Saturday, December 29, 2007

it's true, i love gmail

I even got the opportunity to tell Gmail creator, Paul Buchheit, how much Gmail owned my soul. So when Gmail asked for videos sharing "your Gmail story," I couldn't help but share one of mine. Really, I spend way too much time on Gmail (and now thanks to RescueTime, I have the pretty bar graphs to prove it).

Maybe they'll start running Apple-esque commercials and I can be the next Ellen Feiss!

Friday, December 28, 2007

"we should all buy and read" starbucked

OK, so I've taken P. J. O'Rourke's quote out of context. Nonetheless, it's indeed in his recent New York Times book review, Venti Capitalists. His critique of Starbucked takes a few unorthodox paternalistic turns, but you can't dispute his apparent fondness for the author, Taylor Clark.

Instead of giving an unabashedly positive review (I couldn't help myself) he starts out chiding Clark for some rather random things:

Clark makes much of Starbucks’s discovery that it could put one store close to another and both could thrive. But you can line a street with fire hydrants and dogs will use them all; that’s not necessarily a recipe for wealth, especially if you try to charge the dogs.
Should his analogy lead us to believe that going to Starbucks is like pissing in public? Maybe he's not far off. Nonetheless, the dogs keep paying -- a lot.

Now, Mr. O'Rourke may trivialize the success Starbucks has had with cannibalization, but as far as I know, it was a rather novel (and fruitful) strategy. The company may not have been the first to actively cannibalize its own stores, but it certainly did so with unprecedented success.

Another fun-fact from Clark's book was recounted in his recent Slate article "Don't Fear Starbucks: Why the franchise actually helps mom and pop coffeehouses." And it even made it onto the front page of reddit. Looks like you're about to get the reddit bump, Mr. Clark.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

kiwis in danger, but not going without a fight

There are a few key take-aways from this recent IHT article, "New Zealand trying to save the kiwi".

First, New Zealand is trying to save the kiwi. See, you didn't even have to read the article to learn that.

Second, the article doesn't expand on how this will affect Fogbugz -- FogCreek (maker of FogBugz) founder Joel Spolsky has yet to comment on the matter.Third, the kiwi may be the result of cruel dare some creator was taking, but it's not to be taken lightly. The article cites some pretty compelling evidence of the ill-tempered nature of the kiwi:

Some kiwis are more aggressive than others.

"Some of them will charge right up to you and kick you on the leg before rushing off into the undergrowth," McLennan said. "There's plenty of footage around of kiwis chasing possums and kicking them and beating them up."
Maybe they had it coming...

(thanks, Liz!)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

reddit algorithim leaked!

OK, this is old, but I'd been meaning to post this entry for a few days now.

redditor vs. alien

A long time back, exhausted of all creativity, I called upon redditAll readers to submit plot ideas for the reddit logo.

Quite a few of them turned into an epic logo storyline that lasted a couple weeks.

The top story on reddit at the moment is titled "Predator vs Alien (pic)". It doesn't have anything to do with today's movie opening.

But this must have reminded one of our users, bobcat, of the plot suggestion I got that featured "redditor vs. alien" -- the reddit alien and a redditor (presumably in cartoon-form) would duel it out in the logo.

bobcat tried to get some submissions with this self post, but the anti-custom-reddit-logo-conspiracy must have all activated their auto down-voting scripts. So we're going to try again with this one now that it's "official"...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

searching for the bill of rights

I wanted to refresh my memory about my favorite amendment in the U.S. Bill of Rights (the 3rd -- you'll never see British troops being quartered in my home!). So I did what most people do, typed a simple Google query:

bill of rights US
Top search result?
USINFO - Error 404 - Page Not Found UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE. ... USINFO delivers information about current U.S. foreign policy and about American life and culture.... - 19k
U.S. Bill of Rights not found? I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised...

consumerist confirms the holiday cheer at starbucks is indeed a pr stunt

I was startled when I saw this ad campaign around New York, but I never bumped into any "Gingerbread Gentlemen".

Now Consumerist confirms that all that holiday cheer was in fact bought with the promise of a free drink. Clever public relations campaign? Or an extra serving of cynicism for Starbucks-haters?

Maybe I'm just bitter I didn't get bought a free drink. Guess I should start going to Starbucks now...

