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I realize that this sounds non-credible (and it's certainly one of the craziest professional things I've ever been a part of), but it's actually what happened.

Yishan wanted to move the office from SF to Daly City. The board pushed back but said we'd agree to it with certain data (we wanted Yishan to figure out how many employees would stay with the company through the move, get a comparison to other market rents, etc.--all questions I think a board should ask when thinking through a major commitment).

This is certainly not what I was expecting to be dealing with so quickly after investing in reddit, but we'll make the best of it.




Ellen Pao. Harvard Law, Harvard MBA, time at Cravath (very, very fancy law firm) and partner at Kleiner (which I imagine most of us know) is now to be the head of Reddit?

I am a firm believer that most media out there is not extracting enough value from their audience, or "under-monetizing", to use a ridiculous term. However, Reddit truly is different. I simply can't imagine someone with Ellen's professional upbringing will be the one who figures out how to retain the spirit, activity, and engagement of Reddit, while satisfying that 10x, $500mm valuation.

This ain't sexist, this is anti-elitist.Cutting and pasting monetization templates from other media properties, and building projected revenue models off of traffic numbers just can't work here. It's not Buzzfeed or Business Insider.

I was suspect when Erik Martin left (had the pleasure of meeting him in NYC, he lived and breathed what makes Reddit wonderful), and this really seems to solidify what I guess should've been pretty obvious.

I genuinely hope Ms. Pao holds things together, and the return of Alexis helps things out. The more I've learned, it seems Alexis was already gone by the time Reddit really took off and has been writing and speaking ever since. Curious how his operational prowess shows through the new chairmanship role.

Rant done. We're praying for you Reddit.


Ellen has the operation prowess, analytical mind, and a ton of other skills that have been the reason she's been so successful at reddit so far. Remember: reddit is not a media company, it is a platform for communities -- thousands of them -- to share and we have a team in place that is going to turn this into a network of a billion people, worldwide.

reddit has doubled in traffic literally every year since Steve & I launched it. Granted, it was smaller in 2010 when we left, but I've been an advisor since (and gotten up to a few other things since - like helping Steve launch hipmunk and investing/advising in a 100 or so startups) but the core reddit product is for better/worse still the same as it was when we left.

I'm excited to work with Ellen, Dan, and the entire reddit team to develop reddit with the vision Steve & I had in creating it, but with the benefit of 10 years of experience & learning from it.


Ellen was also an EE major as an undergrad (at Princeton, which is known for its hard sciences, IAS et al...), a partner at a firm that has invested into many other consumer audience startups (i.e., I'd think she knows very well the difference between a site like Reddit and BI), and a reddit user prior to her role at reddit.

Finally, why should we hold a law degree someone has obtained 20 years ago against them? (Fwiw, this is a background quite similar to Peter Thiel: years in "the elite", until finding a better home).


> Ellen Pao will be stepping up to be interim CEO

> Alexis Ohanian, who cofounded reddit nine and a half years ago, is returning as full-time executive chairman (he will transition to a part-time partner role at Y Combinator)

> There is a long history of founders returning to companies and doing great things.

I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about Ellen Pao leading reddit in the long term.

Also from today's reddit blog post[0] by Alexis

> Instead, I joined the board and have done everything I can to not be a helicopter parent, but rather support reddit and all the amazing people who make it work as best I can. But reddit is and will always be my baby


Alexis wants Pao as the permanent CEO, but the next few months are a testing ground for her.

Edit: Source: http://fortune.com/2014/11/13/reddits-new-ceo-may-not-be-int...


Given her background, I think it will be Pao as a very operations focused CEO and Alexis as a fairly involved Executive Chairman focused on guiding culture and general direction.

It could work out very well for Reddit.


Thanks for your rant.

I am hopeful for Reddit's future because of its community.

I've been using Reddit for over 8 years, through many transitions, and I still go to it everyday to read and interact with many friends I've met there.

I believe that everyone currently working on Reddit knows why it's great, and is interested in making it even better.

I believe in Reddit's team, and I believe in Reddit.


She's been involved in Reddit for some time (at least a year before they hired her in early 2013) as second in command, I think she can handle it.


