In 2005, Alexis Ohanian started a little site called Reddit, which is now one of the most trafficked sites on the web. Today, he has more than 50 startups in his portfolio, including Evernote, Grubwithus and Visual.ly, making him one of the most prominent investors and mentors in tech.
Alexis is also the founder of Breadpig, a "Newman's Own for nerds", Hipmunk, which takes the frustration out of booking travel, and a leader of the open internet movement. Currently, he's working on his first book, Without Your Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed, to be released next year. (Did I mention he's only 29?) With "making the world suck less" as his main objective, Alexis has learned a lot of helpful tricks along the way.
Name: Alexis Ohanian Occupation: Making the world suck less as founder of Breadpig, angel investor, and defender of the open internet Location: Brooklyn, New York Current computer: MacBook Pro, MacBook Air (baby laptop!), Mac Mini (pretending to be a TV), and a gaming PC I built that's currently in pieces because I can't figure out why it's not booting anymore — not even in safe mode! Current mobile devices: I own two phones since so many portfolio companies launch on iOS. It forced me to get an iPhone 4S in addition to my Galaxy Nexus. #angelinvestorproblems One word that best describes how I work: command(⌘) + `
What apps/software/tools can't you live without?
I do so much work in Gmail. I couldn't live without email, but I could live without Gmail if someone made something better. Reddit helps me waste time and Hipmunk makes up for it by saving me time (two shameless plugs of my own startups in one sentence!). Evernote is my second brain (I'm an investor — three plugs!).
What's your best time-saving trick?
We have a saying around the office about 'Fancyhands-ing' everything we can. It doesn't roll off the tongue but trust me, once you start thinking like that you'll find countless things that are better done by your remote personal assistant.
What's your workspace setup like?
When my business cat is watching, I work at a standing desk (converted a closet into one thanks to some parts from Elfa) in my home office. But I also rent a desk from one of my portfolio companies, Tutorspree, in Tribeca. It isn't very glamorous (I like my startups thrifty!) save the Batman mask I keep on the desk. My laptop is my primary workspace — wherever it might be. My best book writing has been happening on the 2 and the 5 of late.
Pictured above: Alexis' business cat, Karma.
What's your favourite to-do list manager?
I've tried getting into pen and paper, but the touchscreen response time is a bit sluggish. Did I mention Evernote already? My big thing right now is a daily list of four or five really important things I need to do that I will ignore everything else to complete. It feels good knocking those all off. Sometimes I do a little jig.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without?
There are other gadgets? Does my XBOX 360 count? I can't wait to play as RGIII in Madden.
What do you listen to while you work?
If it's design, usually hip-hop these days. If what I'm doing is more about analytical thinking or writing — classical, jazz or Rammstein.
Pictured above: What Alexis was listening to on August 16, 2012.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Gracefully pushing the yellow strip on the New York bus door so the doors automatically open instead of shoving open the doors like everyone else does. My secret is that I read the instructions.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
Get your ass to Mars.
Anything else that might be interesting to readers/fans?
We love feedback at Reddit, Breadpig and Hipmunk! Don't hesitate to give me feedback about anything I do. Thanks to the open internet, we all need give a damn about our work or we're doomed.
We've asked a handful of heroes, experts and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces and routines. Every week we'll feature a new guest and the gadgets, apps, tips and tricks that keep them going. Want to suggest someone we should feature or questions we should ask? Let us know.