Monday, December 17, 2007

xkcd and reddit team up to do a little more than just distract you from work

Got a non-profit you think needs a nice end-of-the-year bump from reddit? Perhaps, you've heard of reddit, it's the self-described strongest supporter of Mister Splashy Pants. And to get Greenpeace to name a whale Mister Splashy Pants is no simple task.

A couple weeks ago, some redditors voiced their desire to go a step further and do some more good. The community had also recently helped an elderly woman after she got ripped off my a cruise line, so feelings of generosity and goodwill were at an all-time high for the Internet. Like always, we just tried to facilitate our community's awesomeness and then get out of the way.

Oh, and did I mention that our friends at xkcd, Randall and Davean, are teaming up with us for this fundraiser? We'll have some worthwhile giveaways (see announcement) for a bunch of donors. With our geek powers combined...

Deadline for the non-profit voting is 10pm (Eastern GMT-5) Wednesday the 19th. Submit or vote now.

Donations will open up at noon (Eastern GMT-5) on Thursday the 20th. If you'd like some real-life karma, or just know a few geeks who'd appreciate some nerd-schwag, please pass this along. Thanks.

excellent news from los angeles: striking writers striking out to start startups

The LA Times reports:

Dozens of striking film and TV writers are negotiating with venture capitalists to set up companies that would bypass the Hollywood studio system and reach consumers with video entertainment on the Web.
About damn time, writers. You've always had the talent, now the barriers have fallen quite a bit between getting those great ideas out of your head and in front of people.

There's an entire generation passing around great video clips from sites like YouTube. We don't care who's made it, as long as it's entertaining. One of the best Will Ferrell clips I've seen all year was on -- the Criterion Edition is worth a look, too.

Obviously, there will be successes and failures, but we'll all be better off in the end.

Your brothers and sisters in journalism are working their way toward this as well, thanks to feasible online revenue *gasp* models and maybe even a few brand-agnostic news aggregators. It's about time content was king, and the creators of it started getting treated that way. Or at least close to it; that whole Divine Right thing is bullshit.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

pierre francois gets some great tips from a youtube commenter

It's well over a year old now, but Pierre keps getting some attention on YouTube.

From the department of unsolicited advice, a YouTube commenter named polytope13 recently laid the smack down on him:
Web 2.0 is just like the "Web 1.0" bubble except without the vast amounts of money being thrown at useless people like this here "consultant with 20 years of experience, an MBA and former used car salesman."

Here are a couple business tips to brush up with on that MBA: Don't use self-depreciating humor against your own product or services. And don't criticize Google's website when your Internet success does not come anywhere near Google's.
Oh yes, there's more. Let 'um have it, polytope13!
One more tip: If you're trying to do serious business, adhere to serious business attire. Aren't you supposed to be the "consultant" in these projects? Why then are you dressed like the freelance, LSD fueled graphics designer?
LSD-fueled graphics designer? It was the orange shirt, wasn't it?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

australia drankkit

As promised, there were no dingos.

We did get a bunch of Australian redditors to show up for our free beer, though (and a number of American and Canadian ones, too). It was at a charming pub called Hero of Waterloo (Duke of Wellington perhaps? Definitely not Napoleon, heh). We didn't have a clue where to host the event, so LonelyPlanet came through with a good recommendation.

By around 10, it was time for everyone to start impersonating everyone else's accent. I think the Australians do a pretty good "American," but it's usually a bit too Southern for my taste. Apparently all of our Australian accents just suck.

Oh well. It was great to meet real live Australian redditors (and even bought drinks for the founder of Kwoff, an Aussie Pligg-powered social news site. And by the end of the night there was the obligatory group photo for all the folks who'd stuck around long enough and wanted to end up as a couple pixels on today's reddit logo.Fun times.

Friday, December 14, 2007

non-stop humiliation

"Non-stop humiliation for hackers."

Really, McAfee? Really? Your company humiliates hackers non-stop? You expect me to believe that you can thwart -- let alone pwn -- these two?I think not.

And how about that tag-line: Killer security.


I'll still keep telling my dad if security is his concern, he's better off just buying a Mac.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

splashy pants now dances

Incredible. To quote krugerlive, "Those are the splashiest pants I have ever seen! And some of the best moves!"

If you've been keeping up with the Mister Splashy Pants saga, you'll be happy to know that the name won. And now redditors are joining the petition to save Mr. Pants (AKA, Splashy).