I think if you check how active u/kn0thing is on the reddit thread about this, you might feel a bit better. Although u/ekjp is rather less active there, so it should be interesting to say the least.

https://www.reddit.com/r/blog/comments/2m7pf5/coming_home/

Of course time will tell. Reddit is full of great little communities (and some really messed up ones). Let's hope they can keep things good for the users and not do a digg.


Trust me, "pulling a digg" is the last thing I want to do. I have a copy of that infamous Businessweek cover in my apt.

http://thedrilldown.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/kevin-ros...


I don't want it to sound like you are being dishonest about this, and it's possible there were things going on in Yishan's head that you were not aware of, but "a new team at reddit" in 8 days makes it a bit hard to believe this came completely out of nowhere.


Any credible board will have a succession plan in place, ready to trigger if the CEO resigns/has to be fired/gets hit by a bus.


That's called contingency planning. After getting an investment of $50M I'm pretty sure they did their homework on this and having the CEO resign simply triggered a series of pre-defined steps. You don't get that kind of investment without having at least the basics in place. (Or at least, you shouldn't...).


It's not really a 'new' team, though, it's people who were already very close to Reddit.


It has been a very busy 8 days.


i too doubt this was the only thing that suddenly made him resign. there has to be more that went on behind the scene that even altman is not talking about...


That doesn't make any sense. What would such a short timeline imply, besides that it came out of nowhere?


Also, what people say and what they do are not always equal.


October 1: Yishan wants all employees to move to San Francisco.

Early November: "jk, we're moving to Daly City."

Even though Daly City is a BART away, the fact that this decision happened in 1 month is absurd.


Moving an office like this scenario and timeline can and in most cases, does cause tectonic shift in the company's dynamic. There's a ripple effect through far reaching aspects of the employees lives that effect there work.

On another note- Office location can be the most personal aspect of business to an exec processing the decision. A territorial undercurrent is in play.


In my experience you always loose employees when moving offices. It's a really weird feeling just after the move and takes a while to get back into the grove.


Last place I worked, we moved just a few blocks away, from a really, really awful crappy warehouse in Sunnyvale to a pretty spiffy new facility also in Sunnyvale. I don't think we lost anyone due to that move. So, lesson is to make sure your new office is awesome and not that geographically far from your old one?


Sunnyvale is a bit of a different story because I assume everyone is driving to an office in Sunnyvale, at least the last mile, so you can move a mile and not impact anyone that much.

Up in SF, moving the office one mile can add 30 minutes to some people's daily commutes each way.


Absolutely. If lots of reddit's employees are living in the East Bay (feasible since the office is in Soma), a company move to Daly City would make their commute an absolute nightmare. A normal BART ride would turn into a reallllly long BART ride (if the office is anywhere near the station) or a soulcrushing commute over the bridge. I commuted from the Sunset District (essentially Daly City) to Oakland for a year and it was horrendous.

Meanwhile, moving from one office to another within Sunnyvale won't change much considering there are many ways to get in and out of there.


Not geographically far can limit you to a tiny distance if you have commuters on caltrain, bart, and muni. Lots of people scoff at the change going from a 5 minute walk from the transportation depot to a 15 minute walk makes, but that made me leave a company. Of course, virtually nobody doing that walk fails to understand, but execs drive.


I mean, moving a few blocks isn't that material in terms of people's commutes (and implied relative power/importance/influence).

Moving from one city to another can be highly disruptive.


riverbed?


My last company was the first place I've worked that moved offices while I was there, and we definitely experienced a 'weird feeling' and we lost a bunch of people. Everything just felt off after the move, even though things went smoothly, and our new space was objectively much nicer (upgraded from thoroughly class C space to a nice class A building).

I was trying to stick it out and wait for the culture and mood (which had been fantastic beforehand) to get back in the groove, but our best people started to leave one by one, then one of the founders of my current company reached out to me personally, and it was too hard to pass up.


The key element in moving offices is buy-in. It affects everybody. If you treat your employees like they're part of the furniture during the planning phase then you're going to have exactly the effect you describe. Not saying that was the case but I would not be surprised if it was.


At my old company, as the lease at our slightly too small and horribly boring office park was set to renew, moving was floated.

Everyone in the office was immediately for it. However, the CEO and a few other key employees were thinking further out in the southeastern suburbs, and everyone else assumed that meant into the city, centrally located, with cheaper rents.

