Alexis Ohanian has recently become one of my icons in the world of consumer technology and everything startups. If you are not familiar with the name he is one of the founders of Reddit, along with Hipmunk and a few others along the way. He has had quote the journey on the road to becoming the 'Mayor of the Internet' and remains just as passionate today about everything revolving around the lovely world wide web.
His book, 'Without Their Permission', is a bestseller and definitely a great read for anyone obsessed with the power of the internet and software in today's world. Throughout this particular piece of writing, along with his blog, podcast, and Ted talks he stresses the importance of collaboration through technology, and his first company can still be seen as one of the most powerful social collaboration tools in the world...
A tiny blue alien, designed by Alexis himself, might appear on the back of a car in traffic, on a random webpage, or perhaps even graffitied somewhere around Boston, but the community behind it is one of the most powerful forces on the web. Reddit has been around for roughly ten years and has become one of the 50 biggest websites in the world, with accomplishments ranging from crowdfunding surgeries, introducing lovers, and even saving a special Japanese whale dubbed Mr. Spalshy pants (Ted Talk)
Today the website holds hundreds of subreddits designed to attract a select group of people from around the world that can share stories, memories, pictures, ideas, and more. I am shamelessly addicted to the platform and have forced myself to delete it on multiple occasions... but yes, it is currently back on my ipad and right in front of me. I have learned a large amount from the socially collaborated 'news' site but nothing amazes me more than the sheer power of it. In essence Reddit is a community of users with no incentive but a lovely magical currency dubbed 'Karma', yet everyday millions flock to the site in order to engage, post, and discover new and interesting stories. It is this simple fact that has led to a revolution in my eyes... the crowdsourced revolution.
We have power in numbers, and thanks to the internet we can come together like never before, supporting charities, political movements, founders, and more. The dawn of crowdfunding and crowdfsourcing is a direct result of the Reddit ripple, and has been seen sneaking its way into the minds of several founders eager to start businesses around this simple concept.
Waze, a silly traffic app that lets users crowdsource police, accidents, and more uses crowdsourced information to give real time updates...with zero incentive to users. Product Hunt, a website that took one simple subreddit, r/products, and simplified it to crowdsource new and upcoming products, has just raised 6M in funding. I have taken a deep look into how exactly we have reached this point and realize it is only the beginning, Reddit is and always will be the front page of the internet, but we will now begin to unbundle the simple nature of crowdsourced platforms in order to simplify the user experience and engage outsiders. I am excited what's to come of each and every subreddit, whether its a new idea, a new product, or another 1 Billion dollar company.