Reddit has become a social powerhouse thanks to its mix of aggregation and user-submitted content, but the website was born out of a different idea altogether. Founders Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian explain that their initial goal was to develop a simple way to order food from local Sheetz gas stations using cellphones. The idea grabbed the attention of Paul Graham — co-founder of Y-Combinator — after the two college students approached him at a lecture. The plan was ultimately rejected when the duo formally pitched it to the startup investor in 2005, but Graham promised funding if they could devise something new.
That "something new" turned into Reddit, what Huffman describes as a cross between Delicious and Slashdot that would aggregate as much content as possible across the web. Three weeks after receiving $12,000 from Y-Combinator and moving to Boston, Ohanian and Huffman pushed out a skeleton version of the site. The two even started submitting their own links under different usernames to give the illusion of a healthy site, but Reddit eventually became self-sufficient. If you’re itching for a small lesson in internet history, then make sure to watch the full account.