Originally I was gonna come on here to talk about a fundraiser I'm doing to fund every single STEM DonorsChoose classroom in Brooklyn and my book which drops tomorrow, but then I learned TOM HANKS -- our greatest living actor -- was doing an AMA the same day.

So obviously I'm now live-streaming a countdown to Tom Hank's AMA at 14:50 EST.

Tune in! I'll be here at The Verge (which also produces my show, Small Empires) for the next six hours with some fun guests stopping by.

I hope this was not a terrible idea.

Comments: 1193 • Responses: 66  • Date: 

xcmt901 karma

I don't have a question. This is just the first time I've caught an AMA this early and I wanted to post something. So...hi.

kn0thing610 karma

How does it feel?

xcmt1232 karma

Like how I feel after eating McDonalds: Nominally satiated but spiritually dissatisfied and somewhat disappointed with myself and my life's direction as a whole.

kn0thing490 karma

What do you usually order? I had a weight problem growing up and giving up fast food and soda in high school absolutely changed my life. I really ought to get back to regular exercise, but when I'm eating well and being active, I feel amazing. Kale is amazing.

samsheffer183 karma

Kale is amazing. Tiny bit of olive oil, sprinkle some red pepper flakes, toss that shiz in the oven and BAM. You got one damn good and very healthy snack.

Tylensus92 karma

Oven temp/ time pls.

Halinn102 karma

While I don't know about /u/samsheffer's oven, mine's usually at around 20 °C and whatever time it happens to be in the Central European Timezone

Tylensus17 karma

You know damn well what I meant, you European smartass. O.O

kn0thing48 karma

What if I'm at high-altitude?

reverend_green1614 karma

What's it like knowing you've created something that wastes years of peoples lives?

kn0thing1021 karma

Amazing. A little guilty.

Unidan137 karma

On the other hand, how do you feel about the insane amounts of business connections, networking opportunities and education that you've been able to facilitate?

kn0thing133 karma

That's exciting. Watching people have their careers made by reddit (like Zach Anner and Zach Weinersmith -- profiled in WIthout Their Permission) is so amazing. But it's users who do all that, we're the plumbing, but it definitely makes me proud.

claque103 karma

I just upvoted the co-founder of Reddit, cross that off the ole bucket listerino.

kn0thing306 karma

I just upvoted /u/claque and it tasted like chicken?

cuteman11 karma

What do you think of a huge entity like Google or facebook buying reddit? It would add a much larger audience but quality would probably plummet.

The crowd sourced up/down vote coupled with higher rated comments and submissions going to the top is so simple and genius. I am seriously suprised more outlets haven't integrated it. Engadget for example allows likes, but comments remain in the order they were posted. Facebook has likes and even sub comments but again the "best" one doesn't rise to the top. On a mechanical algo basis, the appeal of reddit is so simple and yet is the only outlet I've seen do it even semi adequately.

kn0thing32 karma


We did have a meeting with Google early into reddit. Steve and I were invited there in the fall of 2005 and they basically made us an offer that amounted to a generous signing bonus. We turned it down, which was hard to do, but we'd talked about integrating reddit comments into YouTube. Imagine that.

That said, we're opensource, so there's really no excuse why more sites haven't copied Steve's brilliant commenting system.

turkeypants88 karma

Is there anything after reddit? Because everything from before it in my life is gone now. I can't see ever getting out. Does anyone get out? I... I don't remember what it was like before.

kn0thing191 karma

Yes, turkeypants, there are lots of things after reddit. Never undervalue closing your laptop and just going for a walk. Also, great username.

kn0thing515 karma

Let me just get the answers to the most obvious Tom Hanks questions out of the way:

dmuldia1022 karma

Hi, I actually have three questions:

  • What's your favorite Tom Hanks movie?
  • Who did you think Tom Hanks had the best on-screen chemistry with?
  • Any weird sexual fetishes?

kn0thing658 karma

Get out of my head.

TyroneTheTaco349 karma

what was your initial reaction when Reddit first started becoming popular?

kn0thing864 karma

"Wha? Seriously? Steve and I just graduated from college and built this in our underwear in between WoW games."

HelpMeLoseMyFat13 karma

What was your favorite WoW experience?

Did you raid? any favorite boss fights?

kn0thing7 karma

I never raided. Hit 60 (when it was the cap in 2005) and pretty much quit (this was a month or so into reddit). Steve played a bit longer but then he faded.

Luffykins235 karma

What's your view on the upvote/downvote system and its tendency to silence unpopular opinion?

kn0thing587 karma

I think it's great. I also just downvoted you.

edit: ok, I hit enter too fast. It's impossible to make a perfect system, but I do wish 'controversy' sort were more useful and perhaps more frequented. We do A LOT to battle against cheating/vote-rigging/etc, though.

ginagershon185 karma

Hi Alexis! I'm doing an AMA too. Do you have any extra tequila? I could use some.

