Co-Founder & Executive Chairman of redditBook This Speaker
At A Glance
Alexis Ohanian, born April 24, 1983, is an entrepreneur and investor in Brooklyn, NY, best known as the co-founder of reddit, a platform for online communities to share links and have discussions. While he learned his earliest lessons in leadership and… Read more
- Make Something People Love
So, you want to learn how to make a product people love-that's great! But stop right there. Before you can make something people love, you have to make something people want. What's challenging and wonderful about the web is that tricks of perception alone will not work. Anything you create actually has to be good. No matter how you try to convince someone to buy or use your product, they are always only a back button away from something more interesting. The internet is the most efficient marketplace for ideas that has ever existed, but your competition is stiff, and comes in all forms. Alexis shares lessons he's learned from co-founding reddit, and building community on breadpig and the travel search site hipmunk. He'll also share best practices for design and community that he imparts to the startups he advises and invests in.
- Make the World Suck Less (And Still Make a Profit)
So many people talk about how to use social media to build community, but not many have actually done it on a massive scale. As co-founder of the social news site reddit, and founder of the social enterprise breadpig, Alexis speaks with authority on the power of building a passionate community and the opportunity to tap into that community to do good works. "Make the World Suck Less" is Alexis's motto and the mission he builds into all his entrepreneurial endeavors. With breadpig, he turned the publishing model on its head, giving the bulk of its profits to the artists while still raising over $200,000 in three years to donate to non-profit projects. Alexis tells stories from his own experiences, and from the companies he invests in, and shows how individuals and organizations of every size and type can put these values into action.
- Think Like a Startup
America is losing its competitive edge as a nation. With fewer products being produced in the US, it is innovation coming from dorm-rooms and garages that will continue generating wealth (and jobs) for the next generation. Today, Google (started in a garage) has over 20,000 employees. Skype was developed by programmers in Estonia, and when it was sold, the price was equal to more than 1/10th of Estonia's GDP that year. A 17-year-old high school student in Moscow started ChatRoulette.com, which quickly became one of the most popular websites in the world. Alexis was in the first round of Y Combinator startups, funded in a model that has quickly become replicated worldwide as the standard means of investing in early stage web startups. He'll share what he learned from having gone through the experience, as well as what it's like now working for Y Combinator as their "Ambassador to the East." With over 60 companies in his portfolio today, Alexis will also share his insights as an investor and show companies of all sizes the most valuable lessons they can learn from startup culture.
- Without Their Permission
At 29, Ohanian has come to personify the dorm-room tech entrepreneur, changing the world without asking permission. Within a couple of years of graduating college, Ohanian did just that, selling reddit for millions of dollars. He’s gone on to start many other companies, like hipmunk and breadpig, all while representing Y Combinator and investing in over sixty other tech startups. As Alexis Ohanian learned when he helped to co-found the immensely popular reddit.com, the internet is the most powerful and democratic tool for disseminating information in human history. And when that power is harnessed to create new communities, technologies, businesses or charities, the results can be absolutely stunning. In this talk based on his new book, "Without Their Permission," Alexis shares his ideas on harnessing the power of the web for good and shares his philosophy with young entrepreneurs all over the globe. Alexis believes that the internet is the world's greatest library and stage, and he helps everyone gets on board equipped with all the right tools. He calls it "Permissionless Innovation" and shows the power of this platform not only for entrepreneurship, but for philanthropy, activism, the arts and more. According to Alexis, when all links are created equal, we're going to see better companies, better arts, better non-profits, even better politicians. The potential is limitless from people who’ve been left out by traditional gatekeepers. In order for this creativity to flourish we need to keep internet open and free and a viable place for people to pursue their dreams.
Alexis Ohanian, born April 24, 1983, is an entrepreneur and investor in Brooklyn, NY, best known as the co-founder of reddit, a platform for online communities to share links and have discussions. While he learned his earliest lessons in leadership and web design from his high school Quake 2 clan and Everquest guild, Alexis continued his official studies at the University of Virginia, where he met his future co-founder Steve Huffman during freshman year move-in day. At UVA, Alexis majored in business and history with a minor in German. Though he had originally planned to become an immigration lawyer, he experienced an epiphany in his junior year (while sitting in a Waffle House) that led him to the realization that he didn't want to practice law. Instead he convinced his best friend Steve to start a company with him.
The pair traveled to Cambridge, MA during their senior year spring break to hear Paul Graham give a talk titled "How to Start a Startup." After the lecture, Alexis invited Graham out for a drink so he and Steve could pitch Graham on their business idea. Graham agreed, loved the idea, and a suggested they apply to a new seed stage venture firm he'd launched called Y Combinator. Alexis and Steve's original plan was to build an infrastructure that would allow people to order food from their cell phones. Though the idea was rejected, Alexis and Steve were invited to join the first class of Y Combinator, on the condition that they'd come up with a new concept. The next idea they pitched to Graham would become reddit.com.
