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A few minutes with Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian tells Fast Company he hates the business term "hustle porn."
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian tells Fast Company he hates the business term "hustle porn." (Kim Hairston / MCT)

A few questions for Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit. 

Fast Company: What’s your best habit, and your worst?

Alexis Ohanian: My best is that I’m relentless about improving — I’m good at being motivated by criticism. My worst is saying yes to things when I should default to no.

FC: When I’m creatively stuck, I …

AO: Play a quick match of "Heroes of the Storm" if my friends are on.

FC: What’s the business buzzword you never want to hear or see again?

AO: Hustle porn (the fetishization of overworking). It’s my mission to purge the farce.

FC: What’s the best mistake you ever made?

AO: Oversleeping that morning in Rome and meeting my future wife (Serena Williams) at breakfast.

FC: When I need to unplug, I …

AO: Hide my phone and play with my daughter.

FC: What book do you recommend to everyone?

AO: Kurt Vonnegut’s "Slaughterhouse-Five," a sci-fi adventure about the costs of war and the illusion of free will. I used it in my history-major thesis to frame a study of the 1945 bombing of Dresden. Vonnegut was a veteran of the Second World War, and was in Dresden as a POW when the bombs fell.

FC: What’s the advice you’re glad you ignored?

AO: Paul Graham, our first Reddit investor, and my cofounder (Steve Huffman) tried to convince me to get rid of Snoo, the Reddit mascot I created. I’m grateful I ignored them, because it’s now iconic.

FC: What advice would you give your younger self?

AO: Spend more time with your parents, and don’t be so quick to grow up and be independent.

FC: What was your career fork in the road?

AO: I walked out of an LSAT and into a Waffle House, realizing I didn’t want to be a lawyer. That’s when I decided to be an entrepreneur. I persuaded my (University of Virginia) roommate to turn down his job offer and work with me to build Reddit.

FC: What’s your work uniform or wardrobe staple?

AO: Black fitted T-shirt. AG jeans. Atoms or Jordan 1s.

FC: What’s your favorite form of exercise?

AO: Strength training on free weights or Tonal. I just installed a heavy bag in my Florida office.

FC: What TV show are you mid-binge on?

AO: I was obsessed with the "Punisher" comic books as a kid. I’m trying to savor the second season on Netflix right now.

FC: What is your mantra?

AO: “Pain is growth.”

FC: What do you send to congratulate someone?

AO: A bottle of Shakmat! Armenian brandy should be shared among friends and loved ones in celebration.

FC: What’s your get-pumped song?

AO: “Power,” by Kanye West.

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