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:

Friday, November 09, 2007

the inevitable rise and liberation of music... thanks to NiggyTardust??

Really? Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails) is himself producing this interesting fellow, Saul Williams. But here's the fun part, Williams' newest album The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust! is free to download (and a DRM-free download at that). I just wish he'd gotten a better designer for the website. Ouch.

+5 bonus points for the pirate cat, though.

Here's the message included with the pre-order email:

If you decide at any point you'd like to directly support the artist for this work and feel it's worth what we're asking, you can always click this button. It will also allow you to re-download the record at audiophile rates if desired.
Radiohead got all the attention for doing it a month back, but I still remember the album Harvey Danger released for "pay what you want, or nothing at all." It got a lot of play back in reddit hq that first winter in 2005. Are things actually changing in the music industry?

Noah Dinkin (full disclosure: a friend of mine) of UFO Music has been sticking it to the man for a while now ("the man" in this instance is the cabal of major music labels). Let's hear it for the rise of the independent musician.

Incidentally, this is all going according to plan, for Steve and I have already started a band -- we even have a name, all we need now is talent.

happy birthday, doc

Even as Chris KeyserSosa Slowe pushes ever closer to 30, the Force in him only grows stronger. It took me way too damn long to get this logo online yesterday, but hopefully he caught a glimpse of it before returning to Dagobah.

(see if you can spot how many times I've reused that image of the cake)

reddit alien-napper has been identified

Thanks to some super sleuthing by Andrew Hughes, co-founder of Yaperture, we now have evidence pointing to the culprit: Michael S Galpert. While this is by no means conclusive, sources have connected him to the earlier hostage photo.

His street name appears to be "MSG" and we have no reason to believe he's harmed the alien.

Because I refuse to use Twitter, if Michael would like to get in touch with me (alexis + about returning the alien, I'd be happy to discuss terms.

If not, I hope he could at least send a photo to reassure us (and the reddit community) that the alien is receiving good care.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

puppy calendar update

Regarding yesterday's entry, digg was not in fact responsible for shipping that adorable puppies calendar.

Sorry for any misunderstandings this may have created. No word on whether or not Kevin Rose does indeed like puppies, but sources close to him have told me "Yes, he does."

become an official "facebook fan" of reddit

As facebook slides closer toward the spam-hell that is MySpace, I'm proud to mention that we now have a reddit brand page on facebook. Hmm, maybe "proud" isn't the right word...

There's not much going on there at the moment, but with a little bit of love and attention, it could become a worthwhile destination. In the meantime, we promise not to spam you.

I consider it a pleasant alternative to the "reddit alien" account I tried to create, which was disabled for what I perceive to be xenophobic reasons. They forced me to rename "reddit alien" to "Alexis Ohanian," which ought to explain why the real me appears to be married to myself.

Now hopefully the friends of the reddit alien can just switch over to becoming "fans of reddit." Just like your favorite band, only significantly less cool.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

with bubblicious acquisition rumors circling, digg still comes through with free schwag

After meeting a bunch of digg employees at our SF meetup, I thought I'd send them over a few reddit shirts so they'd have something to wear at the next one.

Daniel Burka returned the favor with a set of digg shirts shortly thereafter, I've just been taking my sweet time getting this picture online.

Although I'm not sure where that puppies calendar came from. But boy are they cute (just not this cute).

And now I read in Valleywag that they may be getting acquired for $300 million. Pity you can't trust anything you read on Valleywag. But if you could, I'd buy Kevin and Jay a drink.

some q&a with steve and me

A PR firm, Schwartz Communications, asked us to participate in a podcast -- no, a Schwartzcast -- a little while back.

They definitely did their homework (the first interviewers we've had who knew our usernames) and he definitely slipped in a few references to my blog.

(A great way to score easy points with me. A harder way is to bake muffins.)

If you're curious about that quote from Thomas Jefferson, you can find it on spreddit (not as obscene as it sounds).

Alas, they edited out most of my obscenities, but most of the meat is still there. Here's the mp3.

missing alien update

Stumbled upon this incriminating evidence earlier today, it looks like our alien-nappers made their getaway in a New York taxi.

I've petitioned the reddit community for help in the past, but here's the update -- hopefully we can get our alien back safely.

detroit drankkit

Well, we learned from the Detroit redditors that most people don't actually come into downtown Detroit to meetup. Learn something new every day...