We ended up staying in the office park that no one really liked.


However, the CEO and a few other key employees were thinking further out in the southeastern suburbs

A company I worked at in the 90s moved their office from downtown Chicago to the suburbs, seemingly so the executives would have a shorter commute. As a consulting firm, most of the employees were younger, didn't have families, and lived in the city and so ended up leaving the company when their commute changed. They also had trouble recruiting because of the new location. Having the only office in the suburbs didn't last long and they had to re-open a downtown office.


Last company I've worked in moved headquarters 6,500 km. Most of the business-critical employees and developers moved with it.

All this drama about relocating office a couple subway stops seems ridiculous.


Daly City is a world away from 520 3rd. There is nothing of any kind worth mentioning in Daly City. There is culture, entertainment, education, recreation, and all the benefits of real city life steps away from Reddit's current office. In addition the building at 520 3rd has a tradition of housing famous Internet companies.


and, more importantly, bart is only convenient in a very narrow corridor of sf, so this could be turning 15-25 minute commutes into hour plus commutes, spanning two transport systems in sf. A recipe to make your employees hate it.


As someone completely unaffiliated with San Francisco, all of this honestly just makes the employees sound like primadonnas. While it may be cool to be "steps away" from that stuff you listed (and I doubt you're being fair to Daly City), it certainly shouldn't make or break a job that you're otherwise happy with.

I understand the argument about exacerbating commutes (even though it sounds crazy for a short-distance move) but I think this one is quite weak.


I'm shocked that you value your free time so low.

Let's do the math.

There are 24 hours in a day. You should be sleeping for ~8 of those leaving 16. Assuming you are supposed to be at the office for 8 hours (pipe dream, but let's just go for it) that leaves 8 hours of time for other stuff. If you previously had a great 15-30 minute commute then you would have 7 hours of free time to work on side projects and do things you want to do. That would be a pretty sweet normal life. Adding an extra hour to the commute cuts your free time down by ~30%. That is a big deal.

I also find it very helpful to include any time spent commuting as "working time" when considering where to work. You should also consider the increased cost to commute from a more like this. An extra hour of driving 5 days/week represents a non-trivial amount of money. So the salary needs to compensate, or the time at the office needs to go down.

No matter how you look at this, a move like this is asking all of the employees on the short end of the stick to effectively take home less money (not exactly a pay cut, but the end result is the same).

Edit: oh and I'm not from SF, I live in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. This has nothing to do with SF.


SF has <500K actual residents.

The bay area has something like 15 million people.

Do the math.

One either has a shitty rent/house payment or a shitty commute.


> SF has <500K actual residents.

2013 US Census estimate is 837,442, which is considerably more than 500,000. [1]

> The bay area has something like 15 million people.

The 9-county Bay Area has approximately 7.1 million people as of 2010. [2]

[1] http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/06075.html

[2] http://www.bayareacensus.ca.gov/bayarea.htm


Thanks! So lets say there is ~8-9x in the metro for every 1x in the city.

NYC by comparison has ~2.5x in the metro for every 1x in the City.[1]

__________

[1] 19.9 million vs 8.4 million.


BART is not your conventional subway, and the 'couple stops' are a lot further than usual.


It was never a "jk, Daly City." From the initial announcement it was mentioned that they were considering options a little south of SF proper.


I am reminded of a HBR study showing headquarters of major firms all tended to move closer to the home of the CEO even if that impacted retention - will have to find the reference.

As a side note, how is reddit on "asynchronous working" (if that's what remote working is called these days). How would the board have felt about the move if Reddit was more ready for being location-agnostic?

Edit: it seems I misunderstood your comment (and probably the geography of SF.) So if I understand it Reddit already was remote-friendly but both CEO and board wanted to have everyone in same office (which office being the point of contention). May I ask why you were going the "unusual" route of from remote to centralised - is Melissa Mayer right?

Edit: William Whyte in collected articles (Exoding Metropolis). Noted downthread as in a Joel Spolsky article. I am always late to the party :-)

Cf http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=EsvEFIamv3oC&pg=PA38&lpg=...


I am reminded of a HBR study showing headquarters of major firms all tended to move closer to the home of the CEO even if that impacted retention - will have to find the reference.