But this holiday e-card makes my baleen quiver with excitement.

g'day australia, your money is so pretty and your weather is so lovely, too

Apologies if you already read this on drankkit, but...

Steve and I are going to be in Australia for a really random reason and thought it'd be cool to host our own little drankkit down under. A few people had scoffed at this "world tour" (hey, we went to Canada) so we figured going as far as possible from home would be the only appropriate recourse.

This one is not an official Wired-sponsored event. All that means is there's not going to be anyone supervising the havoc we wreak on our credit cards. Don't let us down, Australia!
Really, the Australian bills are so pretty you feel guilty spending them. I was totally unprepared for this.

We didn't think we had that many redditors here in Sydney, but we've already got a few signups on the facebook invite. Should be a fun night. So if you know any Aussies (or are one yourself) tell them to come on down to Hero of Waterloo (81 Lower Fort St., The Rocks, Sydney) this Saturday night (Dec. 15th).

We'll be the two Americans in reddit shirts and wearing white socks. Heh.

There's an ad running on reddit, too. Just in case. I got some great feedback on the kangaroo: "The Alien looks safe, but with those eyes on the the kangaroo I'm very intimidated." Good point, cbs; I don't have much practice drawing kangaroos, I'm much better at wallabies.

lolcats and lolsquids

(Thanks, Diana!)

It should be a cuddlefish in this picture, but this will do. But that would probably ruin the joke, since no one could possibly have a problem with a cuddlefish. Squids are notorious for their flatulence and poor tipping habits. No one wants to associate with that kind of company.

funny pictures
From i can has cheezburger?, of course.

unholiday cards

This started out as a joke, but I went ahead and created a bunch of unholiday greeting cards. Well, it's really only one design, but there's a big stack of them waiting to be sent to your friends and family. If you're curious, these Darwin Claus greeting cards are for sale at

You'll have to visit the link to see inside.

And since I'm so full of the (un?)holiday spirit, half the profits are going to a charity I've become quite fond of.

It's never too late to send an unholiday card ;-)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

since the dailyshow is still on strike, here's a festive treat from the onion

(Thanks, Liz!)

The ONN (Onion News Network) reports: Nation's Wealthy Cruelly Deprived Of True Meaning Of Christmas. Oh yeah, I submitted it to reddit, too.

shirts are shipped!

And I learned something new: reddit isn't a shipping company.

We sold a bunch of shirts over the last two weeks (no doubt thanks to this ad):

But our shipping department (me) was traveling around doing drankkit duty, so I wasn't able to ship them out until Monday when I got back to SF.

So first thing Monday morning, our shipping department was greeted with a bunch of orders to fill. Jeremy -- either out of pity or stamp affinity -- helped out as the end of the workday neared and we managed to get every one of them in the outbox for Tuesday's morning pickup.

Like the photo of the giant fish, here's the proof of what Jeremy and I conquered this past Monday.Thanks to all of you who bought reddit shirts. If I screwed anything up, I trust I'll be hearing from you soon :)

In the event that you're still reading this, maybe you'll be interested in knowing that the furthest we mailed a reddit shirt this time around was Australia. An interesting coincidence...

Friday, December 07, 2007

back when i had subversion access...

Jeremy recently breezed through the svn commit logs and noticed a few atypical comments:

[1997]: must... stop.. obsessing..
By alexis — 01/15/07 13:51:45

[2069]: updated superbowl trophy to look less like a penis
By alexis — 02/06/07 21:06:33

[2099]: cuz im a dumbass
By alexis — 02/21/07 08:15:25
Oh, those were the good old days, back when I had Subversion access...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

review of starbucked: one of the best books i've read this year (and a bonus mp3!)

Finally, a business-themed book that doesn't suck. And for someone who loves coffee (and generally scorns business books) as much as I do, it was a pleasure to read. It's remarkably even-handed -- as though author Taylor Clark cares more about getting across facts than an agenda. How novel!

Oh, it's also quite an easy read and Taylor's wit enhances the whole experience. Don't expect any hackneyed business adages, Starbucked is a sober look at a company that has a significant impact on not just the United States, but the entire world. What starts with a history of the company, continues into a debunking (or verifying) of a number of Starbucks myths. My favorite was the truth behind "fair trade" coffee. Spoiler: It's not actually saving the world as well as you might hope.