Despite that, a great group of courageous redditors came down for the free booze. Just about all of them made it into the group-pic this time; they'll forever be immortalized as a few blurry pixels on the reddit logo. (A few more photos here) It was a treat to be able to actually sit down during this event and have a long chat with folks. Thanks to all of you who braved the cold (although I guess you're used to it by now) to meet up.

(If we keep doing these meetups, I'll never need to doodle another alien logo!)

Since we had the same budget for Detroit as we did Boston, we thought it'd be prudent to "drop some Dom" on the event.

Shawn Smith snapped a pic of the decadence, so here's my chance to plug his site, New Media Bytes (you may soon find an interview there with a remarkably sober Steve and me). Hopefully we can get the folks over at Cristal jealous and make them fight over which drink will become the official crunkjuice of

Much to our dismay, Eminem did not show up.

where's reddit?

This gem was submitted in a comment about my plea to rescue our reddit alien.See if you can spot the alien. Heh. Classy, urabsurd, really classy ;-)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

canadians drankkit, like champs

Wow. There weren't nearly as many people at this Toronto meetup as there were in SF, Boston, or New York, but they certainly drank enough to make up for it.At some point during the night, I promised the guys I'd take one of the event photos and turn it into today's logo to commemorate this monumental event -- the only stop scheduled for our "world" tour.

We've gotten to meet 4 of our super-redditors (top 10 and long-timers at that) on this drankkit tour. I'd gotten the chance to meet noname99 back in NY a few months ago, but it was great introducing him to Steve. And then hearing him say how much he was looking forward to tags. Hehe.

This was the best group pic of the night, so I thought it'd be an even better logo.

Change the logo in the middle of the day? Sure. That's the kind of power I have. I had to do a bit of photoshopping to get a few heads into the frame, but you could probably already tell from the pixels.

One intrepid redditor/journalist, Jordan Yerman, even documented the event on NowPublic. Thanks, Jordan, and thanks to all of you who came out.

Everyone was quite courteous, insisting that each team reddit member drink 3 shots for every 1 shot they had. I still affirm that shots of tequila are to be taken with salt and a lime, not a lemon. That was probably the biggest dose of culture shock on the trip.

Oh yes, your beer is better than ours. Your jager-bombs are also tasty, but comparable to ours. Maybe we really should have picked up some citizenship papers.

Unfortunately, we only had a day in Toronto. We'll have to come back, but now we're on our way to Detroit. We'll see if it is indeed a rock city.

I still haven't gotten an answer for why they're called the Toronto Maple Leafs and not Leaves. Hmpf. +5,000 points to whomever can explain this one to me...

Monday, November 05, 2007

nyc reddit alien-napping remains unsolved mystery

We just landed in Toronto. There's a slight drizzle and a brisk wind. Still no sign of mounties or moose.

Or our reddit alien bobblehead (but I did already find a Tim Hortons!)

My Craigslist post and reddit blog entry still haven't truned up anything. But we're not giving up hope just yet.

We'll have to push on with drankkit, it's what the alien would have wanted.

Hope you can make it. We'll be the ones pouring 40s on the bar floor for our little futuristic homie.

Remember: if you see something, say something.

redditor builds his own sweet app or: why our users rock

Chirag Mehta, who you may remember from his fashionable victory at Mashup Camp, has created a clever tool for calculating your personal "reddit score card."

I'll stop writing about it, because you really ought to just try it for yourself. And if you think this is cool, you'd probably be impressed with some of the other stuff he's working on -- including a startup called, which I realized I've already shamelessly plugged. Oh well, this is a fun little app.

Hurry, it's racing up the hot page as I type...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

reddit new york meetup: the valleywag-fairy strikes again

For the record, Connor's digg shirt read "i digg [me]." It was the perfect attire for our New York reddit meetup.

Beer + geeks = Valleywag-bait. I guess we're doing something right.

Despite what you might have read about an 'impromptu' Q&A session, this terrible idea was advertised earlier as a chance to hurl vitriolic barbs at team reddit in real life -- just like in feedback emails. Only the problem was that despite our host's best efforts, the sound system wasn't going to suffice for a crowd as large (or as well open-bar-ified). Fortunately, we managed to get through a couple questions from our plants (congrats, Sabriya, you made it on Valleywag) and it was time to thank folks for coming out and return to taking drink orders.

