Knocking 'Entrepreneur' Off its Pedestal

Alexis Ohanian

Lesson time 07:07 min

The word “entrepreneur” gets a lot of flack. Alexis explains that being an entrepreneur is a mindset as much as a practice. In this lesson, he shares the perspective needed to devise new ideas, scale your business—and change the world.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Age is Just a Number • It Doesn't Matter Where You Are • Be Relentlessley Resourceful • Corporate America, Meet the Startup Mindset


[MUSIC PLAYING] - I really should know what entrepreneur means in French. [MUSIC PLAYING] In my mind, it means has ideas and does them. As simple as that. Here is a very fancy sounding word that actually is describing a very simple, and because of that simplicity, beautiful idea. And people who hear that word maybe think of it as something that is other and I've really worked hard to knock that off of its pedestal so that people understand, yeah, no, I entrepreneurship is as simple as having ideas and doing them and everyone is capable of it. [MUSIC PLAYING] So let's say you're 38, you've got a four-year-old daughter, and you're wondering, am I too old to start a startup? The answer to that is, no, you're not. And in fact, this would be a good time to pull up all the data that shows exactly how many multibillion dollar companies have been founded by folks in their 30s, as well as their 40s, and their 50s. One example of a company that was started by a 30-something-year-old, you're looking at one. MasterClass. [MUSIC PLAYING] Part of the reason that we are obsessed with this myth or this fantasy the 20-year-old founder is because it is rooted in some truth, which is a kid right out of the University of Virginia doesn't really have an understanding for how the world works when it comes to media because he's never done it before. He's just a college kid and he ran a forum-- --while he was in school. This whole website and everything is just sort of a social experiment to see what would happen if a bunch of people were free to voice their own opinion online. Had I had five or 10 years of experience building, certainly, consumer social apps, I think Reddit would have avoided a lot of mistakes that we made. I think we would have been far more effective and successful. And there are things that I know I did while growing Reddit that I look at today and I'm like, gosh, that was a terrible decision. Why did I make that? Experience is valuable and the best case scenario is where you have experience but you're not carrying the baggage of a sort of frozen mindset of how things should be. [MUSIC PLAYING] If you don't happen to live in Silicon Valley, it doesn't matter. And I know that because I didn't start Reddit in Silicon Valley, I started it in Charlottesville, Virginia. Our first real office was in Medford, Massachusetts. And today I run a pretty darn successful venture capital firm from South Florida. And while, yeah, for decades Silicon Valley was the epicenter of tech, it is no more. And certainly post-COVID we've seen more and more people realize, thanks to the internet, that they can do their work from just about anywhere they have an internet connection. And, more importantly for this course, they can start their business from just about anywhere. There are limitless cities all over, not just the United States, but all over the world, that are going to found the...

About the Instructor

In 2005, UVA undergrad Alexis Ohanian envisioned a place online where users connect over subcultures—enter Reddit. That was only the start: From growing billion-dollar companies to championing female founders, Ohanian shaped culture. Now he wants to lead tomorrow’s innovators. Learn how to turn an idea into a startup with advice Alexis has shared with other entrepreneurs through his VC fund, Seven Seven Six.

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Alexis Ohanian

Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian teaches you how to turn an idea into a startup. Get the advice he’s shared through his VC fund, Seven Seven Six.

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