Perhaps best of all, Clark reveals a special Starbucks cover of "We Built This City" ("We Built This Starbucks") that I was able to track down online. Brace yourself.

Default-tiny We Built this Starbucks... uploaded by 1451-tiny kn0thing

Someone needs to make a techno remix of this.

All in all, it's a well reported analysis of how the mermaid has managed to so quickly turn us into a nation of $4 coffee drinkers -- while still charging us mostly for milk. Oh, Mr. Schultz, you are a sly one...

Speaking of which, I saw this ad yesterday and a real 'wtf' moment. Really, Starbucks, you think this "latte stranger" campaign is going to help?*And no, I didn't get paid to write this, but if you'd like to pay me to review your book, it's going to cost a lot. And a pony.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

proof the internet is a very special place:

As far as I know, Kitty Wigs! has no connection to Bee Dogs (the premier online repository for pictures of dogs in bee costumes). Those two would have some great synergy. Take a closer look at this fine wig:

Pink Passion Kitty Wig
Think 50 bucks is a bit steep for a pink cat wig? This product description will change your mind:
Pink is the color of fantasy. Our model, Chicken, looks like her mind is elsewhere when she wears this wig -- somewhere in a land of cotton candy and pinwheels where the air smells like sugar kisses.
Don't you wish your cat lived in a land of cotton candy and pinwheels where the air smells like sugar kisses. I've never smelled a sugar kiss, but I reckon it smells mighty good. At least better than a two week old litter box. But it goes on...
Pink makes your kitty feel elegant, modern and quintessentially feline.
I like the word "quintessentially" as much as the next guy (look, 5 syllables!) but how is a cat-sized pink quintessentially feline? It's not even quintessentially human.

Unless you're her:But that's just redundant.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

facebook comes ever closer to myspace-hell as i do the unthinkable -- unfriend someone

I know I'm friends with a couple facebook spammers. It's not that I'm masochistic, they just provide me with a steady source of blogging material. Until now. Well, until after this blog entry.

Lydia Palmer did the unthinkable this morning, she posted this to My Wall:For those of you who don't use facebook (how's that Friendster account treating you?) I should explain that The Wall is a place to exchange thoughtful messages about recent drunkenness, sporting events, and interpretations of Dickensian themes through the lens of the 21st century.

I also use it to show off animated .gifs I make of my friends dancing:

I really should make a YTMND out of this.

But you get the point, there is clearly a distinction between acceptable and unacceptable Wall postings. Lydia, I'm sorry I had to do this, but you've been unfriended (with a bum-wagging Pikachu saying an appropriate farewell).As word spreads across the Internet, you'll not doubt be left friendless by the end of the day. You only have yourself to blame.

Oh, and I'm also putting you on notice.

Monday, December 03, 2007

email spammers getting creative, but still clearly not trying

With such a savvy subject line, this one almost fooled me. Almost.

from: Neil Little (
subject: photon eagerly

abstention seldom frustrating purple
"Photon eagerly"? I get non-spam emails with that subject line all the time. I keep telling Chris he's only confusing me with all that physics mumbo jumbo.

When it comes to the email's content, I think there's a beautiful poetry to it. Let's step back on ponder the meaning of those 4 words and their placement, each thoughtful and meaningful. A closer reading of the text reveals a frustration with the ennui of a materialistic lifestyle. It's quite moving.

But here's the best part, there was an attachment (bottle of beer.jpg)

reddit and startupschwag

Roddy over at Startup Schwag contacted me a little while back about including reddit shirts in their upcoming subscription package. He also mentioned something about a modeling shoot. Little did we know, it'd be Amanda Ferri, the charming lip-syncing girl from the start of Vimeo's Flagpole Sitta video. OMG, Internet celebs wearing reddit shirts!!!

Anyway, a bunch of blue reddit shirts were sent out this month to Startup Schwag subscribers -- including one in Hong Kong who wore the alien out go-kart racing. Fact: reddit shirts are more useful than a red turtle shell.

Rumor has it, my Mr. Chuck stickers (3.4x more effective than Mr. Yuck at keeping your kids away) will be included in next months schwag package! You'd better subscribe now.

