Weekly Heroes – Steve Huffman

steve huffman
Steve Huffman was born on November 12, 1983. An American entrepreneur and a web developer. You can easily find him on Reddit by the username “spez”. Does this give you a hint about who this man is?

That’s right, the co-founder and CEO of Reddit, a website used to browse social news and join discussions with people all over the world. Currently the website ranks top 20 in the world. Moreover, Steve co-founded Hipmunk which is an airfare search-engine.

Huffman’s first attempt to start a business was during spring break where him and his roommate Alexis Ohanian drove to Boston, Massachusetts in order to attend a lecture by a renowned programmer and entrepreneur Paul Graham. The idea of Huffman, which he shared with Graham, was to allow users to order food by SMS. The idea ultimately was denied by Graham, but not all was lost.

Graham asked Huffman and Ohanian to meet at Boston in order to come up with a new start-up idea. As you can imagine it was a long brainstorming session in which Grahams idea of “the front page of the internet” was created. Huffman coded the entire site.  Ultimately Reddit was launched in 2005 by Huffman and Ohanian.

The sites audience grew so rapidly that Huffman realized that he no longer needed to fill in the front page with content himself. Huffman and Ohanian sold Reddit to Conde Nast on October 31, 2006, for $10-$20 million (the exact value is not known). Huffman was still a CEO at Reddit until 2009, when he left his role.

Huffman mentioned that his decision to sell Reddit was a mistake in 2014 and that the sites growth have exceeded his expectations by far. In 2015, Reddit hired Huffman as CEO during a particularly difficult time for the company. As soon as Huffman rejoined, he had a vision to launch Reddit as an iOS and Android app. Other technological improvements have been made upon Huffman’s return such as a better mobile experience, stronger infrastructure and new content guidelines.  Some of them included a ban on content that includes violence and using material other users might find offensive.

Moreover, efforts were made to make the site more advertiser-friendly and allow video and image hosting. In 2016, Huffman was the focus of a controversy for altering posts on a subreddit popular with supporters of Donald Trump /r/The Donald. He rolled back those changes after loads of criticism and issued an apology. If you are a user you have noticed the redesign of Reddit’s website with its first major visual update. The new design was launched in April 2018.

Reddit is an extremely famous website for people who like to discuss things and read social news. Who would have thought that such a simple idea could lead to a website that is worth $1.8 billion dollars.

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