Live-chat con il co-fondatore di Reddit
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Live-chat con il co-fondatore di Reddit

Un evento a cura del team di FastCompany, in syndication.

by lillo
Alexis Ohanian, co-fondatore del social network che è diventato 'sottobosco e front-page' (americano) di Internet, in cui accadono le cose più strane e interessanti, parlerà  con i giornalisti di FastCompany del suo ultimo libro, Without Their Permission.

Come si legge nella descrizione dell'evento, Alexis offre, nel suo libro, una serie di consigli per aspiranti imprenditori. 

Chi meglio di lui, che ha aiutato molte start-ups a sfondare ed è stato paladino dei diritti dei cibernauti, battendosi contro lo Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) proposto lo scorso anno al senato americano. 

Assieme ai giornalisti e moderatori di FastCompany, si parlerà "delle umili origini di uno dei più popolari siti al mondo, della lotta per un Internet libero e aperto, e di tutto ciò che è compreso tra questi due estremi."

Le domande inviate tramite questo blog raggiungeranno direttamente Alexis, che potrà rispondervi in tempo reale. 

  • Hello everyone! We’ll get started in roughly 20 minutes, but you can start asking your questions now. The sooner you get your question in, the more likely we'll be able to get to it.
    Miles Kohrman 10/8/2013 4:11:01 PM
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  • We're almost live! Alexis is in the building and making his way to a computer.

    While we wait, here's a recent story from Co.Exist where Alexis talks about the Internet's ability to "level the playing field."
    Miles Kohrman 10/8/2013 4:35:08 PM
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  • Alexis! Thanks for joining us today!
    Miles Kohrman 10/8/2013 4:41:27 PM
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  • Ahoy!
    Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 4:42:31 PM
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  • Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 4:43:07 PM
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  • The "Without Their Permission" book tour takes you to 75 universities across the country, so I think it’s appropriate to start our conversation with the subject of education.

    In a nutshell, one of your core points is that if an entrepreneur's service or product is needed, and people really want it, they will find success. The things that need fixing, however daunting the market and stiff the competition, can be changed with the right--and often simple--ideas.

    Higher education seems like the perfect example of the kind of bureaucracy that can be revolutionized by the Internet, do you agree?
    Miles Kohrman 10/8/2013 4:43:52 PM
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  • Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 4:46:16 PM
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  • You talk about free resources to learn coding like Code Academy. Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman taught himself to code. What will the Internet--where a college-level education is rapidly approaching a price tag of zero--do to the traditional model of higher-education? How much of your success as an entrepreneur do you credit to experiences inside the classroom?
    Miles Kohrman 10/8/2013 4:48:09 PM
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  • Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 4:49:17 PM
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  • We're going to switch to typed responses because some of you can't listen to audio at the moment!
    Miles Kohrman 10/8/2013 4:49:37 PM
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  • It's going to be mighty awkward because the cost of tuition has basically not been in check with reality for a while now. This has got to change. Especially as more and more solutions (like General Assembly, Flatiron School, Dev bootcamp) are much cheaper and provide careers (though not currently accreditation) right now.
    Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 4:50:49 PM
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  • One of the stories people seem to love the most (and my uni probably hates the most) from my book is that I was not allowed into the Entrepreneurship class at McIntire (UVA) while I was a senior there. I'd already founded an LLC with Steve Huffman (redbrick solutions LLC!) and this wasn't a hypothetical company for some class project -- it was my life.

    Most devs, like Steve, or really any CTO you talk to, was largely self-taught thanks to the internet. And the resources that are freely available online have only gotten better over the years.
    Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 4:51:57 PM
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  • I don’t think it’s naive to say that all college and high school students will see code in their classrooms in a matter of time. In twenty years our politicians might be active reddit users. Is the Internet moving society in a clear direction? If yes, what will increased transparency, and participation, do not only to our society but our politics?
    Miles Kohrman 10/8/2013 4:54:06 PM
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  • While we wait for Alexis' response (he's typing away vigorously), let's find out how he avoids "Redditing" all day at the expense of getting things done.

    Miles Kohrman 10/8/2013 4:59:07 PM
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  • Alexis Ohanian is chatting with you and Miles live from the Fast Company offices in 7 World Trade.

    Anjali Mullany 10/8/2013 4:59:18 PM
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  • Agreed! Look at Estonia leading the way - teaching all public school first graders onward how to code. This should be a headline about the USA.