Friday, November 30, 2007

city of angels drankkit

Coming shortly after Valleywag kindly published the free beer = traffic chart (hopefully bringing us all one drink closer to the implosion of Web 2.0) we were keeping the beer (and traffic) flowing with an LA meetup. There were no celebrity sightings, but we did get to meet many more redditors and hand out some drankkit pins.

After one jagerbomb too many, I found myself offering to take the above group photo of those who'd soldiered on well past the 9pm "closing" of the open bar and turn it into today's header. Here's the result:

Thanks to all of you who came out and apologies to those of you who didn't make it into the logo. You'd only be a few pixels anyway, if that's any consolation.

Now with more pictures!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

google experiments with reddit-style voting

TechCrunch scooped me on this one, but a few redditors emailed to note the similarities to reddit's voting arrows. I've chosen to call it 'reddit-style voting' for no reason other than it sets me up for some sage advice that was given to me early on at reddit. It's a suggestion I'd like to pass onto Google.

Visit GoogleLabs and you'll see that they're toying with an up arrow and a "do not want" button that's similar to our old "rtm-button" (instead of a down arrow, it's the classic square-with-x-in-the-middle). They've also elected to use an arrow designed with a fat shaft and petite head. Frankly, I'm not crazy about the style. Some of the best design advice I've ever gotten was "More head, less shaft." True story.

It was a suggestion based on one of our first demos (if you're curious to see the early iterations of reddit's design, travel back in time). The original arrows I'd designed were similar to what Google is going with at the moment: a lot of shaft. Unlike the "bad muthafucka" with the same name, having too much shaft kinda ruined the arrow effect.

So all in all, I'm curious to see how this helps search. As long as Goog can weed out the bots and evildoers (which shouldn't be too hard), this should do some good things for search results.

Just ease off all that shaft, guys.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

reddit loves mister splashy pants, greenpeace does too

Tuesday was a pretty rough morning, so doodling a whale for the logo that morning really cheered me up. Especially because this whale was named Mister Splashy Pants (abbreviated to "Mr." in the logo because I only had < 120px to work with).

This all started when a redditor submitted an online Greenpeace whale naming competition and declared that all of reddit vote for "Mister Splashy Pants." It wasn't a difficult sell. Admittedly, the rest of the names were all very thoughtful and cultured (e.g., "Gana - means 'song' in Hindi" or "Yarrindi - means 'song' in the Wagiman Aboriginal language of Australia"). But how could anyone not vote for "Splashy?"

So it wasn't long before the poll (which currently shows 73% for "Mister Splashy Pants" and the second-place name of "Libertad" at 3%) was, for lack of a better word, pwnd.

But to the credit of Greenpeace, they're rolling with it (although they have extended the deadline). The person running the competition even commented on it.

Like I told him, it was impressive to see them honoring this poll, as wonderfully skewed as it may be. It likely has brought - and will continue to bring - a lot of great attention to the Great Whale Trail Expedition.

I thought I'd celebrate it with the above logo, but little did I know that it'd lead to quite possibly the most unnecessary reddit submission ever. Heh.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

website needs traffic? an empirical study of the power of free beer (the drankkit effect)

We wanted to meet some of our users, but just the 4 of us wouldn't be enough of an incentive, so an open bar was necessary -- Wired even offered to pick up the tab.

I don't even remember who suggested it at the marketing meeting, but when they turned to me and asked if a free beer tour sounded like a good idea, my response ("Yes!") came quickly and emphatically. And thus drankkit was born.

Sure, it also seemed like a good way to possibly generate some traffic for reddit, but I had no idea...

The first announcement came out on October 9th, announcing the SF meetup on the 16th and our tentative plans for the rest of the "world tour."

Here's a chart showing the percentage of growth in unique visitors starting a month before the start of drankkit (so you can compare the growth-rate change):
(those regular dips are statistical anomalies known as "weekends")

Now, I know that correlation doesn't mean causation, but let's just disregard that for a moment and stare in awe at the power of free beer. It's not to be questioned.

We've got two more stops left (L.A. on 11/29 and D.C. on 12/7) and I hope they'll be as successful.

I also hope that this entry will be instructive for current Web 2.0 startups looking to generate some traffic. The optimal solution is undoubtedly to throw open bar events. The more funding you have, the bigger the parties should be. What could go wrong?

