Sunday, June 29, 2008

reddit does economics

The economics reddit community has grown quite nicely since we opened up user-generated reddits. As a result, they earned a customized reddit logo. I flashed back to my ECON 201 class at least thrice during the creation of the logo. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Supply and demand curves will probably haunt me in my sleep tonight.

Friday, June 27, 2008

technical difficulties at today, but the alien visits israel

Instead of a talk from Pierre Francois, we ended up playing a LAN game of StarCraft. Yes, I got pwnd. I really need to work on my mid-game Zerg strategy.

Hopefully Pierre will get another chance for a tech talk, but in the meantime, here are some photos of Inkling's Adam Siegel rocking his reddit gear in the Middle East.

Here he is in Israel, representin' in a state park after some cliff climbing.
And here's another reddit alien in front of a ruined Jordanian tank. Our mascot had nothing to do with that.Aside from being the co-founder of a fellow Y Combinator company, Adam's a pretty cool dude. He even let team reddit crash at his place once.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

pierre francois is back! on

After a long hiatus since his last public speaking appearance, Pierre is back to share his web 2.0 wisdom.

Come visit the office today @ 5:30 (there'll be pizza @ 5) if you're in SF or just tune in to HackerTV.

one advantage to having bizarre (and rotating) 404 messages

Sometimes people will blog about them. This was the case with AK over at MyDigitalLife.

These 404 aliens are pretty ancient relative to our site's lifespan, but I'm happy new users are discovering them (tho, that also means they've done something wrong -- or we have). I guess I'm ambivalent about it.

Anyway, here's his favorite - the sunken forehead reddit alien:

Discover them all!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

we have a winner!

With all the TechCrunch speculation surrounding our party invite, I ran a poll of my own for readers to guess our big announcement. Sure enough, someone figured it out (though, I really do just like penguins -- Tux is just one of them).

Reddit is going drink the linux cool aid and go open source, which will be free, as in beer ;)
Right on, David W. You're the winner of a limited edition reddit open source t-shirt in the size of your preference for being the first person to guess correctly (and hours before the announcement).

Here's a picture of Jeremy modeling said shirt (he's not included).

I'll also offer to replace the TechCrunch shirt a lucky TechCrunch reader won with one of our open source shirts. Just email me.

Friday, June 20, 2008

when in doubt, just ask reddit

It's a simple formula I recently used to figure out a custom logo to give the comics community. I had no idea what to doodle and thought Bill Watterson deserves better than a modest alien homage. This is something I've been doing for redditor-created communities that have taken off.

Fortunately, the comics community had plenty of ideas. I ultimately went with a comic panel look suggested by irrelevantnotch.

Oh yes, that's "fightin' Splashy" in there.

redditors do some alien doodling of their own

Thanks to qgyh2 for pushing this my way.

A redditor named (I'm not making this up) JewStyleKungfu submitted a link to a reddit alien modeled in Blender.

Not to be outdone, Manthrax submitted his own:

My amateurish stop-motion video starring the alien peaked over 10K views on YouTube, yet I feel the next one I do should be using Blender. Watch out, Pixar.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

open sourcing reddit, as explained by the alien

Haven't heard yet? reddit is now open source.

I was asked to create some kind of video starring the alien to explain the announcement. Not that I have any experience in video production. Stop motion was harder than expected thanks to having a bobblehead instead of an action figure. Nonetheless, I'm still pretty happy with it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

what's techcrunch so curious about? i love penguins

This has been well documented over my last three years of blogging. Nonetheless, check out the TechCrunch coverage our party invite got.

Like I commented, I believe I should have included a breadpig -- that would have really confused people.

Since TechCrunch is offering a shirt for whomever guesses correctly, I thought I'd match the deal on my blog and give one of the shirts we've made in honor of tomorrow's event.

i love it when reddit is the source of apple gossip

Lookie, ZDNet sources reddit in a recent blog entry about Snow Leopard -- I'm not going to send a takedown notice, though....

Meanwhile, reader Mythic on Reddit last week said he had interviewed at the Apple team working on Open Computing Language. He offered more information on the scope of Apple’s work:

I think it’s more than that. I interviewed with Apple’s GPGPU group (they do have several people working full time on this stuff) a few months ago and got the impression that OpenCL is intended to abstract over a variety of cards and computing platforms. So you could write your program once in OpenCL and be able to run it on an ATI card, an NVIDIA card, or just your multi-core CPU. More interestingly, you could run it in tandem on your GPU and CPU with some sort of adaptive load-balancing performed automatically. I have no idea how much of this actually made it into Snow Leopard, but it’s a cool idea.

clips from yourweek (reddit-powered tv news) are online

re-posted from dev blog

I'm pleased to report that the long-awaited Internet release for the pilot of YourWeek is now upon us.

