Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian answers your questions
Thank you for joining us. Our live Q&A with Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian will begin in a few minutes, but you are welcome to begin asking questions now.
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:29
Alexis Ohanian: 
Hi everyone!
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:30 Alexis Ohanian
[Comment From CubbyCubby: ] 
There was a time when Reddit and Digg were like Coke and Pepsi. Why did Reddit thrive and Digg fall away?
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:31 Cubby
[Comment From DignanDignan: ] 
When you started reddit did you realize what good could come of it (helping those less fortunate, building a school, etc)? And did you know how much people love cats?
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:34 Dignan
Alexis Ohanian: 
Write your comments here. Click 'Post' to publish.
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:35 Alexis Ohanian
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
Hi Alexis, what are your thoughts on the future of Bitcoin? Do you think it will grow to the extent of wide usage in retail stores? Have you invested in any Bitcoin related startups or would you?
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:36 Guest
Alexis Ohanian: 
Funny you should ask, Guest, but I'm indeed an investor in (paypal for bitcoin) and (whitelabel bitcoin trading platform). I'm excited about bitcoin, but right now the test is going to be keeping up the adoption rate. Overstock was a huge win, but it's gotta keep going. TO THE MOON.

Also this:

I upvote everything Chris says here
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:39 Alexis Ohanian
[Comment From WilsonWilson: ] 
How hard is it to keep Reddit going without inundating it with ads and trying to make money to support the servers?
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:40 Wilson
Alexis Ohanian: 
Wilson, I'm on the board these days but our CEO Yishan has taken a strong stance about keeping up the vision Steve and I had for a website that could make money without being a terrible userexperience (because of ads). reddit gold continues to climb as a revenue driver and with some luck, will one day be an example for all social media platforms as a way to find profit WITH users instead of at their expense.
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:41 Alexis Ohanian
[Comment From Tim KennedyTim Kennedy: ] 
What prompted you to write the book?
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:43 Tim Kennedy
Alexis Ohanian: 
Thanks, Tim! It's because I was in the middle of the SOPA/PIPA fight facepalming about how many politicians were so pridefully ignorant about the internet and its importance for business, society, and cats. that, and Without Their Permission is the book I wish I'd had before getting started on my own entrepeneurial journey. Annnnd it's an excuse to take a 200stop epic bus tour around the country:
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:44 Alexis Ohanian
[Comment From BenBen: ] 
You are very out spoken about the importance of open internet...what do you think we has internet users and citizens need to be doing to insure the internet remain open and neutral?
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:44 Ben
Alexis Ohanian: 
Ben, this is not going to be easy. Follow and support orgs like and because they're on the front lines doing all the amazing work. Ultimately, this is going to take old fashioned phonecalls. Lots of them. That's how we won SOPA and PIPA, which was certainly amplified by the online rallies, yet what scares politicians most is when their phone lines are swamped because a lot of their reasonable, calm, but willful constituents are telling them they're making a bad decision that will cost them their job.
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:46 Alexis Ohanian
[Comment From BrendanBrendan: ] 
Reddit Secret Santa is probably one of the coolest showings of anonymous holiday cheer and love that exists, is this event supported by the "big wigs" over their at HQ or is it just exploding on it's own?
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:46 Brendan
Alexis Ohanian: 
Brendan, this is absolutely supported by everyone at reddit! We acquired the team a couple years ago!

We're totally down and I'm personally a proud member of the secret santa exchange myself! I even did one for the troops with Stephen Colbert!
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:47 Alexis Ohanian
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
thanks for the link
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:47 Guest
Alexis Ohanian: 
You're welcome, Guest! Love that name -- is it Armenian?
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:47 Alexis Ohanian
[Comment From larrylarry: ] 
What is your favorite sub?
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:48 larry
Alexis Ohanian: 
Larry, it changes every day, but right now I'm loving /r/askscience because it makes me feel smarter every time I read it even though I'm just procrastinating.
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:48 Alexis Ohanian
[Comment From Tony DouglasTony Douglas: ] 
Alexis, Im a Comm student at UVA. I was curious about your thoughts on the right time for expansion once you have gained traction at your initial location. My friend and I are launching an app here, JMU, Vtech, and VCU-trying to develop our expansion model
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:48 Tony Douglas
Alexis Ohanian: 
Wahoowah, Tony! Why are you launching at Tech????

Nah, but seriously, if you've got traction, it's worth taking it to other markets (tho I wish I knew exactly what we were talking about) as long as the cost of expansion isn't cray.

