"Creating Reddit and the Downside of Being Effective: Insights for Success"


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 13, 2023

3 min read


"Creating Reddit and the Downside of Being Effective: Insights for Success"


In the world of technology and productivity, two seemingly unrelated topics intersect - the creation of Reddit and the downside of being effective. While these two subjects may appear distinct, they share common principles that can provide valuable insights for success. This article explores the story behind Reddit's creation and delves into the potential pitfalls of focusing solely on effectiveness. By understanding these concepts and learning from their nuances, individuals can enhance their decision-making and strive for a more balanced and impactful approach to their goals.

The Birth of Reddit:

Reddit, a platform that has revolutionized online communities, emerged from the minds of Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian. Drawing inspiration from sites like Delicious and Slashdot, they sought to combine the best elements of social bookmarking and geek-centric news platforms. The duo's dedication and hard work during their time at Y Combinator (YC) culminated in the initial version of Reddit. Surprisingly, it was the endorsement of Paul Graham, the co-founder of YC, that brought Reddit its first thousand visitors. However, it wasn't long before Huffman and Ohanian had to confront the challenge of generating genuine user engagement.

The Early Challenges:

To tackle the daunting task of populating the site with content, Huffman and Ohanian resorted to creating fake users and generating much of the early content themselves. While this strategy helped kickstart Reddit's growth, it was not a sustainable approach. As the platform gained traction, the duo realized the need for authenticity and community participation. This crucial realization prompted them to shift their focus towards fostering genuine user engagement and building a thriving online community.

From the 80/20 Rule to Effectiveness:

Switching gears, we now turn our attention to the concept of the 80/20 Rule, also known as the Pareto Principle. The 80/20 Rule emphasizes that 80% of results come from 20% of efforts or causes. This principle has been widely applied in various domains, including productivity and decision-making. In terms of effectiveness, it highlights the importance of focusing on the right things rather than merely getting more things done efficiently.

However, the downside of being effective lies in the potential misalignment between optimizing for the past and optimizing for the future. Effectiveness, as measured by the 80/20 Rule, is calculated based on past paths and achievements. This can create a discrepancy when one's future aspirations and goals differ from their past accomplishments. To truly excel, one must strike a balance between leveraging past effectiveness and aligning it with their desired future outcomes.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Define Your Future Vision: Before diving headfirst into being effective, take the time to define your future vision. Consider where you want to be and what you want to achieve. By aligning your effectiveness with your long-term goals, you can avoid the pitfall of optimizing solely for your past.
  • 2. Regularly Reassess and Refocus: Effectiveness is not a one-time achievement; it requires continuous evaluation and adjustment. Regularly reassess your priorities and realign your efforts with your evolving vision. This iterative process will ensure that your effectiveness remains relevant and impactful.
  • 3. Embrace Adaptability and Experimentation: To avoid stagnation and optimize for the future, embrace adaptability and experimentation. Be open to trying new approaches, even if they seem less effective initially. Remember that innovation often arises from stepping outside the boundaries of past effectiveness.


The story of Reddit's creation and the downside of being effective offer valuable lessons for success. By combining the innovative ideas behind existing platforms and adapting to the evolving needs of their user base, Huffman and Ohanian transformed Reddit into a thriving community. Similarly, understanding the potential limitations of the 80/20 Rule and optimizing for a future-oriented vision can help individuals make more informed decisions and steer their lives towards growth and fulfillment. By incorporating the actionable advice of defining a future vision, regularly reassessing priorities, and embracing adaptability, readers can navigate the complexities of effectiveness and strive for a more balanced and impactful approach to their endeavors.

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