Watch it now (more segments will be uploaded throughout the day).

Now, we were a bit handicapped in putting this together, because we couldn't properly notify the community of a television news show that didn't exist yet, but producers were able to find popular stories from the reddit corpus to report on. If YourWeek gets picked up, we're expecting every week's show to be shaped by your feedback on what you think matters.

The five of us know remarkably little about television production; we're incredibly grateful to all the folks at PBS for bringing this concept to fruition. Hopefully there'll he more reddit-powered television in our future.

in san francisco this wednesday night? reddit has an announcement to make (with free booze!)

Come join us this Wednesday, June 18th, from 6:30 to 8:30pm at Swig (561 Geary St) in downtown San Francisco.

There'll be plenty of beer, miniature hamburgers, and something else even more intoxicating and delicious...

Please remember to RSVP by emailing

Monday, June 16, 2008

even if spore never gets released, at least reddit aliens have already been created

I'm not the only one looking forward to Spore's release (and also still somewhat skeptical that it'll ever happen), but I've yet to create my own version of the reddit alien. Fortunately, some enterprising redditors went ahead and did just that with the Spore Creature Creator.

But it turned out p337 had already made a Spore-version of the reddit alien, which happened to also be my favorite.

And thus it was immortalized in today's reddit logo:

Friday, June 13, 2008

flashback to a startup school presentation i gave back in 07

Kevin Hale of Wufoo (the form of choice for FeedbackFail) just published a slightly belated write-up of a presentation I gave back at Startup School 07. OK, so it's more than slightly belated, but I'll take it!

Read the article, check out the slides, or listen to the audio -- or do all three at the same time.

Thanks for the great review, Kevin. I must admit that I've been asked more than a few times since to give that presentation: The [Abridged] Story of (Or, how to build a popular website without ever being on TechCrunch.) But I think you've nailed the crux of it:
I think that if you’re not careful and that if you’re doing this solely for the money, that you’ll easily lose one of the few motivations that sustains anyone through anything difficult : love. [...] Don’t take yourself so seriously. A startup can and should be fun. It doesn’t have to be a 24/7 party in your pants fun, but you should at least be smiling a lot.
Great. Now no one is going to want to hear my presentation anymore ;)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

digg is developing their own /recommended page

The Guardian's Zoe Margolis tracked down Kevin Rose before a Diggnation meetup for a quick interview. In it, he reveals some interesting work digg is doing for their next release:

We're creating algorithms that take a look at what you've dug and compare it to other people, inside the system, in real time. We have this working on our staging servers right now - it's not something that we've launched publicly - but essentially, when you Digg an item you're agreeing with that item and all those other people who dug it. So let's say you're Digg number 4,000 on something: who are those other 3,999 people you agreed with? What we're doing with the math behind the scenes is we're saying 'OK, you agree with all these other people, what else are they finding out there that you might like? That you might also find interesting? So we're working on ways to surface those stories - to find quality content before it becomes popular - but also introduce you to new people based on what you've been Digging."
We've been tweaking our recommendations page for over the last two years and come to realize that serving real-time accurate recommendations is not a trivial task, so I'm quite curious to see what KR and co. have come up with.

Granted, their development team is more than an order of magnitude larger than ours -- they've got the brain quantity to pull off something cool.

reddit aliens sighted all over web 2.0 expo

Taylor McKnight (Sched) and Anthony Volodkin (The Hype Machine) Aaron Avery (IMarketServices) snapped this collection of photos featuring reddit alien bobbleheads all over the recent San Francisco event. I have yet to go to a Web 2.0 expo, so perhaps I should be feeling jealous of our mascot, yet I'm not...

OK, maybe just a little jealous.

The alien does love to get its drink on. And play Rock Band.

View the rest of the collection.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

redditors take their votes seriously

I love seeing messages like this. Here's a roomie who really cares:

Dearest Ben,

I’m sorry I clicked arrows on without switching over to my account. I hope that your reccomendations aren’t negatively affected as a result of my aarow-clicking.


Your roomie.
Oh, and apparently we're one half of the equation to end the world. Funny, I always thought the other half was nuclear war.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

you're curious about yourweek, are ya?

Unless you're in a focus group or a public television exec, you haven't seen it yet. Don't fret, we haven't either. but we're hoping the pilot goes online by the end of this week.

