We’re excited to announce Startup School Radio, a podcast that features stories and practical advice about starting, funding, and scaling companies. In each show, host and Y Combinator partner Aaron Harris talks to two key founders or investors to learn how they got started, what went wrong, what surprised them, and what happened as their companies grew.
In episode 1 of Startup School Radio, Harris sits down with Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit, and Kaz Netajian, the co-founder of payments startup Kash. You can listen to the entire hour-long show in the SoundCloud widget embedded above, or find all the episodes on iTunes.
One interesting part of Ohanian’s segment was the discussion about how Reddit set out to be the “front page of the internet”:
Alexis: The really stand out thing is the commenting system, and the voting system that Steve [Huffman] engineered, which we drew heavily from Slashdot influence on. Just this idea of having community self-regulated voting on content, and comments.
And [Paul Graham] just said, ‘All right, well, solve that problem. Find the best way to just inform yourself every morning.’ And we’re going back and forth with ideas. And then he’s just like, ‘Listen, just build the front page of the internet.’ Steve and I looked at each other and we are like, ‘Uh, this guy wants to give us money to build the front page of the internet? All right, sucker.’
Aaron: So, that’s actually really interesting, because Paul sold his company at Yahoo. He worked at Yahoo for a while, and a lot of ways, in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Yahoo was the front page of the internet. There was no such thing as a search engine, really, when Yahoo started. It was an aggregation of useful links.
Aaron: Do you think that’s part of where that came from?
Alexis: We should have pitched Reddit as Yahoo 2.0. Probably… I still remember the [meeting], because we kept dilly-dallying around this idea of, what it means to have this front page here, and [Paul Graham] was like, ‘Look, the news of record, the most important news of the day for the 20th century was essentially the stuff that made it arguably to the front page of like the New York Times.‘ Some other newspapers might differ, but for the 21st century, the front page of the New York Times meant this is the news.
Online, you have to be content agnostic. Even in 2005, it was clear that the most important relevant news of the day couldn’t possibly come from just one source. The best way to get to that would be having a bunch of random people all over the world submitting suggestions for what that might be.
You can read the full transcript from Startup School Radio Episode 1 on Genius here.