I was lucky enough to have just seen Tom Hanks do the play Lucky Guy and he was fantastic. He's such a great actor, I really do love him. And what a nice guy.

kn0thing123 karma

Hi Gena! I'm rocking some bourbon here. Tequilia pairs really well with AMA.

We're counting down over here... 3 hrs to go to Hanks-time!

Hey everyone, go say hi to Gina Gershon!

Akerfeldt165 karma

What's your least favourite subreddit?

kn0thing394 karma

Kinch_149 karma

Sup, Alexis, I'm a big fan of yours. I'm really glad you did this. So keep doing what you're doing. But two questions:

Is there any relationship between your username and that of moot's? You're both founders of huge (arguably rival) online communities, and I found it interesting that both of you have a username that essentially references "nothing."

Secondly, I wanted to hear your opinion on a matter like this: social media keeps changing. People transfered from Digg to reddit. People transfered from MySpace to facebook. Twitter appeared. Instagram appeared, etc.

Do you see social media as moving towards a (relatively) permanent form in which it will remain for a large part of the history of the Internet? Or are we always going to have a changing (not necessarily "evolving") relationship with social media? (I understand that additions and features will be added, but I'm talking major shifts.)

kn0thing142 karma

Howdy, Kinch_ sorry I didn't answer this the last time - but I did on the livestream! Basically there is no connection, though I am chummy w moot, I don't use 4chan -- it comes from my gradeschool gamertag, which is from my favorite Metallica song, King Nothing (k+n0thing). I'm a dork.

And yes, I see social media evolving but the idea of 'anyone with an internet connection gets a platform to share stuff' is sticking. Hopefully reddit sticks around -- and it's open source so it absolutely will in some form.

Im_A_Chef114 karma

What's your favorite subreddit?

drocks27139 karma

why did you type them all out instead of doing /r/AskHistorians or /r/dogswitheyebrows

Tundraaa458 karma

He clearly doesn't know how this site functions.

kn0thing211 karma

haha I'm just lazy

zaikanekochan102 karma

How do you pronounce your last name?

kn0thing168 karma

O-han(like hand)-yen

That's not the Armenian way of doing it, but I opt for simplicity.

SinisterKid149 karma

Which part of Glendale do you live in?

kn0thing89 karma


yishan130 karma

You know, this is something I should've confirmed at like the first board meeting we had but I didn't, and now I've been pronouncing it wrong this whole time.

kn0thing17 karma

Hah, I really don't notice/care -- just as long as you keep calling me Alexis, we cool.

PlanetMarklar35 karma

That's not the Armenian way of doing it, but I opt for simplicity.

how much flegm is in the Armenian way of doing it?

kn0thing57 karma

Quite a bit, but it feels so right.

nationcrafting29 karma

How would Tommy Wiseau pronounce your name if you were a character in The Room?

kn0thing45 karma

Big-O? O-Hane?

mna_mna19 karma

Every time I've seen it, I've thought it was an American bastardisation of an Irish name, like McGraw or Doogan. Sort yerself out, O'Hanion.

kn0thing31 karma

Heh, I usually get free drinks on St. Patty's (Paddy's -- can you tell I'm not Irish?), so that's nice, but I'm Armenian, not Irish.

elkyy9 karma

Alternatively, the Armenian way to say is: O-Han(like Han Solo)-Yan (like yawn without the w)

kn0thing7 karma

Ah, yes, I thought so. I wonder if should rep the Armenian pronunciation more often....

fishyguy1371 karma

What did you get the idea of Reddit for?

kn0thing117 karma

Steve was an avid slashdot user and I was sitting in a browser with too many tabs open every morning. This was back in 2005, mind you, and we really liked what http://delicious.com/popular was doing, but it was just a byproduct of a lot of people doing social bookmarking -- it wasn't a 'front page of what's new' it was a real-time listing of popular reference material being saved for later.

willietran11 karma

I could have my timelines mixed up, but did you ever receive any pushback from people and a comparison to digg when you first started?

Generally the whole "what are you doing that they aren't" question.

kn0thing16 karma

I had to answer "how are you different from digg" for way longer than I'd have liked. I kept saying: we're fundamentally different - our front page and comments are a unique rising and falling list of items that is much harder to cheat than digg & we're building a platform for online communities to share links + discussions, not just a monoculture with a frontpage like digg.

icameforthecookies63 karma

What is your thought on people calling Reddit the most racist site on the web?

And have you ever imitated Forrest Gump dancing like Elvis?

Edit: Stoopid spelling

kn0thing212 karma

Absurd. Generalizing a communication platform with a population bigger than France is an exercise in futility.

No, because there are some thing the world just isn't ready for.

