“We have 172 million unique visitors and 7.5 billion page views per month, and 10,000 active communities,” said Alexis Ohanion, a Reddit co-founder who came back to the company in time to see it all implode in rather spectacular fashion.
I heard Ohanion speak at a Ford event in Palo Alto a month or so ago, before the big Reddit meltdown, which appears to be continuing. At the time, Ohanion was telling the oft-told tale of how the company was founded with $12,000 from Paul Graham and the Cambridge, Massachusetts (Our Fair City) business incubator Y Combinator. The first day, in business they had shirts. In California, Ohanion’s read “Don’t Tread on the Internet.”
We’re nothing without our communities, Ohanion said. Young users, he said, think of themselves as not just consumers, but as creators. Those same creative, impassioned user-creators are the source of Reddit’s valuable content, and also the source of the anger that erupted when the company (and allegedly, Ohanion himself in his role as executive chairman) fired a honcho, Victoria Taylor, who they saw as responsive to their needs.
Ohanion also told us about one of his favorite Subreddit communities, “Just Rolled into the Shop,” a bunch of bemused mechanics making ribald fun of their crazy customers. Does that sound familiar, Car Talk listeners? Frankly, the site is a riot, with up-close and personal photos of burned valves, oil left in crankcases so long it turned to something resembling split pea soup, mufflers repaired with tin cans, tires patched with duct tape (yes! There’s photographic proof) and shredded tires.
I got stuck on a post, with endless suggestions, about a fellow who handed his classic over to a shade-tree mechanic (in exchange for tattoos!) and then couldn’t find the guy again.
Reddit is not typically seen as a go-to car destination, but it has a lot of good auto-related content, and posters with motor oil in their veins. Let’s hope it stays together and the crazy car communities remain online. Here are four other good ways to waste a perfectly good morning (when Car Talk isn’t on):
S*&#$ Car Mods (Stupidity on Wheels). (Title NSFW!) At this Subreddit you can see such atrocities as insane wheel swaps, VW Beetles with Rolls-Royce grilles (a hopefully dying breed), a ridiculous rear wing on a Taurus, and the “Mudstang,” a nice original ‘67 Ford body mounted on a K5 Blazer frame.
Car Laughs. A subreddit with photos that will make you cry with laughter. A fake Hummer with a wood body, C4 Corvette engine and 1966 Ford station wagon VIN number? Ferrari stickers on a Hyundai? A poor Mustang with gullwing doors? All here. And don’t forget the Top 10 lists of world’s worst replicars.
Classic Cars. Not specifically funny, but fascinating. Read about a Bentley R-Type Continental with a James Bond/Ian Fleming connection that moldered away in a California garage for 30 years. And who says the Little Old Lady From Pasadena wasn’t real? One post is called “My Grandma’s 1969 GTO.” She's taken great care of that car.
Car AV. An AM radio used to be enough for anybody, but now there has to be dozens of speakers and a bitchin’ big amp in the trunk. One poster at this site says he “needs” extreme bass sound to “be the envy of my friends.” Apparently “a kicker cx 300.1 amp and 2 kicker comps 10 in a sealed box” isn’t enough for his 2013 Honda Civic. Isn’t there a difference between “want” and “need”? He’s advised to forget about extreme bass and instead go for “a perfectly tuned SQ setup with kickin' mid bass, flat response, perfect imaging and smart rear-fill.” Sounds sage to me.
Got a favorite auto-related thread that we missed? Post it in the comments.