Maybe you'll even show your appreciation by putting team reddit on the guest list (there's only 4 of us, anyway). We'll bring pins.

*tip of the hat to Dr. Slowe for teaching me what my UVA stats class didn't

Monday, November 26, 2007

alien mascots are making a huge comeback, sockpuppets still not getting any love

Somebody acquire this startup already.

I learned about definr a few days ago from reddit. I can't put my finger on it, but I really like something about this website. It didn't take more than a minute to realize it.

It could be the super-fast real-time dictionary results (reminiscent of the joy that is Instant Domain Search), but a slash of Occam's razor reveals a simpler reason: the mascot.Wtg, definr. +500 points for the brilliant blushing mascot.

reddit & olpc: working together to create the next generation of redditors

Looks like pi3832 beat me to it, but we're finally running our reddit/OLPC ads. And no, we don't really care if those kids actually use reddit on their XO laptops. We all know what they're going to Google first anyway ;-)

We made some friends in Boston who are working on the One Laptop Per Child project. It's an extremely ambitious one, getting cheap but powerful laptops in the hands of children across the world, but there's a talented group of people working to make it happen.

We're big fans of the project, so I approached them about making and running an ad for their Give One, Get One campaign. Hopefully the reddit alien can convince you to get your own cute green laptop (and in the process donate one to a child in a developing nation) -- you've now got until the end of the year to participate.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

another peek into the reddit feedback inbox

Seriously, wtf? We get some bizarre feedback emails here at reddit. Hopefully if I keep posting the craziest ones it will dissuade you from ever starting a dot-com startup (or maybe encourage you?).

feedback from ****

I've never heard of Reddit before. Is this some kind of white supremacist or Ku Klux Klan website?

yours sincerely,

What's the appropriate response to this kind of feedback email? I tried directness.
Re: feedback from ****

What gave you that impression?

It's been a week and change. Still no response. Maybe I'm getting punk'd.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

happy buy nothing day!

OK, so today is technically the "International Buy Nothing Day" and yesterday was the North American version (to coincide with the busiest shopping day of the year -- Black Friday).

It was easy to avoid buying anything yesterday with all the tryptophan in my system. That, and I have a fear of malls, mall Santas, and bargain hunters.

But today was a bit trickier, as my dad asked me to pick up a loaf of bread for him and my mom. Ruined by the guilt of spending a couple bucks on a loaf of whole grain bread (the artisan kind that looks all fancy and European, but admittedly tastes pretty damn good) I decided I needed to get my "Buy Nothing Day" logo up as soon as I got home.

A link titled Tomorrow is Buy Nothing Day - can you stop being a consumer for 24 hours? made it onto reddit and was followed by a choice quote from perclid:

Correction: tomorrow is Defer Your Regular Consumer Purchases for 24 Hours Day.

Oh well, I hope you enjoyed the day however you may have celebrated it.

adpinion ftw

Curious about how online advertising would work for a mildly popular blog like mine, I signed up with AdBrite a little while back.

I'm not planning on retiring off of this blog, so gaining revenue wasn't really the goal (in true startup fashion). I wanted to see just how dismal the advertising would be.

I wasn't disappointed.Do people really send these things to their friends? Really?

I like Eeyore as much as the next person, but do readers of this blog really need some bling-bling for their MySpace pages? Maybe the folks at know something I don't. True, most startup founders rave about their pimp juice animated .gifs -- that's what really goes on during those investor pitches.

Although I've been approving a variety of ads (and trying to weed out the really offensive seizure-inducing ones) the current leaderboard hasn't changed in something like two weeks. And as Rod Begbie pointed out in the comments a while back, it happens to be a reddit competitor -- repptide.Frankly, I just got tired of seeing this ad. Hopefully all of you have AdBlock on, anyway.

But if you don't, or your curious about whether or not it's possible to make online advertising not suck, I'm replacing all my ads with Adpinion. They're another YC company and I finally got my invite from them a month ago.

I think the secret was taking them all out for beer when they were in New York. Nothing quite like liquoring up a startup.

It's also a good litmus test -- if their alcohol tolerance is too high, they're not working hard enough. Maybe I should mention that to PG as a future metric for startups looking to get that first round of angel investment...

