Networking and the Media

Alexis Ohanian

Lesson time 08:04 min

Alexis helps you understand media coverage, recommending that you read your press, good or bad—and then discard it. Ultimately, you should be focused on the future of your business, rather than what someone said about it yesterday.

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

Topics include: Embrace Social Media • Case Study: Mr. Splashy Pants • Work Backwards with the Press • Handle Bad Press


[MUSIC PLAYING] - I always used to tell founders to not care about press because that itself was not a goal. And it's still true, but what has changed is that as media becomes more broad and a more accurate reflection of just internet sentiment or sort of community sentiment, it actually gets more valuable. I want to be careful. Again, it's still more important to build a great business, but the value of having the zeitgeist aware of and excited by what you're doing is increasing. Now, I'm not telling you to spend all of your time on social media, but I'm kind of telling you that. One of the skills that will serve you well is understanding these trends and patterns the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times online, especially in your industry because that's going to help you anticipate the kind of messaging you're going to do for your product. It's going to help you understand how to communicate to potential hires. It's going to help you identify opportunities to post a really funny meme that will go viral that millions of people will see. That'll get them excited about whatever you're doing. This new generation of CEOs, the ones who are just getting started now, they have to live in this. And so a decade ago I was telling founders, hey, you know, be aware of a story in the media, and use that as a peg that you can tie your story to, right? If there's a ton of people talking about return to work and the future of the office and whatnot sort of thing that's going on right now because of COVID, if your startup fits into that narrative in some way, shape, or form, that's a story peg you can use to get someone more interested in whatever you're doing because they'll see the relevance and the connection. The same thing, though, happens on the internet every day in a cycle that moves so much faster. And so this could literally be a meme that is tweeted and then goes viral and is forgotten four hours later. But if you can identify it, use that as the peg. See that as a way to tell your own story in addition to it or maybe remixing it. That's how you ride that wave. Back in 2009, I was asked to give a TED Talk about the power of the internet and, in particular, social media, and so I used this story about Greenpeace. They were really concerned about the humpback whales and wanted to do something to raise awareness for the whaling expeditions that were happening in Japan. So they created an online poll. Now, some of these names were really erudite and thoughtful, and then there was Mr. Splashy Pants. Now, they put that name up just as a joke. They weren't expecting anyone to vote on it. But this is the internet, and as soon as Reddit found out about that whale, they got excited. We even changed the logo. I doodled a version of Splashy-- to his friends. Mr. Pants to you-- and then really got people fired up because Greenpeace saw the initial poll numbers, and they thought there was a problem. They actually threw them out be...

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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