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"Steve Newhouse, the chairman of Advance.net, decided very early on that his company would not be the blob that ate Reddit, and for the most part, left well enough alone. “We had some ideas about what would be good, but it might not have worked,” Mr. Newhouse said. “We paid attention to the community instead.”"

I may be remembering stuff wrong, but wasn't there more tension + conflict during the period right after the acquisition? Didn't Reddit struggle to pay for basic infrastructure stuff due to their new parent company's skepticism about its viability and perception of its value?


And it was a long while until it got spun out. (http://venturebeat.com/2011/09/06/reddit-break-conde-nast/)

Not that there's anything crazy in any of this. Just that the NYT story paints it like right away they 1) knew Reddit's worth and 2) knew to have a hands-off approach.

I'm far from a Reddit power user, happy to hear other perspectives.

Conde rightly gloats about how, during The Sarah Chubb Years, they were hands-off about meddling with reddit as a site, but they're eliding over how, during that same time, they were extremely hands-on about preventing us from hiring people or buying decent computer hardware.

That should be very frustrating. Were you tempted to break with Conde and start again or some sort or change on your agreement with them?

My "change on my agreement with them" was to quit.

Including myself, three of the four reddit programmers came to that conclusion within the same six month period. (Props to spladug for keeping the flame alive!)

This may have been a good thing. Digg didn't have any constraints on buying new hardware and hiring new people, and we can see how that ended (they bought too much, hired too many people, and collapsed)!

We weren't asking for unlimited hardware and headcount. We would have been thrilled with a rule that every time traffic doubles, we get to hire one person.

As for hardware, all we wanted was a team printer that didn't jam, an SSD for ketralnis's workstation, and the right for our engineers to substitute an equal-cost laptop of their choice for the IT-approved MacBook.

Digg didn't collapse because of hardware or headcount...they collapsed because they trashed their product with unnecessary changes and pissed off their user base

Sure, the fact that they had a huge headcount, meant that they had to take more risk to try to monetize...but the nail in their coffin wasn't cost...but loss of traffic

Keep in mind this is one of dozens of "internet" companies Steve owns depending on where you draw the lines in the greater Newhouse ecosystem (see: http://advance.net and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance_Publications).

He's also pushing a $500M portfolio into every new-media-investing VC fund he can find: http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/advances-ma-...

So the fact that reddit got ignored for a few years, both to its detriment (having to beg for money) and to its benefit (not getting eaten/squished) is mostly just a byproduct of advance/newhouse's "buy all the things, figure out what to do with them later" strategy.

I remember before Reddit was moved to an independent subsidiary, there were tension between Conde and Reddit on how to increase the revenue or profit (were they ever profitable?) At one time, the site was crashing frequently due to lack of infrastructure capacity. They were forced to try different things to make money, like Reddit Golds, ad placement, etc.

I think Conde had realized later on that Reddit can become like Craigslist where while it won't be squeezed every ad dollar out of it but it will become enormously profitable and prominent in the web.

I'm a Reddit frequent user...I can't comment specifically on your assertions...just that it continues to amaze me how the site has remained as free from pervasive chiclets, (official) spam, and Digg-like networking...

Whether this was a deliberate plan or the byproduct of executive apathy, it's still quite amazing

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