I am reminded of Motorola (oh, how the mighty have fallen) years ago, when they decided to open up manufacturing plants in Libertyville and Harvard IL.

What were the deciding criteria?

Communities with good amenities (parks, schools, etc.)? Nope, middle of farm-ville Illinois. Nothing wrong with that, I'm from a small town.

Good access to existing talent? Nope. Far away from Chicago and the other tech employers in the region.

Easy access to transportation (planes, trains, automobiles)? Nope. Way off the highways.

Close proximity to the CEO's house? Yup.


Well paul graham did say "You could parachute [Sam] into an island full of cannibals and come back in 5 years and he'd be the king."


Were there other decisions by Yishan that you pushed back on? How many? Possible he felt that he did not have enough influence as CEO, not enough confidence from the board and couldn't run the company as he desired.


Yishan was likely fired or strongly recommended to resign. And we are all being polite about it for Yishan's sake and to maintain positive community around reddit. We will forget about this probably by tomorrow.


I see a lot of negativity on this topic, but I for one am extremely excited about Alexis returning to Reddit in a more substantial way. I've been on Hacker New for a while (with different accounts) but have only recently started to use Reddit. Alexis is one of the most inspiring guys I've met ... lets just say I am a big fan. So, I'm really happy about this.


Me too, and it'll be interesting to see if/how he deals with what's become of his baby, once a democracy but now a "failed state ruled by warlords". He doesn't strike me as someone who'll turn a blind eye to the mod problems like the outgoing guy did.


Daly City is 9.7 miles from the reddit office, for all practical purposes it sounds like Yishan wanted to just move offices in the same city; the Daly City part doesn't seem like it's important. Or am I missing something?


San Francisco attracts startups and talent because it's a cool, fun, sexy place to live. Bright young talent demands those sorts of conditions.

Daly City is a suburban hellhole. If “cities” like Daly were desirable places to live, Provo, Utah and Tacoma, WA would be IT meccas.

The traffic in that region guarantees an ungodly commute by car for anyone who wanted to stay in SF and drive to Daly for work (1 hour commute = $40k in pay worth in happiness http://www.npr.org/2011/10/19/141514467/small-changes-can-he...). The public transportation is… lacking.

I can’t speak for Yishan’s motivations, but if I were on the board, I would push for his replacement simply due to the talent attrition that would inevitably occur if he got his way.


It's expensive. Difficult for commuters, even if you live in the city, just to get around. It's style over substance, and it attracts brogrammers, not "bright young talent", which can exist anywhere.

The guy grew the company 5x. I don't think attrition is the issue.

I assume he left because it wasn't his company anymore, it was run by the board. If the board can override his will as CEO and accept losing the CEO over office location, that by default means the board did not really value him. I would expect that hurts. Some things you can't prove with data, these are subjective decisions that fall into the realm of a CEO's responsibilities to look out for his team. It wouldn't be so far fetched to believe that Yishan felt that the board did not allow / trust him to do his job.

It's almost certainly not really just about office location.


"cool, fun, sexy"? It's a disgusting place with a corrupted government and 40 years old development policy and an even older infrastructure. Fun, sexy? How about not being able to find a single coffee shop open after 9:30PM on a freaking Saturday near Market St?

Any real world class metropolis like Hongkong, Shanghai, Tokyo or New York would blow SF out of the water in the "cool, fun, sexy" department.


I happen to agree with everything you just said, but by American standards, it’s… well it’s in the top ten, I guess.

Compare Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, or New York City to Daly City and then tell me where San Francisco falls on the scale.


I moved to SF from my college town of Springfield, Missouri. It's a town of 150k people surrounding by the rural Ozarks. Obviously, there's nowhere near as much art, music, comedy or "culture" as in SF, but it's immensely easier to get around, and much more convenient to do normal errands like buying groceries, household items, etc. And don't even dare compare rental and home prices. I certainly won't claim Springfield is a "better city," and I don't know exactly what criteria you have in mind, but for day to day life it's far more convenient.


