Charlottesville was a fitting venue for Reddit’s big moment as a forum for democracy, because the idea behind it was sparked here seven years ago by University of Virginia graduates Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian.
“Steve and I started Reddit from Charlottesville and had no idea that in less than a decade, the president of the United States would be using it to conduct an interview with the world,” Ohanian said Thursday in a conference call with local reporters.
Ohanian often recounts the story of how the idea for Reddit came to him while he was at a Waffle House, but he rarely specifies that it was the Waffle House here on U.S. 29.
He graduated from UVa in 2005 with degrees in history and commerce, while Huffman graduated the same year with an engineering degree.
Though the “guts” of Reddit didn’t get built until after the duo graduated and got further involved in the tech-startup world, the name was settled in the Alderman Library. Ohanian drew the site’s alien logo while bored in a marketing class at the McIntire School of Commerce.
“All the initial brainstorming for Reddit happened right here in Charlottesville,” Ohanian said.