Roadside-Strelok55 karma

How do you see the future of reddit? Will it become even more popular? Are people going to be eventually getting bored of it or switching onto other websites? Like it was with MySpace and how it (slowly) happens with facebook now.

kn0thing87 karma

I just talked about this on the livestream, but yes, I think it's going to only grow bigger over time, but horizontally as more subreddits launch.

bucsboy4747 karma

Is there any concern about reddit getting too big? People already complain about the larger subreddits' diminishing quality with size, do you think this poses a problem to the site in general?

kn0thing135 karma

We have to get the subreddit discovery right. If we make that work, it'll scale. No one complains twitter is too big because the community of Nicki Minaj fans can find her as easily as Cumberbitches can find Benedict (not mutually exclusive).

esteban251044 karma

Do you like sushi?

dmuldia134 karma

ok, let's see here..

  1. Sushi is made of fish
  2. Fish live in the sea
  3. Mermaids also live in the sea
  4. Tom Hanks was in Splash, a movie about a mermaid

all good

kn0thing90 karma

Your logic is sound, dmuldia.

I too love sushi. Great places in NY:

http://ushiwakamarunyc.com/ http://15eastrestaurant.com/ http://sushinakazawa.com/

Always sit at the bar.

I really need to visit Japan one of these days and do it right. Tom: will you be my date? (I'm already practicing for his AMA later today)

rage-quit39 karma

If you could be Tom Cruise's buddy in any movie, what would it be and why is it Turner and Hooch?

kn0thing53 karma

Tom Hanks could do better than Tom Cruise. That said, if they did a film together, it'd have to be called Tom Squared and star Hooch's puppy, who talks, and plays basketball.

nationcrafting37 karma

Did Reddit turn out how you thought it would turn out, or did you think it would be something closer to, say, The Well?

kn0thing58 karma

I only got the internet in middle school, so I missed those days of the Well, but I've read a bit about it. Steve and I really had no idea what we were doing. The best decision we made (it was a debate Steve won) was to allow user created subreddits early on and make that our plan for growth (it's worked wonders, because reddit as a platform can thrive where sites like digg that tried to be a monoculture failed).

hesnothere37 karma

If someone was going to play Tom Hanks in a movie about Tom Hanks, who would you have it be?

kn0thing75 karma

Christopher Walken. Because why not? Seriously, nothing feels as right as Walken. Plus, the dancing.

El_Nicos36 karma

Did you watch Breaking Bad yesterday ?

kn0thing87 karma

No. No spoilers please. Pretty please. Seriously, I'm going to cry if this is ruined for me. Thank you.

lookin_left34 karma

What did Tom Hanks think of his son doing an AMA a few months ago?

kn0thing71 karma

I think he loved it. Tom is unflappable. I suspect he texted his son later that night with a fatherly "not bad."

SensibleMadness32 karma

Do you ever fantasize about putting on the mermaid tail Darryl Hannah used in Splash and being double teamed by Tom Hanks and John Candy while making high-pitched screeching noises?

Because I don't.

kn0thing26 karma

That's so... vivid.... this will haunt my dreams.

ProfessorShanks31 karma

Secretly. The timer behind you. Is a bomb. Good job keeping calm while we figure this situation out.

kn0thing34 karma


kn0thing30 karma

JA! Du hast mein "doodle" gefunden.

guitarromantic27 karma

Do you get to London much? Would be cool to host you at the Guardian for a chat at our morning conference...

kn0thing37 karma

I do love London. Thank you! let's make this happen please email [email protected] I love The Guardian for all the press you first gave us :) before ANYONE

Throssell198823 karma

What have you had for breakfast and lunch today :)

kn0thing91 karma

Huevos rancheros and black coffee. I combined breakfast and lunch today into a new meal I call "Lunkfast"

dmuldia44 karma

wait a minute..

  1. Breakfast and lunch are consumed by humans
  2. Tom Hanks is human
  3. Tom Hanks eats breakfast and lunch

ok, everything checks out. carry on

kn0thing51 karma

Are we sure about your second point?

dmuldia32 karma

ah, yes, one shouldn't just assume. perhaps i should edit it to "Tom Hanks resembles a human"

kn0thing35 karma

Better. I'm told a warming halo surrounds him.

Blasterkid16 karma

Does Tom Hanks have a Jetpack?

kn0thing57 karma

No, he does not need one -- that's only for humans who cannot fly.

janetdrscottjanet14 karma


kn0thing22 karma

I grew up outside of Baltimore. It's still daylight. Yeah, that's about right.

The vortex of fire? That was not safe. But it looked awesome.

fixedzero13 karma

On a scale of 1 - 10, how embarrassed were you about your recent email title typo?

kn0thing26 karma

[11] Seriously. I cursed a few times and closed my laptop to go and play with my cat to make me feel better.

edit: oops. it got me again! 11 is what I meant.


