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Without Their Permission

Without Their Permission [Kindle Edition]

Alexis Ohanian
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

As Alexis Ohanian learned when he helped to co-found the immensely popular, the internet is the most powerful and democratic tool for disseminating information in human history. And when that power is harnessed to create new communities, technologies, businesses or charities, the results can be absolutely stunning.

In this book, Alexis will share his ideas, tips and even his own doodles about harnessing the power of the web for good, and along the way, he will share his philosophy with young entrepreneurs all over the globe.

At 29, Ohanian has come to personify the dorm-room tech entrepreneur, changing the world without asking permission. Within a couple of years of graduating from the University of Virginia, Ohanian did just that, selling reddit for millions of dollars. He's gone on to start many other companies, like hipmunk and breadpig, all while representing Y Combinator and investing in over sixty other tech startups. WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION is his personal guidebook as to how other aspiring entrepreneurs can follow in his footsteps.

It's rare that a thirty-year-old has a memoir worth writing-let alone worth reading-but Alexis Ohanian's WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION is an exception. This book is full of useful advice for entrepreneurs of all ages, and Alexis describes his remarkable accomplishments with an endearing combination of geekiness, enthusiasm, and sincerity.
—Nate Silver, author and statistician, FiveThirtyEight blog, ,i>New York Times

WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION shows how anyone can use the power of the Internet to make the world a much cooler place to live.
—Tony Hsieh, New York Times bestselling author of Delivering Happiness and CEO of, In

Software is eating the world and WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION is your ultimate cookbook.
—Marc Andreessen, cofounder and partner at Andreessen Horowitz

In WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION, Alexis Ohanian charts a course not just for building a great business, but also for sharing any great idea with the world online - something that is routinely missing from today's educational curricula.
—Soledad O'Brien

Alexis talking about the internet is like Sid Vicious talking about punk. Analysts merely adopted it, but Ohanian was born in it, molded by it, and is the voice of it. A fascinating story, but more importantly: a crucial insight into the healthy proactive mindset of the tech startup world that will keep defining the future.
—Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby, author of Anything You Want

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3137 KB
  • Print Length: 273 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00G8NYDYC
  • Publisher: Argo-Navis (23 Dec 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HJCA4W6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #117,335 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of Internet freedom 20 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is hard to undervalue the importance of Reddit in the digital revolution that we are witnessing right now. As it says on Mob76Outlook, Reddit is one of the Internet's arteries.

Alexis Ohanian is a co-founder of Reddit and has all the grounds to write a book that tells the story of internet freedom through his personal projects and observations. This book is primarily for those who are just thinking to create a start-up and need someone prominent to tap them on the shoulder and say: you can do it boy!

I've already passed that point five months ago, but even for somebody who had already started a company it is a very interesting and entertaining read. Besides of tons of start-up tips and inside advice from Y Combinator, Reddit and Hipmunk you will enjoy Alexis's thoughts about the free internet. The two versions of his graduation speech in 2025 give two scenarios making it clear that we live in an age of fighting for internet freedom even though most of us don't realize it while enjoying it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By DavidB
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A great combination of Ohanian's personal business history, other online success stories and inspirational sections. Reading WTP has certainly changed my mindset in terms of any potential next steps I'll take after University, whilst also teaching me some new techniques to take into the work world. An easy and well written read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More heat than light 31 Oct 2013
By Robert Morris TOP 500 REVIEWER
What follows is a review of this book, not an evaluation of its author, although In Part I, Alexis Ohanian provides some biographical information about his experiences with as a startup co-founder (with Steve Huffman) of reddit, hipmunk, and Breadpig. This is the "memoir" component. In Part II, he shifts his attention to information, insights, and counsel that he hopes will be of interest and value to those among his readers who aspire to launch a new enterprise. This is the advice component. "I'll break it all down so that you can do it too -- everything from taking that great idea you had last night over drinks to closing that first round of funding that'll let you quit your job and turn that cocktail concoction into a real business." In the final Part, he shares what he believes to be the most important do's and don'ts concerning online entrepreneurship. "Whether you want to embrace the Internet for fun, profit, or the good of humankind (or all or any of the above), this book has you covered."

