Tech Culture

Alexis Ohanian, Co-Founder of Reddit, Has Moved On

By Adriaan Brits Friday, June 19, 2020

In 2018, Alexis Ohanian took a step back from his responsibilities as Co-Founder of Reddit, an “American social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website,” while still choosing to maintain his place on the board.

However, on June 5, he decided to shift his path and move on from being a member of the board at Reddit and has since been replaced by Michael Seibel, a thirty-seven-year-old CEO well known in the tech industry.

What Is the Significance of This Change?

Ohanian stated that his departure from Reddit was done out of a place of urging his brainchild, started when Ohanian was fresh out of college, into a more diverse makeup. Alexis Ohanian is married to Serena Williams, an American tennis player, and together they have one daughter.

Ohanian wanted his daughter to know that her father took a meaningful step towards unity and diversity and be proud to be his daughter. Following his departure, Ohanian was replaced by Michael Seibel, CEO of Y combinator.

Does Reddit Have a Plan for Moving Forward?

In an official announcement from Reddit on June 5, they stated that they would be honoring Alexis Ohanian’s wishes and are working on modifying their content policies.

They also mentioned the three problems Reddit is most focused on at this time: “improving...tooling and enforcement,” providing more transparency around the administrators’ beliefs, and allowing moderators to voice their opinions about where Reddit could use a tune-up.

What Can Other Companies Take Away From Ohanian’s Time at Reddit?

Even though Alexis Ohanian has decided to part ways with Reddit, this doesn’t mean that there is nothing left for business owners to gain from his time there. Here are three lessons from Ohanian’s past that still ring true in business today:

Forget the “Startup Society”

One way that small start-ups and other companies can avoid running in circles and not genuinely making progress is by steering clear of the start-up society, Ohanian claims. There are too many opportunities for new business owners to go out and join a party in the name of “business” that will only cause them to lose time and waste their energy. Alexis stated that he, “went to so many things that were just opportunities for people to talk about how they were ‘crushing it’ or ‘killing it.’”

Being responsible and wise in handling your time as an owner in the business industry will serve you well and help you stand out amongst your partners who are well known at parties, but forgotten in the meetings.

Don’t Try to Be Perfect, Try to Be Better Than Before

As lots of team members, founders, and CEOs tend to do, it can be a challenging thing to admit that you’re struggling in your business. Words spoken directly from Ohanian say it best, “For leaders, being a real, whole, relatable human being, is a core strength and a competitive advantage.”

We gain nothing by always pushing to look like we have it all under control. We will only make progress if we admit that there is some area we are lacking in and listen to the wisdom from those around us.

Don’t Discount the Importance of the Community You’ve Built

Lastly, you should strive not to discount the importance of the community you’ve built. With over four hundred employees and more than three hundred million Reddit users, Alexis Ohanian and his co-founders have created a large community with voices heard worldwide.

Alexis Ohanian strives for vulnerability, during his time at Reddit and now as he pursues an activism route. There will always be more significant lessons to learn when we’re vulnerable than when we are proud.

What Does Ohanian Plan to Do Now?

Ohanian has decided to push his earnings from his Reddit stock to help serve the community that is suffering around him. He was quoted saying, “I believe resignation can actually be an act of leadership from people in power right now.” Ohanian mentioned that his first step would be to donate one million dollars to the “Know Your Rights Camp” organized by Colin Kaepernick.

We can’t be sure of what lies ahead for Alexis Ohanian and his family, but we are eager to keep up from the sidelines.

About the Author


Headshot for author Adriaan Brits

As an analyst of global affairs, Adriaan has an MSC from Oxford, with diverse interests in the digital economy, entertainment, and business. He is a specialist trainer in Advanced Analytics & Media.