    Hopefully our politicians will at least be aware of technology, and not blissfully ignorant as many appear to be today. Take for instance Rep Watt during the House Judiciary Committee meeting about SOPA. It's not OK to not know how the internet works.

    The blueprint I lay out in WTP is to show people a way to get us the politicians we deserve, who not only understand this world changing technology, but also our rights to privacy on it (hi, NSA!), and we'll hopefully start electing even better politicians into office because they're using the internet to better represent us.

    For instance, Watsi.org has a public google doc that shows their real-time finances.
    docs.google.com

    One day every nonprofit will need to have this level of transparency or else no one would give money to them. Why not for our campaign fundraising?
    Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 5:02:15 PM
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  • It’s 20 years from today and you have a (mostly) technologically literate congress. What are the problems that the Internet faces with legislation?
    Miles Kohrman 10/8/2013 5:02:56 PM
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  • Ah yes, you must own a time machine (can I borrow it and kill Hitler when you're done?) -- this future is a great one, because the debates and discussions we'll be having in Congress will actually be nuanced and thoughtful about technology. There are important discussions to be had about the tradeoffs between digital privacy and digital security, for instance, but right now it's being mostly had by people with little to no regard for reality.

    That future congress would also be better positioned to make sure that access to the internet was seen as a utility like potable water and electricity, so we'd be discussing the most efficient ways to bring it to all Americans (assuming we hadn't already). Combine that with a push to bring digital literacy to the forefront of education and we're now (hopefully) having reasonable smart discussion about how best to bring all Americans to this playing field so that they can all achieve their maximum levels of awesome.

    There would still be no shortage of cat photos, at least.
    Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 5:06:28 PM
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  • Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 5:07:44 PM
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  • Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 5:09:40 PM
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  • We've got a lot of questions coming in, so I'd like to turn the conversation to the subject of entrepreneurship.

    At Fast Company we’ll often step away from the successes of startups and their founders and focus on what we call “passion pitfalls.” Obviously, you’re a man of good ideas. How can other entrepreneurs identify the flaws, and ultimately allow themselves to let go, of ideas that don’t work?
    Miles Kohrman 10/8/2013 5:13:21 PM
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  • Don't get married to your ideas. EVERYONE has great ideas. Ever heard someone say: "Oh, I have this TERRIBLE idea."? No, because we all think our ideas are amazing.

    Instead, get into a habit of testing them, launching them, doing them. Whether it's a kickstarter or an iOS game, or anything. At some point, you'll need to call it quits on an idea that isn't working. These days we call it a "pivot" but it's really just failing and changing/adapting. That's OK! Everyone does it. Everyone is doing it. Even FastCo was like 'hey let's try this AMA thing" and I was like "Cool, I'm gonna do video answers" then a bunch of users said "This is terrible we can't hear/watch them" so we were all like "OK, stupid idea, we failed, let's go back to text"

    There is no secret to knowing exactly when to change course, and plenty of people have succeeded by gutting it out, so I can't tell you specifics, but if you launched an idea that just is not getting any traction after a few months and you keep troubleshooting every week with some new approach/tactic/etc w/o any progress, it's probably time to move on. But that's OK!
    Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 5:14:44 PM
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  • Today in Fast Company we talked about the lack of diversity in the startup world. One study found that only 1% of startups that got funded in early 2010 had even one black team member. One of the mantras of your book is “all links are created equal” but obviously there’s still a discrepancy, can you speak to this?
    Miles Kohrman 10/8/2013 5:20:22 PM
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  • Relevant quote from the book:
    "I have this great idea" -- Everyone
    Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 5:21:10 PM
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  • After Alexis' response we're going to include some of your questions. If you have anything you'd like to ask, please submit now!
    Miles Kohrman 10/8/2013 5:22:02 PM
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  • Absolutely!
    The platform is itself democratic in that all links are crated equal (as long as Verizon doesn't get its way) but society, unfortunately, is not. That's why I'm such a huge supporter of orgs like Black Girls Code, Girls Who Code and DonorsChoose.org -- shameless plug: I'm fundraising for all STEM projects in brookyln and the grandprize for the raffle is a year of mentorship from me.

    Oh and how can I forget nycgenerationtech.com where i just 2 weeks ago judged their pitch finale.