Friday, November 23, 2007

breadpig reborn

I was ecstatic to reclaim, but I felt the pig needed an upgrade.Behold the new breadpig. The world will never be the same.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

happy thanksgiving

Two years since my first Thanksgiving entry, not much has changed on our list (although we don't play WoW anymore).

I'm sitting here with my family, watching Favre dismantle the limp Lions, MacBook in lap. Mom really liked today's turkey logo. She should, it was her idea after all.

(Although, I don't think I'll ever top the series I did for reddit's first Thanksgiving.)

Just like every year, I've got a lot to be thankful for. Some of it's even better than being able to doodle aliens and give presentations for a living. Speaking of which, I'd better get back to the fam...

Friday, November 16, 2007

reddit now takes better care of its children

We try to be pretty responsive to user feedback, so I wasn't entirely surprised when Steve IMed me for some design suggestions on the [+] and [-] buttons you can now see to the right of every comment score and time.

It turned out the reddit community was pretty pleased and a self post about the new feature rocketed up the front page yesterday. There were still a few bugs to work out, but everything should be collapsing and expanding now with ease. No more orphaned or hidden children.

This seemed like an appropriate logo for today not just because of the recent feature ("OMG, new features!") but because it's also my mom's birthday.

Happy birthday, mom!

from the reddit feedback inbox

Getting reddit feedback emails like this really make my day:

feedback from ****

You, you're act and all of the people that post items on this site seem to be a gaggle of fucktards. Is this a trend or is it just reddit ?

+3 points for "gaggle of fucktards" (I thought it was just for geese). I try to respond to everyone, though:
Re: feedback from ****

Hard to say. As a fucktard, I don't think I could properly assess that.

thanks for the feedback!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

10 seconds of fame on faux business

Updated because I forgot to include a part of the conversation

Walking back from a meeting yesterday afternoon, I got stopped by a small film crew on 6th ave. Curious, I paused to hear their pitch. A microphone-wielding producer asked if I had a financial question for a "man on the street segment" they do for a show on the Fox Business channel. I don't remember the name.

Fortunately, I'd read reddit that morning, so I had the perfect question subject. She had some pretty simple instructions (these are not exact quotes):

"Just say your name and ask your question; the whole thing shouldn't take more than a few seconds."


"OK. Go."


"Yes. Now."

"Oh, OK."


"Hi, this is Alexis, I read this on, but apparently Jay-Z is now using Euros and not U.S. dollars in his latest music video. Does that mean the U.S. economy is going to hell?"

"That was great, but don't say where you got it from."

"You don't want me to source it?"

"Right. You can't do that."

"Of course I can't. To be fair, the actual article was from a blog -- I just can't remember the name."

"Good. OK, one more time without the source."

"Hi, this is Alexis, I read this on, but apparently Jay-Z is now using Euros and not U.S. dollars in his latest music video. Does that mean the U.S. economy is going to hell?"

"You just said the exact same thing."


"We're just going to edit it out unless you say it right, so please do it again without mentioning the website."


"OK, go ahead."

"Hi, this is Alexis... umm, apparently Jay-Z is now using Euros and not U.S. dollars in his latest music video. Does that mean the U.S. economy is going to hell?"

"Perfect. It'll be on tonight at 6."

"Oh? I'll tell my parents. They'll be really proud of me."

I tried my best to make sure my mom was able to tune in, but it was all for naught -- she'd been watching normal Fox news. So if any of you come across this very brief segment on YouTube or elsewhere, please send me a link so I can show my parents. You did such a good job tracking down our bobblehead, I figured crowdsourcing* was worth another shot.

*Fun fact: I just learned today that this word was invented by WIRED. Most people have to pay $.10 every time it's used, but since I'm an employee, I can use it all the time (in fact, I get $.05 when I use it!). Crowdsourcing, crowdsourcing, crowdsourcing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

reddit alien has been returned, decapitated, but returned nonetheless

We got a great surprise two nights ago at Steve's birthday dinner.

Just when a Google Search for "lost alien" turned up my Craigslist post as the #2 result, we were reunited with our little bobbleheaded friend.Seemingly out of nowhere, the waiter handed Steve the two pieces of our mascot. We rejoiced.But how did the alien make it back to us in time for Steve's birthday?

After it first got alien-napped and we discovered a photo presumably taken by the napper, I forwarded the tip I got from Andrew earlier in the week to Rajiv, a friend of ours here at Condé who "solves problems." He wouldn't tell us how, but he swore he'd get the alien back.

