“Being Armenian means triumph to me,” said Alexis Ohanian, whom Forbes magazine calls “Mayor of the Internet,” and has included him in its “30 Under 30” list as an important figure in the technology industry for two years in a row. Wired magazine featured him as a “Champion of Innovation” in 2013, noted the website of the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity.
“I ended up being born in Brooklyn, but I could’ve been born in Yerevan or probably somewhere in Western Armenia,” Alexis says. “I want my knowledge to help as many people as possible, but especially my fellow Armenians.”
Alexis Ohanian, the 32-year-old cofounder of Reddit.com, one of the world’s top 100 websites, created the site together with his college roommate ten years ago.
Ohanian has other successful projects under his belt as well: in 2010 he helped launch the travel websiteHipmunk.com, and later the same year he founded Das Kapital Capital – a company focused on startup financing and consulting. Breadpig.com, which Alexis launched in 2008, sells geeky items and gives the proceeds mainly to charity.
Alexis considers himself “a lucky guy” because he once got the education that helped him become self-educated. “One of the rewarding aspects of this industry is that everyone, actually, has free access to the knowledge generated here. I chose to know everything, and perhaps that was the greatest investment for me.”
In 2013 Alexis published a book titled “Without Their Permission” for young entrepreneurs who have faith in the future of the Internet as a source of entertainment, profit and support.
Alexis in Armenia
Alexis Ohanian first visited Armenia with the Kiva Microfunds non-profit organization. “I always wanted to connect with the homeland, but I finally got that chance in 2010 when I decided to leave Reddit to volunteer in Armenia with Kiva for four months,” he says.
Alexis teamed up with several like-minded people in Armenia and organized the first TEDx Yerevan where famous people share ideas on how to make the world a better place to live in.
“My father never traveled to Armenia before my first visit, and actually I had no idea about Armenia, perhaps with the only exception of Armenian cuisine.” Alexis recalls. “I have a lot of Armenian friends who returned from Armenia and they all told me that their visit to Armenia changed their lives. When I first saw [Mount] Ararat, I took a quick photo and sent it to my father. I know that image has become a cliché. Anyway, it does inspire.”