    This will not correct itself, which is why these orgs are so important. And because wealth (and value) is created so quickly and massively thanks to the internet (e.g. dropbox goes from being made in a bus station to multi-billion $ company in 5 years only happens because of the internet) that means the people who have the access and the skills have a huge advantage and we risk creating an even bigger divide in this country.

    www.platform.org is an awesome concept -- I'd love it even more if there were no mention of being "TED for people of color" -- just start an awesome TED-like event and community, have a bunch of people of color and don't say anything about it. These are not "awesome people of color on stage" but simply "awesome people on stage."
    Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 5:27:08 PM
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  • Okay, now we're going to segue into questions from readers. A lot of them are about reddit, something we haven't really discussed yet.
    Miles Kohrman 10/8/2013 5:29:23 PM
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  • Do you get upset by everyone shamelessly crowd sourcing reddit for story ideas and traffic?
    Katy 10/8/2013 5:29:44 PM
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  • view from my judge's seat at nycgenerationtech.com - proud to be a part!

    Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 5:31:16 PM
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  • Harvesting subreddits for content? I don't know what you're talking about.

    Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 5:32:25 PM
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  • Katy, it's all good. It's been happening for years now and fortunately people are getting better about at least citing. Even Gawker has grudgingly started putting "via reddit" at the bottom of articles they've harvested. There's really nothing that can be done about it, but hope people do the right thing. Social media platforms like reddit, twitter, tumblr, etc are always going to be able to discover and create new content faster and more creatively than even a room full of the smartest, wittiest, best-smelling editors and writers.
    Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 5:35:12 PM
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  • Is there anything that you've come to realize, as an entrepreneur, is a huge waste of time?
    erin719nyc 10/8/2013 5:35:56 PM
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  • I wasted hours making this terrible business card. HOURS.

    Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 5:36:18 PM
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  • If you're an early stage entrepreneur, your job is to obsessively do two things:
    1. Write code (build the product/service)
    2. Get users (hustle the product/service)
    Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 5:37:13 PM
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  • What does your business card look like now?
    Miles Kohrman 10/8/2013 5:38:01 PM
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  • It is invisible because I do not have one.

    Phonecalls are the devil. Really you just need my email, so I'm in the habit of collecting a card from someone and pinging them there OR just emailing them from my smartphone right on the spot. Ta-Da! No cards. But if you insist on carrying some deadtree in your pocket just go to moocards and be done with it.
    Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 5:39:33 PM
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  • Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 5:39:55 PM
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  • A friend of mine recently hypothesized that companies like Google and Apple are the General Motors and AIG of our generation — that they may one day grow to be so large that they'll be deemed "too big to fail," and their collapse could have serious ramifications for the global economy. Do you think there's some validity to that idea?
    KimboSlyce 10/8/2013 5:40:29 PM
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  • Jess Hullinger 10/8/2013 5:40:29 PM
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  • Interesting.... I've never really thought of this. My *hope* is that software + hardware companies are difference from auto manuf. and insurance, but given how much the world depends on Google (and to some extent Apple) I see what you're saying. Let's hope they keep printing money? I'd be more concerned about the GOOG only because there is so much of our everyday lives (private and public) tied into google that it feels much more likely to be a 'too big to fail' candidate.... Way to bring me down, KimboSlyce.
    Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 5:45:18 PM
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  • Are you still as excited meeting with go-getters as you were on the other side of the table during your initial trip to hear Paul Graham and other whirlwind meetings?
    leroygardner 10/8/2013 5:47:14 PM
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  • Yes, but I'm lucky because the founders I meet with tend to be really amazing. Doing signings at the first few book events has been like doing open office hours to some extent because there are so many hungry entrepreneurs who I love chatting up. I'm hopelessly addicted to coffee, though, so that probably helps, too. Biggie taught me to always stay hungry, like I'm an intern, and treat every day like it's my first day -- so it does feel pretty much the same, even though I'm definitely older and have more senior moments these days.
    Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 5:50:23 PM
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  • Some added context: In his question, Leroy is referring to Paul Graham, the founder of Y Combinator.
    Miles Kohrman 10/8/2013 5:51:59 PM
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  • The current Internet already so broken -- because of NSA eavesdropping, spam, trolling, you name it -- that some prominent thinkers say we should be building a second, separate, more open version of the Web. What's your stance on this?
    noahr 10/8/2013 5:53:47 PM
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  • Yes, you bring up a good point. There's a great John Gilmore quote about this "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it."

    The internet is a resourceful platform, but we as humans are also pretty damn resourceful. One way or another, just like Chinese activists circumvent the "Great Firewall" every day, people will continue to find ways to keep the internet going and keep getting to the ideas they want to express and consume.
    Alexis Ohanian 10/8/2013 5:54:53 PM
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