Current not to be confused with the Al Gore project, wrote a nice piece on Your Week. And it even has this nifty synopsis:

But the producers aim to court both core and new viewers by spiking intelligent and even-handed, if occasionally counterintuitive, public-affairs features with humor and pointed commentary, perhaps bridging the gap between the NewsHour and, say, The Daily Show.

The pilot, for example, includes a straightforward report on efforts to increase voter turnout among Latinos in California and a lighter news story on why Toyota Priuses might be harder on the environment than Hummers — featuring Cottle, a Prius owner. A feature on the latest version of the hyperviolent video game Grand Theft Auto includes an interview with a Newsweek tech writer and plenty of green-screened carnage.

The show closes with an extended riff by the acerbic Christopher Hitchens, who gives a colorfully contemptuous take on the presidential candidates and their spouses.

The strong opinions and humor are meant to mirror those traits that thrive online; indeed, the format of the entire show, from its modular two- to four-minute reports to its web-influenced video windows and graphics, such as interspersed “loading” clock animations, is designed to signal its hybrid nature.

new from breadpig: feedback fail - scouring the dregs of the internet for the best feedback emails ever written

If you've run a website for any period of time (and dared to include a feedback email link/address somewhere on your site) then you know what I'm talking about.

While the majority of your feedback will be tasteful and normal, every now and then you'll get something that makes you either laugh or cringe, shudder, and curl up into a fetal position. FeedbackFail is a blog to collect the best of these from website owners all over the web. Take a look, vote on a few submissions, and don't hesitate to submit your own (hell, it's free advertising if it gets selected, right?)

This is the latest of my breadpig projects and the only one that aspires to be full of fail.

I've already gotten some good feedback on the mascot. Shirts to come...

just picked up my copy of world of world of warcraft

Thank you, reddit. And thank you ONN -- America's finest news network.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

an interview with tivate, with penguin-based inspiration!

I took an unacceptably long amount of time to get back to Justin Hernandez of tivate with my A to his Q, but our email convo is now online. (Even despite my tardiness, he generously offered me beer on my next trip to Hawaii!) Apparently there's an alien social revolution going on.

Hmm, I guess I had it coming. When you're done finding inspiration from a penguin, the Rob Malda interview is certainly worth a look.

yourweek.reddit got a new look and is fielding questions, it is -your week- after all

Erik [hueypriest] is fielding questions about YourWeek on the newly redesigned YourWeek.reddit. With the pilot hitting the Internet tomorrow, it seemed like a good time to assemble an FAQ and explain the show we hope will get picked up and become a part of your weekly viewing routine.

Here's a sample, but read the rest and submit your own:
toxicvarn90 asks:
How do you balance the type of submissions posted each weak?

Will you use stuff from the main front page?

Oh and what software will you guys use to edit?
hueypriest responds:
For the pilot we achieved a perfect balance of stories using a proprietary mix of Ant Colony Optimization and Josephson's voltage gauge modeling. It might be a bit different if we were doing a show every week.

On any given week, we might have stuff from the front page, some deep cuts, and even some stuff that may not have directly been submitted to reddit (if such things exist). No hard rules, except that we want to do smart stories that haven't been done elsewhere and redditors make that possible.

I believe the editors at WETA are using both Avid Xpress and Final Cut Pro.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

the story of the lost alien bobblehead in ny is revealed -- let's talk full-length feature, disney

It took me a pathetically long amount of time to finally get this online, but I'd lost track of the email. Tim, known on reddit as hellotim doodled this strip shortly after the Toronto drankkit event.

This is my chance to belatedly praise him and point you to his blog. Fortunately, we did in fact reunite with the lost bobblehead and then were joined by hundreds of its clones (which are still for sale).

If Disney does come calling, Tim, I'm not going to let them manhandle the alien -- we'll make sure this is a Pixar project. And we'll need a creative director*...

*I don't actually know what one does, but it sounds like something that'd be right up your alley.

Monday, June 02, 2008

just five days until yourweek is released...

They're busy in the editing room wrapping up the pilot of YourWeek. I joined the production team over the Memorial Day weekend in the D.C. studio as they taped and watched a television show being born.

Whereas I just sat behind my laptop, the crew was in a seemingly constant state of motion -- cameras getting moved, adjusted, teleprompters scrolling with text, different takes from different angles, make-up -- I had no idea how much work goes into a thirty minute show. The set is spartan: table, chairs, two coffee mugs for our two hosts, Rich Lowry and Michelle Cottle. Behind them is a set of three massive green screens. And what better use for those three mammoths than to play GTA 4 on them?

Thankfully, no one flipped out during the taping.