Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian Reminisces About The Time Yahoo! Laughed At Them (Video)
After starting in small, Boston-based apartment in 2005, Reddit has long established itself as one of the brand of the World Wide Web.
Having gone through the famed Y-Combinator incubator, one of the nation's top startup factories. Having becoming a hub for discussion on basically everything and anything, Reddit's popularity has reached such a high level that its slogan — “The front page of the Internet” — is more of an accurate description than an ambitious catch phrase.
To put it simply, Reddit is the bomb, but not everyone always thought so. They were once the butt of an embarrassing joke several years ago at the hand of one of the tech world's most powerful companies.
It's a story that dates back nine years, when Alexis Ohanian's site was just three months old.
“This executive invites us out [to Silicon Valley],” Ohanian said in a recent interview, “and we're thrilled, we're like ‘yes, of course we'll come out.' “
The “executive,” who has not named to this day, asked Ohanian and cofounder Steve Huffman to talk about Reddit at Yahoo's headquarters in California. Before they were even able to finish their introduction, the exec interrupted the pair.
After hearing the relatively low amount of users that Reddit had at the time; then came the disrespect.
“He laughs at us,” Ohanian said. ‘You guys are a rounding error compared to Yahoo! What are you doing here?'”
The insulting experience turned into an everyday fixture in Ohanian's life. No, he didn't harbor feelings of embarrassment or discouragement, he simply used the trip as another reason to succeed. To remind himself of what happened at Yahoo!, the cofounder posted the executives words on his wall upon returning to Boston.
“Every morning I wanted to know exactly who Steve and I were proving wrong,” Ohanian said, “and now Reddit's a top-50 website in the world.”
Ohanian didn't just shrug the huge pile of disrespect that was laid on his shoulders. He grabbed it, threw it against that wall and used it to help him work that much harder.
“My advice to everyone these days is that they're always going to be constructive critics who are amazing who make us better and then there are gonna be haters right haters gonna hate, so you know what eat them for breakfast. Use them for motivation, use them for fuel don't let them hold you back.”