Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian Says Haters' Words Can Be Enough To Motivate You To Succeed


When Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian talks about the type of things that motivated him on his way to creating one of the world’s most valuable entities on the web, you might be tempted to say he sounds more like an NFL coach than an immensely successful entrepreneur.

After all, the term “bulletin board material” has been made famous by the culture of football locker rooms, where trash talk from an opposing team can end up printed and plastered on the wall for all to see, just to provide another reason to crush the competition.

And such was the case for Ohanian who, during the early days of the development of Reddit, the popular news aggregating site, made sure he and partner Steve Huffman never had to look far for an extra boost of motivation as he placed all of his critics’ words in between the co-founders’ desks.

The internet mogul placed the words on what he called his “wall of negative reinforcement.” And as for the “you are a rounding error” bit? Those words came from a Yahoo! higher-up who, while in a meeting with Reddit’s co-founders, way before the site became as big as it is today, asked Ohanian and Huffman “what are you even doing here?” after hearing about the pair’s modest web traffic statistics.

With Yahoo! being, well, Yahoo!, an internet giant compared to a no-name site at the time like Reddit, Ohanian might have had reason to take great discouragement from the encounter. Instead, he chose another route and advises everyone to do the same when they face similar situations in any walk of life.

With those words in mind, the entrepreneur who proclaims his mission is to “make the world suck less,” wants to push to acknowledge the fact that the road to success begins with putting oneself out there, right in the firing line for all to see. That fact, however, should not stop anyone from doing what they want to do and doing so eagerly, he argues.

Photo: Alexis Ohanian