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Click here to read Business Insider’s exclusive interview with Alexis Ohanian >>It took Reddit co-founders Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman three weeks to build the “front page of the web.”
But within a month of building the site, Ohanian received terrible news from his father.
His mother had a seizure, and doctors discovered an inoperable tumour in her brain.
The first thing she said to him was, “I’m sorry,” according to a story at Inc. on how he built Reddit.
“At a moment when she should have been most concerned with her own health,” Ohanian told Inc., “she was apologizing to me, because she didn’t want that weighing on my conscience while I was trying to do everything else I wanted to do up in Boston, where our company was.”
Here are some more details on the creation and sale of Reddit:
- Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator, rejected their original idea: a mobile food ordering service called MyMobileMenu. Instead, Graham told them, “You guys need to build the front page of the Internet.”
- They had a contentious debate about whether to include comments. (They did.)
- Within a month of creating Reddit, the mother of Ohanian’s then-girlfriend called him with the news that her daughter accidentally fell five stories off a balcony in Germany and was in a coma. The hospital released her a few months later.
- Then Ohanian got the phone call from his dad about his mum.
- In 2006, Condé Nast approached Ohanian and Huffman with an offer. “Founders are supposed to be not at all interested in selling,” Ohanian said. “But there is a price at which a founder can’t help being interested.” After 16 months of working on Reddit, they sold it for somewhere between $10-20 million.
- “To be able to call my mum as soon as the bank account cleared and tell her—before I told TechCrunch—to tell my mother her confidence in me was not wasted was the best part, absolutely the best part,” Ohanian said.