Co-founder of Reddit reinforces importance of taking chancesPosted on October 8, 2013 | by Patrick Anker
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian discussed entrepreneurship in the age of social media in Tisch Hall on Oct. 7.
The event was hosted at the Paulson Auditorium at the Stern School of Business by the Gallatin Business Club and the Stern Entrepreneurship Exchange Club.
As one of the founders of what is now considered the front page of the Internet, Ohanian opened the presentation with his desire to inspire entrepreneurial spirit in NYU’s budding tech wizards. His formal talk began with a statement that the world is round, but the Internet is not.
“The World Wide Web is flat,” Ohanian said. “That is a really, really, really simple yet powerful idea. It is the world’s greatest stage and the world’s largest library, and it is at all of our fingertips.”
Ohanian asked the audience if anyone had a published project that they were proud of and welcomed a student entrepreneur onto the podium to speak about his project — a website about himself.
Ohanian praised the student for speaking in front of a crowd of random people and said he asked for a volunteer to prove a point.
“That little gesture of being willing to put your hand up, and just go for it, is exactly what makes a difference between people who actually get [stuff] done and those who just think about it,” Ohanian said.
He further sought to prove his point when he shared the stage with Gallatin alumna Lexi Lewtan, who discussed her role in the startup Betaworks, where she works as director of product and quality.
Lewton reflected on her undergraduate life at NYU, including how she became an entrepreneur, what NYU offered and how NYU fell short for her.
“You really just have to get yourself out there,” Lewtan said.
Jamie Lau, a 19-year-old audience member visiting from Vancouver, Canada, said he has heard other businessmen and entrepreneurs emphasize Ohanian’s message — just do it.
“That’s what the message I got out of it was, and that’s a simple but great statement,” Lau said.
President of Tech@NYU and Stern senior Emanuel Hahn said part of Reddit’s success is how it unexpectedly became a popular social media outlet.
“Alexis Ohanian, and his co-founder Steve, deserves a lot of credit for taking that chance,” Hahn said. “That’s the nature of entrepreneurship, taking a chance on something that might not obviously succeed.”
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Oct. 8 print edition. Patrick Anker is a contributing writer. Email him at email@example.com.