This is what people overlook when they trash the Midwest or "flyover country". I guess they may think it's cool to ostracize people who live in "Provo, UT" (which is nice, by the way) because they don't go to enough art festivals, but the business of day-to-day living is much less complicated in those places. If you just want to raise a family and go do simple recreational things together, your life will be immensely bettered by not living in a high-population urban district; you'll have a lot more money and a lot less headache. Image-obsessed twenty-somethings, like the ones often employed by tech startups, may think it's cool to ostracize suburbia and ignorantly claim that no one with "real talent" will want to live there, but most of them will be singing a different tune as they enter their 30s and try to live an actually significant life.


Market street is not a very vibrant part of the city. Nevertheless:

http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=coffee&find_loc=San+Fra...


SF cool, fun, sexy? Have you ever been there? I found it dirty, scary, and smelly.


Yeah, that sounds like a better description of my 3.5 years here. Of course, don't tell any of the SF-lovers exactly where you live, because they'll just blame your experience on you not living at exactly the right block. Live in Soma? Oh, that place has no night life. Live in the Mission? Oh, you're too close to the BART station. Live in the avenues? Too far away from the city center. And so on.


Well, it's a city a lot of people like but certainly those adjectives could be applied to just about any good-size city--and it's why a lot of people also don't really like cities period. I'd add that, if your experience with SF is going to a show at the Moscone or elsewhere nearby, that general area (Market, Tenderloin, etc.) is definitely less nice than much of the rest of the city. But it's also fair that SF, for a variety of reasons, also has more street people of various sorts than most cities do.


Honestly I loathe the place. Not for any of the reasons you just listed. (“scary”? SF??)


I was born in New York City, grew up in L.A., started a company in SF, and live in Chicago, but the only place I've ever been held up at gunpoint was in San Francisco at 4th and Mission.


You got stuck up in front of Denny's?


That sounds like bad luck. Within San Francisco, 4th and Mission seems like one of the less likely places to be held up at gunpoint since it's so busy.


I mean you were on Mission street. I raise an eyebrow to the "loathsome gentrification" stories that pop up pretty regularly.


What are your reasons, out of curiosity? I'm a reasonably-sized guy, so I rarely feel personally scared, but I don't have to look far to see some really sketchy situations.


"dirty, scary, and smelly"...Have you ever been to the East Coast? I would say SF is on par as far as dirty and smelly goes. Scary? I think it's pretty underwhelming but I come from NYC/Philly/Baltimore area so that might bias my viewpoint.


That's what makes it cool, fun and sexy.


So is every world-class city.


And yet plenty of "bright young talent" seems to do just fine in the rest of SV. "Demands" is overstating it a bit.


One could say the same thing about the mandate to move to SF or lose your job. Not everyone wants to live in the city. You might call suburbia a hellhole, but some of us see the city that way, particularly given its cost of living.


"Suburban hellhole?" It's important to realize that many people hate cities, and would much rather live in suburbs. Why are there so many huge suburban areas around (most) large cities in the US?


You have to contextualize those demographic moves.

The post-war American suburban drive was in large part driven by economics and policy. Mortgage subsidization from the 30s with the Home Owners' Loan Corporation and the GI Bill in the 50s made loans available to mass consumers, while the HOLC's discriminatory redlining policy and the deindustrializing of cities (driven chiefly by lowered shipping costs) caused dense urban areas to become less desirable.

Mixed in with this you also had suburban-oriented urban planning (lots of highways, little public transit investment), brand new car driving infrastructure, low energy costs, lots of cheap land to expand to and in the 70s and 80s rising urban crime.

If you were looking to live somewhere, you had lots of incentives to prefer the suburbs. Today, most of these trends (energy cost, crime, job markets) have changed course.


I think the conflict is more cultural than people realize: an office in Daly City is tremendously easier to reach and if you're coming from South Bay -- essentially you exit the freeway and park.

On the other hand, getting to a point in SF from the freeway and parking usually takes at least 30 minutes (in addition to the 30+50 minute drive from the starting point in the South Bay or Peninsula). SOMA area is reachable by Caltrain, but Caltrain is unreliable, doesn't run as frequently nor is SOMA the only place where people have offices (and walking to further reaches of SOMA, or the area of Market, or FiDi is an often dangerous - especially at night - 20-30 minute walk).