Is it true that Tom Hanks smell slightly of cinnamon?

kn0thing27 karma

Tom's been trying to squelch that slander for a decade now.

Cardamom, friend. Cardamom.

Ineedanaccountthx11 karma

Allo allo. So as the Co-Founder of Reddit, is that your job or do you have another profession? If this is your job, how is the pay and where does the money come from?

kn0thing29 karma

Heh. I'm on the board now. I pay the bills with a few speaking gigs every now and then and some consulting stuff. Hopefully the book will turn out well, too, then I'll take my gf on a nice long vacation for putting up with me.

Simply_Amazing10 karma

Can you add autographed copies of your book to Amazon or Reddit Gifts or something? I would love to buy a copy and get it autographed but won't be able to attend any of your tour dates.

Also thanks for Reddit!

kn0thing10 karma

We'll make this work -- I'll try to put some up on reddit gifts :) thank you!

r191910 karma

what are you most excited about for the tour?

kn0thing12 karma

To meet a new generation of people doing awesome stuff on the internet. And show off all of that awesomeness while we're on tour. And I'm probably most excited about t-shirt cannon I bought.

BartyCrouchJunior8 karma

What's the coolest start-up you have visited?

kn0thing9 karma

On Small Empires? Phew. That's hard to choose. The most awesome offices were definitely Squarespace, though (Spoiler).

BartyCrouchJunior3 karma

Thanks! Follow-up question: what would be you're advice to a person who just graduated and wants to create a company. Get some experience in the industry or just try to go for it?

kn0thing8 karma

Just do it! Worst case, keep it up as a side hustle while you're paying the bills with the fulltime job. Also make sure to do all your work on your personal hardware, not company gear or on company time.

Melmac18037 karma

What's the latest movie you've seen? How was it?

kn0thing17 karma

Fruitvale station - amazing, must-see gut-wrenching film of the year.

pinwale5 karma

What are you going to talk about at the StopWatching.Us rally in D.C?

kn0thing6 karma

I'm not sure. Probably whatever strikes me. Kinda like my speech at the NY SOPA/PIPA protest that got my activist 'career' started.

Mikeaz1234 karma

Who has a better mustache, Burt Reynolds or Tom selleck.

kn0thing16 karma

Saint_of_Gamers4 karma

Wow, this is the first time I've ever been in an AMA this early. I can't think of anything to ask... dammit.

kn0thing8 karma

It's not too late!

ferloror3 karma

Why won't youtube let me watch your stream? The perks of being a European, I guess :/

kn0thing4 karma

I'm sorry. Blame Stephen? Is it working now?

ferloror1 karma

Ah, nevermind. Not your fault, sorry. It's some kind of anachronistic broadcasting law in Germany. Apparently you can't stream to more than 500 viewers without a broadcasting license... Oh Germany, how do I love thee.

kn0thing2 karma

Wirklich? Unglaublich!

____--_____3 karma

I saw you this morning on cbs... Great job.... I know mothers are important but you brought her up after each question. It got to the point the news woman thanked you for giving a tribute to your mother. As I was watching this I just kept wondering why you talked about your mother, then taking about why reddit is relevant to modern day internet consumption. I see she is an inspiration to you but they were attacking reddit for the Boston bombing, navy yard and others. I felt like someone told you not to respond. Was this the case? Thank you for answering my question.

EDIT: you did respond about how news inc has mistakes too and has to retract.

EDIT 2: It felt like you were deflecting questions. What would you have changes about the interview per hindsight?

kn0thing3 karma

The tricky thing with any live interview is that you've got a lot of people asking questions from different directions that you need to respond to concisely. I talked about this in detail on the livestream so hopefully you saw it. But I did not not talk about it.

lolnoob14593 karma

Why specifically Tom Hanks?

kn0thing13 karma

He's doing an AMA in 2hrs 45minutes and I'm counting down!!

pon000503 karma

You are a graduate of UVa. But you will be doing a tour that promotes online entrepreneurship. Online entrepreneurship does not require college education, I think.

What is your opinion on the value of higher education to those who are dreaming/acting to be online entrepreneurs?

kn0thing2 karma

I answered this on the livestream, but basically I think you should really consider taking a year off if you're unsure about college. It's expensive in money and time and travel is one of the best things you can do in life.

cyanonyx1170 karma

What is your opinion on /r/onetruegod?

Edit: I'm an ambassador from /r/firstworldanarchists

kn0thing5 karma

Stuff of legend. But I'd argue Tom Hanks deserves his own subreddit by now.

icameforthecookies0 karma

Is the site of today exactly what you were wanting when you began it many years ago?

Anc could you clue us in where next years April Fools joke is going to take us?

kn0thing1 karma

I answered on the livestream. But it's pretty close :) Thankfully Steve predicted that subreddits would be the future. Also --- no spoilers!