Fast Company: What’s your best habit, and your worst?
Alexis Ohanian: My best is that I’m relentless about improving—I’m good at being motivated by criticism. My worst is saying yes to things when I should default to no.
FC: When I’m creatively stuck, I…
AO: Play a quick match of Heroes of the Storm if my friends are on.
FC: What’s the business buzzword you never want to hear or see again?
AO: Hustle porn [the fetishization of overworking]. It’s my mission to purge the farce.
FC: What’s the best mistake you ever made?
AO: Oversleeping that morning in Rome and meeting my future wife at breakfast.
FC: When I need to unplug, I…
AO: Hide my phone and play with my daughter.
FC: What book do you recommend to everyone?
AO: Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, a sci-fi adventure about the costs of war and the illusion of free will. I used it in my history-major thesis to frame a study of the 1945 bombing of Dresden. Vonnegut was a veteran of the Second World War, and was in Dresden as a POW when the bombs fell.
FC: What’s the advice you’re glad you ignored?
AO: Paul Graham, our first Reddit investor, and my cofounder [Steve Huffman] tried to convince me to get rid of Snoo, the Reddit mascot I created. I’m grateful I ignored them, because it’s now iconic.
FC: What advice would you give your younger self?
AO: Spend more time with your parents, and don’t be so quick to grow up and be independent.
FC: What was your career fork in the road?
AO: I walked out of an LSAT and into a Waffle House, realizing I didn’t want to be a lawyer. That’s when I decided to be an entrepreneur. I persuaded my [University of Virginia] roommate to turn down his job offer and work with me to build Reddit.
FC: What’s your work uniform or wardrobe staple?
AO: Black fitted T-shirt. AG jeans. Atoms or Jordan 1s.
FC: What’s your favorite form of exercise?
AO: Strength training on free weights or Tonal. I just installed a heavy bag in my Florida office.
FC: What TV show are you mid-binge on?
AO: I was obsessed with the Punisher comic books as a kid. I’m trying to savor the second season on Netflix right now.
FC: What is your mantra?
AO: “Pain is growth.”
FC: What do you send to congratulate someone?
AO: A bottle of Shakmat! Armenian brandy should be shared among friends and loved ones in celebration.
FC: What’s your get-pumped song?
AO: “Power,” by Kanye West.