Daly City is reachable from SF by BART, but that supposes you live near a BART station in SF and the Daly City office itself is close either the Daly City or Colma BART station. In general I'd say it's easier for an SF resident to get to certain parts of Daly City (those accessible by part or by San Mateo county buses running from SF are easy if you live near BART) than it is from someone in South Bay to get to SF. Driving is very easy if you live near 280/35/19th Avenue -- getting to Daly City from Mission especially is not particularly difficult).

That brings the cultural issue: different people prefer to live in SF vs. South Bay or Peninsula (some live in one place whereas they'd prefer to live elsewhere, of course). To hugely (but completely meaninglessly) over-generalize you can imagine the Peninsula as the OSI stack: physical and network layers are further south, middle-ware is in the Peninsula (Oracle in Redwood City), and presentation (end-user applications like AirBnb) are in SF (again, this is only loosely so: there are web app startups in South Bay and there are systems and middle-ware companies in SF). Intuitively it makes sense: I can't imagine starting a Foursquare in San Jose (there isn't a critical mass of people -- not all of them geeks -- cloistered around any given landmark to gain sufficient traction).

In many types of companies, you want both: which is why companies always seek to locate in either transit accessible parts of South Bay/Peninsula (Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Mateo downtown areas), run buses, locate in SoMa, or have multiple offices (this sounds like a "no-go" for Reddit, but Square, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, and my own employer -- Cloudera -- all do this). Yet, if a company has a very strong SF-oriented identity (at least for its Bay Area office), a compromise location (especially if the compromise isn't just an SF office near 4th and King) could definitely upsetting existing employees who might also feel that they are no longer as valid as potential new employee the company wants to hire from South Bay.


> Intuitively it makes sense: I can't imagine starting a Foursquare in San Jose (there isn't a critical mass of people -- not all of them geeks -- cloistered around any given landmark to gain sufficient traction).

It's not uncommon for a startup's initial userbase to be geographically far removed from the company's headquarters. Facebook's was in the Ivy & NESCAC colleges in New England even after the company moved to Palo Alto. AirBnB's was in NYC. Twitter, I've heard, took off in Austin after SxSW. Orkut got Brazil despite originating in Mountain View. WhatsApp first took off in the Ukraine and then India, also despite being based in Mountain View.

I don't know why this is - intuitively, I'd expect it to be where the founders are, because that's who they can directly talk to. But the data doesn't seem to bear that out. Maybe it's because of random chance - if you model a successful startup as a cluster of users who happen to have an unfulfilled need and an entrepreneur who happens to stumble upon the solution to that unfulfilled need, then it makes sense that many initial userbases will be geographically separated from the company simply because there are more people far away from you than people close to you.


Plus many folks in sf don't have cars, prefer not to drive, and want to avoid paying $1k/mo for a car (parking in mission is often $350/mo; insurance at $60; gas + note).


Yes: this is one key point, avoiding car ownership (and making do with zipcar et al for weekend trips) is pretty much the only way to make SF affordable.

(Background: I'm deep in South Bay, but that's taste and preference not an absolute view I want to impose on others).


I commuted on Caltrain for 5 years and found too reliable!


Let me put it this way: I found Caltrain to be reliable on average, but the 75th percentile to be terrible. Major delays are going to happen multiple times a month.


s/but completely meaninglessly/but _NOT_ completely meaninglessly/

oops.


9.7 in San Francisco miles is a long commute.


I've never lived/worked in SF, but I had pretty much the same thought. Living in NYC, 9.7 miles is an almost unfathomable distance.


When Citibank built the tower in LIC, I'm sure there were people that weren't happy, but I doubt they lost many employees. That's about 7 miles driving distance from wall street.


Also strongly depends if "Daly City" was "Daly City three minutes walk from BART" or "Daly City in an office park by a freeway somewhere"


Which is practically all of Daly City.


with a highly competitive job market, especially where many of the people in a city with poor public transit do not have cars, 9.7 miles is annoying enough to cause people to choose somewhere else to work.


When I lived in the East Bay, it would be really hard to accept a move to Daly City (from downtown SF), because it's another 20 min each way. And East Bay BART riders wouldn't even have to change trains! For CalTrain riders, it's a doubling of the commute or more.


Maybe a part of the solution to the highly competitive job market could have been not annoying your current employees by forcing them to move to a city with poor public transit?

Was that board's decision, or Wong's?


Sounds like a nice bike commute. Especially with the weather there.


