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Co-founder of Reddit speaks at MIT Startup Club meeting

Last night’s gathering of the MIT Startup Club featured a presentation and Q&A from Alexis Ohanian, cofounder of the popular social news site Reddit (http://reddit.com).

Reddit, initially run entirely by Ohanian and his college roommate Steve Huffman with “a few hundred dollars in sticker budget,” now gets over one billion monthly page views. Ohanian confirmed this statistic when he spontaneously logged into his Google Analytics account during his presentation, to gasps from many of the 43 students in attendance. “Reddit in the beginning was mostly Paul Rand essays. And us berating our friends. And me, pretending to be users.”

Ohanian described Reddit’s rapid growth and his experience selling Reddit to Condé Nast in 2006, saying he was “half expecting Ashton Kutcher to pop out and say, ‘Ha ha! Punked you, bitch!’”

Ohanian also described several of the other projects he is involved in, including Hipmunk (http://hipmunk.com), a flight and hotel search site; and Y Combinator (http://ycombinator.com), a company that funds small startups. His talk was prefaced by a presentation from Erika M. Bildsten ’12 of Incubomber, a group working out of a Burton Conner dorm room, about their new project Bookxor (http://bookxor.com).

Near the end of Ohanian’s presentation, one of the young entrepreneurs in the audience raised his hand: “A lot of people say that failure is very important to success. Now that you have experienced success, how do you make sure that you keep failing?”

“Oh,” Ohanian laughed, “that’s easy.”

—Connor Kirschbaum