I guess it turns out that not all user suggestions ought to be implemented. Like so many, this one seemed like a good idea at the time. Shit. Maybe that's because "the time" was at the last meetup and all those users had probably been drinking.

Unsolicited advice: Don't take user feedback more than 1 hour into open bar events.

Oh, and Julia Allison did show up (didn't you hear?) which was a good thing, because I was ready to Photoshop her into a picture to guarantee Gawker would have something to blog about Monday. It turns out she drives enough pageviews to be on Valleywag, too.My only complaint is that Steve's last name is Huffman, not Hoffman. Sloppy tagging makes Web 2.0 angels lose their wings.*

But twice in two weeks guys? I haven't even sent you reddit shirts.

Teasing aside, Julia was a big fan of reddit back when we were just a few guys in a Somerville apartment. And that's really cool of her. I think it was the alien (the drawing of which -- as Valleywag correctly reported -- is the only thing I do).

But we had the pleasure of meeting a bunch of the community last night, including another super-redditor -- raldi! We always try to be the first to admit that you all make reddit such a great site. This really was the least we could do. Thanks to all of you who came out (and apologies to those of you may have had to wait outside for a bit). With a population of 8M, things got pretty cramped; we're expecting a much smaller turn out in Detroit. Heh.

Details to come...

(Our poorly lit photos of the NY event are on facebook. The camera got misplaced pretty early in the night, so there aren't too many.)

*Kiwis have wings, but since they're flightless birds, they might as well not have them -- like Web 2.0 angels when someone tags sloppily. This particular kiwi is the mascot for some adorable product management software, FogBugz. I will gladly be a Fog Creek billboard.

Friday, November 02, 2007

q&a with team reddit at [today's] new york meetup

We arrived in NY a couple nights ago to a hotel where the toilets flush powerfully enough to send a softball-sized object into low earth orbit. It's kinda scary, really.

The alien costume didn't make the trip; that's really for the best. (Bonus: HowTo make your own paper-maché alien head, but not guarantee it will survive a night of drinking -- coming soon)

Tonight is our New York open bar meetup. And it has been confirmed that Julia Allison will be attending. Gawker has been notified.

Oh, and you'll want to show up by around 9pm if you want to catch the Q&A we'll be having with team reddit. Think of it as your chance to ask all those questions you've never had the nerve to write in feedback email, only this time it will be after two hours of free booze and in the middle of a crowded (hopefully) bar.

What could go wrong? Hopefully some good YouTube material will come out of all this.

boston meetup a success, paper-maché alien head destroyed

Valleywag was quite helpful mocking promoting the SF party. We hoped someone would be interested in mocking -- or at least writing about -- us in Boston as well, especially once they saw my outfit.

It just so happened that a journalist we met at CNet, Candace Lombardi, lived only a few blocks away from The Burren and our homecoming meetup. The allure of free beer was too tempting.

She arrived at the party with a camera, chatted with a few redditors, and snapped a picture of my attempt at a reddit alien costume.

The photo even made it onto the CNet blogs and somewhere the French guy who invented papier-mâché rolled over in his grave. And then surrendered. Thanks Candace, my parents were quite proud.

Admittedly, it was nice to wear a new costume instead of reusing the same Jack Sparrow outfit from our first Halloween and our second (which was a real treat).

Here are the photos on facebook. Flickr just isn't quite cool enough (and I've hit my upload limit, but don't have any incentive to pay for more space while it's free [and tag-able!] on facebook). You won't find any proof in the photos, but Randall and Davean from XKCD were indeed in attendance (in Randall and Davean costumes, respectively). We were in geek awe. No word on whether or not it will one day become a comic.

It's been great meeting redditors at the last two events (thanks for the Jager!) -- two of our all-stars, smacfarl and anonymgrl were even in attendance. Thanks to everyone for coming out, though, even those of you who couldn't tell what I was dressed as ;-)

In a symbolic gesture, we abandoned my melted and decrepit alien head on the roof of our old Davis Square apartment. I'd wanted to light it on fire like the funeral pyre in Return of the Jedi, but decided against it after someone reminded me how much that scene sucked in the remake. That, and Steve was worried the roof would catch fire.