Featured on Jan 03, 2011
"I'd like to make the world suck less."
Graduated from UVA in 2005 and put my history major to work co-founding reddit.com. Sold it to Condé Nast in 2006 and continued doodle the reddit alien for another three years until retiring for a Kiva Fellowship in Armenia. Founded Breadpig, Inc., an uncorporation that's responsible for bringing geeky things into the world like LOLmagnetz and xkcd: volume 0 -- and donating all the profits (over $160,000 given away so far!). I'm also currently the marketing guy at Hipmunk. Thanks to a whale, I gave a TED talk in 2009. My dad and I are also professional downtrodden Skins fans. I love hummus.
Who would win in a cage fight to the death Reddit’s algorithm or Google’s algorithm? Which algorithm would be less susceptible to a multi-national government bribery attempt?
Google's would win, but only because it chose to use tactics that were only sorta evil -- a steel folding chair while the ref was distracted. Government bribery of the reddit hivemind would be much harder than simply dropping off a couple little red envelopes around Mountain View.
You always talk about your love for Boston, what brought you to NY and specifically Brooklyn Heights? Do you ever get stuck in lawyer/stroller traffic jams on the sidewalks?
I lived in Park Slope for a year, so let's not talk about BK heights stroller-traffic-jams. I was born in Manhattan (conceived and raised in Brooklyn, though). My parents moved out of the city when I was three because it was no longer sustainable and my dad's paychecks would go further in the suburbs than even our "up-and-coming" neighborhood.
While I was deciding between neighborhoods to buy into in Brooklyn, I brought my dad up for his 55th birthday weekend. I took him to some open houses and while we walked around BK Heights, he mentioned how he and my mom had often taken me in my stroller from their place in Fort Greene (early 80s Fort Greene, mind you). They'd thought about how nice it'd be to one day be able to afford to live there.
That pretty much sold me on the Heights. That, and the scarcity of hipsters. I'd lived in the Mission (SF) for two years and had my fix.
When you guys were throwing startup parties on your roof in Somerville, MA, what was the drink of choice?
Sam Adams, mostly. I refuse to serve PBR to guests, but inevitably someone would show up with a case of it. Oh, what people will do to their bodies in order to look cool...
If you had a personal hummus delivery driver (assuming you don’t) where would you get your hummus from?
I should look into that. Maybe the guy who delivers my weed can also sell me hummus. My favorite to date has been in a random Lebanese restaurant in Dubai. There wasn't much I loved in Dubai, but that hummus was on point.
What would you like to see happening more between investors and startups?
Ice cream socials? Startups are starting to realize just how much is in their favor right now, which is pretty fantastic. I'm saying this as an angel investor, mind you. Angel investors are rich people, let's not forget that, so they've already got every card in the deck stacked in their favor. Startups are (hopefully) making something people want.
We've got it made: we write checks, get nice articles written about us, and feel good when a portfolio company exits. But let's be realistic here -- we're just reallocating some capital, startups are creating value.
I don't think we need too much more happening between the two groups other than mutual understanding of which side is really valuable.