to launch the company, make it into a top social news site and sell it to Conde Nast Publications, owner of Wired.

I invited Alexis Ohanian, the company’s co-founder, to come to Mixergy and talk about how he did it.

Alexis Ohanian

Alexis Ohanian is the co-founder of Reddit, a leading social news site. He’s also the founder of breadpig, an “uncorporation” that creates and sells geeky things for fun and no profit. The mascot is a pig with bread wings.

– The real motivation for starting reddit.
– Why they sold Reddit. (It wasn’t just about valuation.)
– How Reddit considered doing a video show after seeing Diggnation. And why they quickly rejected the idea.
– How the reputation of their investor, Paul Graham, helped get the first members of reddit’s community.
– What life is like after the sale.
– Discussion of the controversy surrounding subreddits. (Thanks to Merrick.)
– How reddit balances the demands of the community’s loud minority and the needs of the minority of silent users.

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