I'm not sure how it happened, but the alien was definitely returned (although the head was no longer attached -- a little epoxy will solve that problem). I'd like to thank Michael Galpert for bringing back this bobblehead we're eventually going to blow up. It's silly, I know, but we've still got a few more photos to take with the alien. It still hasn't visited South East DC. There's so much left to live (bobble) for.

I have a feeling more are on the way; there's definitely some reddit schwag heading your way, MSG. Thanks again, dude.

Monday, November 12, 2007

happy birthday, spez! (not!)

Steve is turning 17 today!

Or 24?

Instead of honoring him with a reddit logo (like Jeremy and Chris) I gave a shoutout to One Laptop per Child for starting their Give One Get One campaign. Does that make me a terrible friend? (Probably)

It only seemed fair since Steve told me about this campaign in the first place. That, and he claims his reddit avatar no longer looks anything like him.

Lisp book? Glasses? Naked?

Maybe he's got a point. But that's what he gets for being the first to become alien-ized.

Back to the plug:

For one time only, lucky USA/Canadian startup founders like me can buy an XO laptop and simultaneously donate one. I plan on keeping mine around the reddit office for Steve to hack. I wonder how much it would've cost to get loaded as the default homepage...


Seriously though, look how adorable this laptop is. To think it will no doubt be first used to Google "sex"...

Wouldn't it feel good to know that your donation had contributed to that epiphany?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

redditors doodle: honorable mentions

We got a lot of great submissions from my offer to doodle the reddit logo. In a very un-reddit fashion, the 4 of us on team reddit voted on the five DIY logos we'd put online (although we did use an internal reddit poll to do it).

I've been meaning to put the honorable mentions online -- drankkit just kept getting in the way. Sorry it took so long. Here they are:

Geoffrey Aladro -- plugging

Zach Wentz -- plugging

Lanfearinc & FroggyX plugging

Thanks again to all of you who participated.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

fucking with spammers: free site analysis

Here's one spam email that I just couldn't help but respond to:

your site
Our company will now place any business with a qualified website at the top of the major search
engines immediately (ex: Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Alta Vista, etc.). We are offering a complimentary site
analysis that will show you how higher placement will give you more web traffic and greatly improve
your bottom line. Email us today at and we will contact you with your free
site analysis. Don't forget to include your web site(s) and how we can reach with our results.
Roselle Morgan
Running Start Media
Google Altavista Yahoo! AOL Lycos
This promotion is only valid for USA.

Good deal. Now let's see where this takes us...
re: your site
Hi Susan!!!

Would you mind doing a complimentary site analysis of my website,


reddit <3 threadless: jeremy and i begin our career as t-shirt models

I still remember buying my first Threadless shirt senior year of college. It was downhill from there. I must own somewhere around 10 shirts from them now. They're all designed & submitted by a community of talented artists and voted on by the community. The winning designs are printed as shirts and sold on the website.

Needless to say, Threadless has been remarkably successful. Such profitability isn't very cool for most web startups -- they're rebels in that way.

So imagine how stoked I was to meet Harper Reed at our Chicago reddit meetup this past Thursday. He even invited Jeremy and me to the Skinnycorp HQ, which should explain the above photo. After some Big Buck Hunter (with guns hacked to no longer require pump reload) we got a tour of the facility and were asked to don a couple shirts and smash one another with pillows. I got the little one. I think it's supposed to be a sight gag, but it just meant Jeremy was free to pummel me while we did all those takes...

Oh, and we also got a post-pillow fight podcast interview with Charlie. Link to come. In the meantime, why not buy this shirt?Thanks for showing us such a good time. We'll be sure to publicly honor people who park like an idiot from now on.

reddit ads

I got inspired a couple mornings ago and made a few ads for some of the other communities on reddit. Coincidentally, we had an ad fiasco yesterday when a few particularly heinous ads made their way onto reddit. We'd notified our ad sales folks yesterday, but the pull didn't come soon enough. Sorry. We hate those crappy ads as much as you do.

I still can't understand why anyone would want to advertise with such blatant disregard for the people they're advertising to. And I know these kinds of ads can't be nearly as effective as a static image with a decent design and thoughtful copy.

On an unrelated note ;-) here are some static image house ads I've created: