Podcast #43 - False Facts & Blood Feuds

by Alex Miller

on February 21, 2013

Welcome to Stack Exchange Podcast #43 with Joel Spolsky, Jay Hanlon, David Fullerton, and special guest Alexis Ohanian, calling in from the Tutorspree office. Alexis is the co-founder of Reddit and an investor in Hipmunk. He's a strong advocate against SOPA and PIPA, and knows how to dress well while doing so, thanks to Joel. (Listen on to figure out what we're talking about here.)

  • Talking about subreddits: Alexis wanted tags to categorize content coming into Reddit, but his co-founder Steve Huffman pushed for subreddits. Alexis tells us why and how it works as well as it does. (Joel has his own subreddit! And it was the first one ever!)

  • Alexis has a book coming out in the fall called Without Their Permission. "Their" refers to gatekeepers - people who stand between people and access to information. He also has another book already out.

  • So what's the next annoying thing that Washington is going to do to stymy innovation? The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement is on the horizon. We dive into the wonderful world of software patent law.

  • Per Joel: Amazon's 1-Click is the only thing that should have a patent. Nothing else needs one.

  • Let's move on to copyright! Or get distracted and continue talking about patents! Just kidding, we successfully moved on to copyright (and how it relates to wishing someone a joyful anniversary of their birth).

  • We also decided that Creative Commons needs to come up with a better open source birthday song. (Also, copyright should not be granted to anything Jay doesn't like.)

  • Moving on: Kickstarter and friends. The connected web is changing the way people make things and sell them to other people who want to experience them. (Alexis Ohanian's project Breadpig is one of the companies leading the charge in this area.)

  • Back to Reddit. Alexis walks us through the way Reddit works as a communication platform, and how the team handles "unwanted", but legal, speech (spoiler alert: they try to avoid censorship). Sometimes you find yourself in the tough position of having to defend reperehensible, but legal, ideas. Sometimes, though, someone can learn something.

  • Oh, and finally: Alexis was supposed to eat a spoonful of cinnamon on the podcast today. New rule for podcast guests! Alexis says it's impossible, but he's discovered that he does indeed have some cinnamon accessible to him…

See you next week!