There's nothing like biking 10 miles in the cold fog along a freeway...


You have a really interesting definition of cold.

Apparently it is "you might have to wear a jacket".


The standard California definition.


I saw someone wearing earmuffs in 55 degree weather in downtown mountain view.


you haven't met the drivers out here. They're bad, there mostly aren't physically separate bike lanes, and you often don't even get a ticket for killing a bicyclist. It's not worth it.

edit: Also -- sample size of 13 -- 70+% of the people I know who bike commute daily have been hospitalized. I also know someone who did 6 months in a nursing home after some bitch ran a red light, hit him, and cracked his pelvis; he won multiple surgeries and the inability to stand up for months.


That's a good point. I'm too NL centric here, old ladies here would have no problem with a bike trip on that distance but not having bike lanes changes the picture quite a bit, especially if the drivers do not exercise care.

My mom routinely does 100 km trips and she's in her seventies.


NL's infrastructure is orders of magnitude more bike friendly than California.


Why are you telling the public of his reason for resigning? Isn't that something he should be allowed to do himself?


probably because his resigning involved a provision about not talking about the terms of his resignation.


Thanks for the clarification as, at least for me, it did not sound true but the additional details help. That's pretty interesting. Yishan seems like a pretty reactive person especially considering the drama of him ousting a former employee on their performance publicly.


I was curious what you were talking about, so I found it: https://np.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2iea97/i_am_a_former_r...

It's not nearly as clear-cut as you made it seem. He was going around telling people Reddit fired him for no reason even though he was doing good work, which wasn't the case. Then he speculated he was fired because he raised concerns about revenue.

The only question is whether Reddit told him why he was fired when they fired him. If they didn't, well, whatever. But to go onto a public forum and speculate like that probably isn't the smartest decision.

If Yishan hadn't stepped in with a correction, then it would harm their future prospects as a hot place to work. Employees go where they think isn't lame. I'd have second thoughts about trying to join Reddit if I'd read "Yeah, Reddit seems to fire people for no apparent reason and has problems with employees communicating concerns to management."

On the other hand, I feel terrible for David, even if he got himself into this. Now people will unfairly prejudge him to be a slacker, bashed on Yishan's comment, no matter how hard he works in the future. The only way he can hope to change that is by working hard to get stuff done, combined with the extremely annoying process of making a portfolio demonstrating that he continuously gets stuff done.


Yishan went way, way too far in that case. Much further than was needed or appropriate.

He always seemed prone to saying things that were of questionable judgment. I have no idea how he was at running the company, but I suspect Reddit will be better off having someone else speak for it at least.


I've been thinking it over, and I think you're right. If this sort of public response were the norm, the nature of the internet means that any CEO of any company would hold quite a lot of power over the entire future of every employee.

Right now you can do poorly at a programming job without it affecting your entire future. That's important because people have down periods in their lives. It happens.

If you get fired and go out to a bar and tell people that you got screwed by the scummy company, that's pretty normal. And why not let someone feel better about themselves? There's no reason for anyone else to believe their stories. Feeling like you got screwed is better than feeling like a failure. Depression can ruin your life if you don't find ways to cope, even if they're irrational.

Let's say he even convinces someone not to go work for Reddit. That sucks, but the potential employee should've realized that of course the former employee who publicly admitted he was fired is going to say something bad about the company. It's just one side of the story.

I was recently shocked to accept that only 17k people voted on the Obama AMA, even though 3M people viewed it. The disparity between participants vs lurkers on a site like Reddit is so large that it's hard to fathom. How many people saw Yishan's response? There are 4k upvotes. Applying the Obama AMA ratio suggests 700k people read it. Realistically it's probably closer to 40-100k, but still, what if it was common for everyone to go on the internet and badmouth employers and employees and so on and 0.1M people get to watch? A website like glassdoor, but for companies to go and rate their employees for all the other employers.

Yishan's reply to David generated over 1250 responses. David's comment saying "I was laid off" in total generated just shy of 5k comments. How likely is it that out of 40k people who viewed this, 5k of them left comments? It seems entirely possible about half a million people watched the CEO of Reddit lay the smackdown on a former employee who didn't even really say anything too out of line. Distasteful and in bad faith? Sure, but it's not like he was saying Reddit is an awful place to work. Envisioning a future where this is commonplace and people jeer from the sidelines like http://i.imgur.com/kQxF02o.png isn't a reality I'd like to live in.


