Reddit Founder Alexis Ohanian to Talk Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital at UVA Darden

By Dave Hendrick


Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit and the venture capital firm Initialized Capital, will return to the University of Virginia on 17 April to share stories of his entrepreneurial journey with the University community.

Ohanian, who graduated in 2005 with undergraduate degrees from the College of Arts & Sciences and the McIntire School of Commerce, will speak at the Darden School of Business at a The New York Times’ Get With The Times event titled Innovate Like a Boss With Alexis Ohanian. The free event is open to the public, but registration is required.

Ohanian spoke to UVA Today ahead of the event.

Q. Going back to your time at UVA, how did your UVA education influence your early ideas for Reddit?

A. I double-majored in commerce and history (and minored in German!) while I was at UVA, which is definitely not a traditional background for a founder. If I did it all over again, I probably would have chosen to pursue a degree in computer science (or at least taken more than one CS class at UVA), but I still think there is a ton of value in the broad exposure a liberal arts degree provides.

My classes at UVA also taught me how to synthesize a broad range of ideas into a cohesive and compelling story, and then communicate it. This was certainly valuable in the early days of Reddit, when we needed to be able to influence people to use our platform or come work for us. It’s hard to start a technology company with a not-very-technical background, but it’s not impossible. You just have to be more cognizant of how to find a good partner with a complementary skill set.

Q. What parts of your education are most valuable to you today?

A. I credit my liberal arts degree with my innate curiosity, critical thinking and communication skills, all of which certainly come to good use in my career now. The humanities education really prepares you for that in a way other disciplines don’t.

Those skills alone are not sufficient to build a technology company, but they’re important. It’s one reason why we invested in Make School; they also believe in creating a curriculum that teaches students to code, but also helps them understand the world with a well-rounded education.

Read the full interview on UVA Today.

The 17 April event begins at 7 p.m. at the Darden School. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. Register here.

Watch for coverage of the talk on The Darden Report.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

 

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