But really, Tech?
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:49 Alexis Ohanian
[Comment From BrendanBrendan: ] 
Reddit moderators can get out of hand and impose their own views. Sometimes it's widely documented and there are hive mind uprisings yet nothing is done. Although I don't always support the hive mind, shouldn't the moderator pool be more responsive to the subscribers of a sub?
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:50 Brendan
Alexis Ohanian: 
Yes, Brendan, they should be, or they'll lose subscribers. We made it deliberately REALLY easy to create a new subreddit, which is why we've seen this response spawn great new communities in the past. The first time this happened was when the /r/marijuana mod flipped out and everyone, very bummed out by his negative vibe, left to create /r/trees which is now wayyyyyy bigger than /r/marijuana and probably the biggest community of cannabis enthusiasts online.

If a mod is doing something you don't like, create a new sub with all the other people who agree and drink their milkshake.
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:51 Alexis Ohanian
[Comment From WilsonWilson: ] 
The Syracuse sub is a pretty desolate place. Do you have any suggestions to get it more active?
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:52 Wilson
Alexis Ohanian: 

Um, I mean, you could check /r/syracuseU for university related stuff -- I dig the vibe over there. But /r/syracuse could look to some of the other city subs for guidance... regular meetups seem to help, and I love seeing community-generated city guides. When I travel somewhere, I always visit the city sub to figure out where to go, what to eat, drink etc.
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:53 Alexis Ohanian
We're running low on time and have to stop taking questions now, but Alexis can answer a few more from those already submitted. Thanks for your questions.
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:53
[Comment From BrendanBrendan: ] 
ATT just patented the ability to charge differently for different "parts" of the internet. Do you believe the pioneers of tomorrow will work around any company sanctions to charge differently for different sites?
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:53 Brendan
Alexis Ohanian: 
Brendan. I hate ATT. This is going to be the future they've created with their awful tiered internet:

And it means a ton of stifled innovation and entrepreneurship.

But, fortunately, humans are resourceful and the pioneers of tomorrow will ultimately win, it'll just take us way longer to get there and we'll miss out on a lot of amazing things in the process.
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:55 Alexis Ohanian
[Comment From kn0thingkn0thing: ] 
You should have said /r/syracuse for your favorite sub. You have to learn to pander or you'll never be President. That being said, do you have political aspirations? And thanks for the Buttercoin link and answer to my earlier questions. I'm working on a Bitcoin POS myself and interested in learning more about Buttercoin's potential.
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:55 kn0thing
Alexis Ohanian: 
hi kn0thing.... nice username.....
I do not have political aspirations. I've thought about it, but I really think I can have more of an impact outside of office than in it. If that changes, maybe, but for now I'm content just calling up my senators and rep like everyone else.
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:56 Alexis Ohanian
[Comment From ValerieValerie: ] 
Hi Alexis - thanks so much for coming to talk with us today. It was great! You mentioned being involved as an investor with about 80 businesses, but are you currently involved with any new start-ups from the ground up?
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:57 Valerie
Alexis Ohanian: 
hi Valerie! I try to be as helpful an investor as I can, so I work with these early stage companies I invest in but I'm not putting in 80hrs a week anymore. it's kinda the dream. I love early stage companies so much. The blankcanvas is so exhilarating.
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:58 Alexis Ohanian
[Comment From WilsonWilson: ] 
What is your favorite Advice Animal of all time?
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:58 Wilson
Alexis Ohanian: 
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:58 Alexis Ohanian
[Comment From adamadam: ] 
Do you support puns?
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:59 adam
Alexis Ohanian: 
Yes, Adam, I do -- they're SO PUNNY!
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:59 Alexis Ohanian
[Comment From pos_hodgpos_hodg: ] 
Reddit is community driven, innovations seem to often come from "within" instead of "on high". As Reddit grows how will the company decide what community created innovations to support and add into the code?
Wednesday February 5, 2014 12:59 pos_hodg
Alexis Ohanian: 
pos_hodg, you're so right, it's organic - like the hashtag and @reply, the AMA and even our improved comment hotness algo (came from xkcd). We're always going to need to make decisions on behalf of the product and company that will take the userbase into consideration because we know the platform would be worthless without them.

That said, we can't possibly incorporate everything into the product, so someone ultimately has to say no (more times than yes--feature creep is badnews bears).

But this is all a huge perk of being opensource! Lots of winning.
Wednesday February 5, 2014 1:01 Alexis Ohanian
That's all we have time for, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for joining us and for asking such great questions, and thank you for your time, Alexis.
Wednesday February 5, 2014 1:01
Alexis Ohanian: 
Thanks, everyone, I've gotta go into the snowy wonderland that is Syracuse. Holler at me on twitter @alexisohanian!! I'll keep answering
Wednesday February 5, 2014 1:02 Alexis Ohanian
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