Sixteen months after he graduated, reddit was acquired by Condé Nast. Alexis continued to manage product and business at reddit until leaving in 2010 to volunteer in Armenia for Kiva.org. Today he sits on the board of reddit, inc., which last month alone had over 100 million unique visitors and is one of the 50 biggest US websites.
After working as a Kiva Fellow in Yerevan for three months, Alexis returned to the US to focus on a social enterprise he'd started called Breadpig. Described as a "sidekick-for-hire," Breadpig publishes books featuring some of the most popular webcomics in the world, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, and produces other geeky novelties like Awesomesauce and LOLmagnetz. It also provides services for people who want to make something nice, or take a risk on something crazy. The non-sustainable profits are donated to worthy causes (over $200,000 so far!).Upon returning to the States, Alexis also accepted a position as Y Combinator's Ambassador to the East.
In August 2010, just weeks before the launch, Alexis joined the team at hipmunk, Steve Huffman's second Y Combinator startup. Alexis helped create the company's brand identity and managed their marketing and PR. After a little over a year, Alexis moved to an advisory role and accepted an offer from Grand Central Publishing for his first book, Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made not Managed, which debuted as a national bestseller.
In early November 2011, Alexis joined the fight against SOPA and PIPA, becoming one of the public faces for the movement, which ultimately thwarted both bills in a display of citizen power never seen before by lawmakers. He continues to fight for internet freedom working on projects like the Declaration of Internet Freedom, Internet Defense League, and the Internet 2012 Campaign Bus Tour, which toured the heartland of America with Erik Martin to campaign for the open internet and produced a documentary about the adventure, Silicon Prairie. He also sat on the NYC Mayor's Council on Tech and Innovation under the Bloomberg Administration.
In 2013, he launched a show on The Verge called Small Empires about NY tech startups -- the founders who create and the people who use these digital platforms.An active investor with over eighty tech startups now in his portfolio, Alexis is now one of the most prominent investors in tech. He designed the logos and brands for reddit, Breadpig, and hipmunk, and he has proven the model for making something people love online & offline, building brands that are both community-driven (reddit) and not (hipmunk). He uses these experiences to mentor and advise the young startups in his portfolio and recent YC graduates. Today he's a part-partner at Y Combinator and is back at reddit as Executive Chair.
Along the way, Alexis has spoken at TED (a talk viewed over a million times), been rendered in CGI on NMA.TV, was named to the Forbes "30 Under 30" in Technology two years in a row (and then turned 30), and included in Inc. Magazine's "30 under 30" for his work at hipmunk. He's a regular contributor on Bloomberg TV and is especially proud of unlocking his bucket-list achievement - appearing on The Colbert Report.
Alexis has spoken at universities including MIT, Yale, Carnegie Mellon, UPenn, NYU, Columbia, UCLA, the University of Michigan, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Virginia to name a few, has lectured at conferences like TED, the Clinton Global Initiative, SXSW and ROFLCON, has spoken to companies such as Google, BBDO, and Betaworks, and has been hired for talks at Johnson & Johnson, Hyatt, Kraft, and Palantir. He even keynoted an entrepreneurship summit in Cairo organized by the U.S. State Department just months after the Egyptian Revolution.
Alexis has appeared in countless publications in print and online: New York Times, WSJ, Washington Post, The Economist,WIRED, NY Post, Gawker, TechCrunch, Mashable, Paper Magazine, Nylon guys, Forbes, Fast Company, and Inc. He's also appeared in television programs on networks including CNN, MSNBC, Fox, CNBC, Al-jazeera English, NPR, and G4.
He loves hummus, the Washington Redskins, the Brooklyn Nets, his cat, and his girlfriend. His mother always told him he was special.
One Third of Americans Will Use Reddit This Month. Here's Why | Inc. Video
How to make the World Suck Less
Mr. Ohanian was an Internet millionaire at the age of 23, when he and a partner sold their social news startup Reddit to Condé Nast for an undisclosed, yet putatively hefty, sum. Between the sale of Reddit and his 30th birthday, Mr.… Read more
Reddit is arguably the most successful social news site on the Internet. So how does cofounder and New York tech entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian avoid "Redditing" all day at the expense of getting things done?… Read more
For the greater part of the past decade, Reddit has been a vibrant online community. And sometimes it dabbles in being a media company. (Certainly, it creates a lot of news that other sites shape into content.) Now, that dabbling is becoming… Read more
Alexis Ohanian, 33, became a multimillionaire at 23, when Reddit, the community discussion site he created with his college roommate, Steve Huffman, was acquired by Condé Nast. After taking a step back from Reddit for five years, he returned to the San… Read more
Alexis Ohanian opened up the Øredev conference with a fantastic keynote. The talk had the main topic on embracing the users of any system produced. He showed eye-opening examples of our changing word and how anyone making products needs to follow, adhere and advance. Since then he has developed his international reputation even further spreading his wise words globally. As a conference organizer I was very pleased to cooperate with Alexis with his prestigeless manners, and commitment and adoption to his audience.Oredev Conference