Alexis Ohanian: Sucking is the First Step to Being Sorta Good at Something

About this presentation

Alexis Ohanian has founded reddit, Breadpig, and hipmunk but he’ll be the first one to tell you: “I still don’t know what I’m doing.” 

When creating our next great work, we can be held up by failure, or by worrying what the world will think, but Ohanian urges us to remember that it’s hard enough to get people to care about your success. The web allows us to fail and fail fast and we should embrace this dynamic. And when you do eventually traction, treat your customers like royalty. “Your first 100 users are magical,” he says.

About Alexis Ohanian

Alexis Ohanian is a startup founder and investor in Brooklyn, NY. After graduating from UVA in 2005, Alexis and his co-founder Steve Huffman started reddit, now a top 100 website. Now a reddit board member, Alexis focuses on social enterprise Breadpig.

Alexis helped launch hipmunk and ran marketing/pr/community before becoming an advisor and joining the fight against SOPA & PIPA. He invests and advises over sixty tech startups. He’s Y Combinator’s Ambassador to the East, co-founder of the non-profit IHAS, and is writing a book, Without Their Permission (pre-order now! Drops Oct. 1, 2013).

Along the way, Alexis spoke at TED, volunteered in Armenia as a Kiva Fellow, and was named on Forbes 30 Under 30 list two years in a row (and then turned 30). He proudly doodled the logos for all three of his startups.


Without Their Permission

More insights on: Risk-Taking
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  • Bryanda

    So I’ve been living under a rock, because although Reddit was part of my conscious (I’m familiar with the name and logo), until now I was not aware of what they do. Kaboom! Mind blown! Alexis’ insights are clever and sharp. My favorites? 1.) His reminder to BE HUMAN online and offline; 2.) The graphic about the switch in power dynamic (a little creative artist and rookie blogger like me has power to spread the content I want to put out in the world), and 3.) The stories he shared about simply starting the work, putting it out there to share. Consider this my lease termination, I’m moving from out under this rock… and definitely following some of the useful startups he helped found.

  • Shekhar Raj Dhain

    I love reddit for the pure and simple reason that their twitter presences across all the various genres and categories are always endorsing my articles. Thank you so much from my heart, and hope the people/team responsible are enjoying them. Bests, Shekhar (

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