Yishan was in a really tough spot with that comment. It sounded like morale among existing employees was being significantly negatively affected by this ex-coworker going around spreading shit about the company. A CEO needs to consider how his actions will be viewed by everyone involved in the company; it's quite possible that neglecting to act would've caused enough of a productivity & morale hit that he judged calling the employee out to be the right call, even knowing what it would potentially do to his & the employee's reputation.

That said, your comment is precisely why people generally avoid bad-mouthing former employees, and why smart employees avoid bad-mouthing their former employers. Worst case, it blackballs a person or organization forever. Best case, it just makes everybody look bad. Better to keep your mouth shut and let other people draw their own conclusions.


I do believe that California defamation law still needs to be fixed though.


Re: "he had the original product vision for the company"

I thought Alexis et. al. originally started a company doing something else at the beginning of their application and acceptance to YCombinator, and Paul Graham had the idea for reddit and convinced them to do it instead of their original plan.

When Aaron Swartz was fired (edit: used to read quit) and the other founders of reddit tried to remove his founder status I remember being convinced by their arguments and being disappointed in Swartz.

When I later read the thing about it being Graham's idea it really changed my mind--the other founders' original idea was their own sort of Infogami (Swartz's original startup), and while they switched to developing reddit a little before Swartz, they ended up holding a much weaker exclusivity claim.


Steve & Alexis wanted to write an app that would allow you to order food from your feature phone. PG thought it was a bad idea, but liked them, so he suggested the "front page of the Internet" idea.[1]

And Swartz was fired, not quit. He went to Germany then didn't show up for a couple weeks when he got back. [2]

[1] http://gwtoday.gwu.edu/reddit-co-founder-speaks-power-open-i...

[2] http://blogoscoped.com/archive/2007-05-07-n78.html


> Steve & Alexis wanted to write an app that would allow you to order food from your feature phone. PG thought it was a bad idea,

http://www.just-eat.com/


This seems to be a perenially popular bad startup idea. Sergey Brin's previous idea, before teaming up with Larry to found Google, was a startup to let people order pizza via fax machine.


It's not a bad idea at all. But that search engine turned out pretty good for them too.


Thanks, edited the part about quit. I didn't mean their idea was an infogami in the sense that it was functionally similar to infogami, but rather just that it something that similarly never worked out.


Silly question, but why Daly City?


It's much cheaper to work and live in Daly City than in San Francisco. It's probably a lot easier to expand there as well. If you buy office space in San Francisco, you either buy just enough for your current team with some wiggle room, or you buy as much as you think you need for the entire time you plan to remain there, which may be 2 or 3x the size of your current needs. It costs a lot of money to own property you're not fully utilizing, but companies do it, many sub-lease the space to offset the cost, but for smaller companies, this means they move offices pretty frequently. My company is in their third office in just the past year :P


Actually, there are regulations in SF about leasing space you don't actually need. I don't know all the details, but my employer just moved to a new Soma office and we were prohibited from having a huge meeting space, and instead had to partition it and use some as workspace.


Ah OK, I guess my direct experience with larger spaces comes from the south bay, but all the same, this explains why my current office keeps moving! So this still highlights what is probably a benefit of places outside of the city :)


I'd bet Yishan lives in the peninsula or south bay and didn't like his hour-plus commute into sf. Public records say Palo Alto, so yes -- he wanted a much better commute.

They'd lose a ton of sf employees though; it's a shit commute for them.


This seems like a big governance challenge. This is a big challenge for boards and CEOs. CEOs like to have full authority, and be held accountable. Boards like to be able to ask questions. In the end, the board's only true recourse is to fire the CEO.

Here it sounds like the CEO wanted a freer hand, and left when the event signaled a change in governance. (You can't take $50mm and not expect questions)


It's super interesting anyways. I wonder if it has anything to do with trust? Maybe Yishan felt like this was a decision that was up to the CEO, and got annoyed when the Board asked Yishan to do due diligence. Did Yishan see this as the last straw in a string of challenges by the board -- or maybe that it was indicative of how the Board would challenge his decisions going forward?




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