Speaking Up and Standing Up

Alexis Ohanian

Lesson time 10:50 min

Sometimes it just feels right to do something dramatic. Alexis shares the message he hoped to send when he resigned from Reddit. He talks about his new VC firm, Seven Seven Six, whose purpose is to support founders who are changing the world.

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Topics include: The Running Chef • Alexis Ohanian Teaches The Startup Playbook


[MUSIC PLAYING] - One of the advantages to being an entrepreneur is you get to have a vision that few other people have. And you will spend years helping other people see that vision. That's getting investors. That's recruiting people. That's scaling the business, growing customers, all those things. And along the way, you're going to see-- or maybe not see-- adjustments to that trajectory. And you're going to have moments where you know something is right. You know something needs to happen. You can feel it in your bones. But maybe you don't advocate for it as well as you can. Maybe everyone else in the boardroom feels a very different way. Whenever you're confronted with those decisions, you're going to have to do that-- you're going to have to do that hard work on yourself to figure out where are you willing to compromise and where are you willing to just sort of relent and where you're not. And this is why one of the things I work on from day one with founders is understanding those values, understanding their why so that when they are in that boardroom and they are the only voice arguing to do something that they know is the right thing but everyone else in the room is opposed, they have the conviction, they have the courage, they have the words to know that at some point, you will come back to reflect on your career and the things that you've done, and there is no greater gift to yourself than to know that when confronted with those hard decisions, you did what was right for you. You did what was right for your values. You did what was right for you to be able to tell your kid or someone you care about that you did the absolute best you could. The sooner you can get comfortable with speaking up and advocating for those things that you believe in that are to your vision, the better off the business is going to be. - One of Reddit's co-founders is revealing how he plans to contribute in this fight against racism. Alexis Ohanian is a father of a two-year-old daughter with his wife. That's Serena Williams. He resigned from Reddit's board of directors on Friday, and he urged the board to replace him with a Black candidate. He also promised to donate future gains on his Reddit stock to initiatives that support the Black community. - I ultimately resigned from the board of Reddit because I wanted to have a very clear story to tell my daughter when she asked me why, and why maybe I hadn't done it sooner, and why communities existed on that platform that were hateful, and why I hadn't done enough or done anything sooner to that point. And I wanted to be able to say, at least, upon reflecting on my decision to ultimately step down, that I had used the power and privilege that I had and used it to hopefully start some dialogues, hopefully start creating some change, to both symbolically take myself out of a position of privilege and a company that I had created to be replaced by someone who could perhaps better adv...

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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