I agree with Ohanian: Don't launch a new business unless you have a product and/or service that people really want and no one else offers it.
I agree with Thomas Edison: "Vision without execution is hallucination."
I do not agree with Ohanian that" the 21st century will be made, not managed." Whatever is made MUST be managed. Why else make it?

"I'm writing this book to inspire as much as to inform." I think there are several points that should be kept in mind when deciding whether or not to make the investment that obtaining and then reading this book require. First, Ohanian's account of his own experiences is highly subjective. All I know about him is what he shares in the book.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Without their permission but with a lot of help 14 Dec 2013
By Nana
I really like alexis, I'm a big fan of reddit and it's a great story of college students making it big time. But alexis had been lucky enough to have mentors in industry and a great aunt willing pay his college fees. Not taking away from his success because he and his Co founder still deserve plaudits for thier colossal success but his insights at points feel over cliché and it's really hard to read at times. Oozes cheese that's hard to stomach. You can self teach Web development. Make a great product, you will most likely still need a hand up or a investor to make it happen.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  92 reviews
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An unsuccessful mish-mash of a biography, startup primer and opinion piece on the wonders of the internet 6 Nov 2013
By Brendon M. Macaraeg - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm 75% thru this and while I like the author's writing style (though I can see how some find him really self-centered), think most of this kind of information is available free online or elsewhere - and is frankly common sense in the business world ("Build something people want" is just another way of saying "make sure your product solves an issue for your customers" - that's nothing new).

I really wanted to like this book, but find it mediocre at best. Ohanian's tone is enthusiastic, but my expectations were totally different going into it. I bought this because I am a HUGE reddit fan and user and wanted to know more about its start-up phase, founding, and ongoing business issues. If you buy this thinking you'll get good advice on how to found and run your startup, think again - that's not here. Also, this is NOT a product development book (though he offers a few tidbits on prototyping, but they are nothing revelatory).

I agree with other reviewers in that the book is a mish-mash and fails on several levels: as a biography (it's not extensive enough); as a teaching lesson on how to emulate/approximate reddit's success (again, not extensive enough -- there's not enough detail here); or as a general primer on starting an internet company ("go find an incubator or like-minded individuals!"). He does provide solid examples of internet companies like Kickstarter, etc. that solve real problems for their customers, but you can get that info from other sources as well.

I have to point out that I find it very odd that Aaron Swartz, who is often referred to as a co-founder of reddit, is mentioned NOWHERE in Ohanian's book. Intentional omission? Sure looks that way.
87 of 107 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Insufferable 24 Oct 2013
By Critical Rationalist - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is hackneyed, vacuous, and written by an author who is totally, completely, utterly fascinated with himself. His book is full of ridiculously detailed trivia about his life experiences. It offers up hundreds, maybe thousands, of banal observations about entrepreneurship as though they were deep insights. (One random example: "I believe in startup karma. Skeptical? Imagine a reputation score floating above your head. If that's a little too surreal for you, just know that social currency is something you can spend by asking for favors and earn by doing them.")

A number of five-star reviewers apparently have met Ohanian personally, and by all accounts he's a really nice guy who has generously funded some good causes. That's great to hear, and I'm sure he has his followers. His coverage of in the book is genuinely enthusiastic. All good. Nonetheless, I find his writing style to be highly focused on himself, and irritating in the same way that those informercials on cable TV in the wee hours of the morning are irritating: Some guy driving around in his expensive car, camera on himself, telling you about how successful he is and that you can succeed too. The narrative is anecdotal, promotional and superficial, bereft of any systematic or analytical approach. There's no index. The few footnotes are not a serious attempt to document sources but instead are full of cutesy comments.

This light narrative should have been condensed down to a two-part magazine article or maybe a simple Reddit thread. Of all the how-to-succeed-online books out there, this is one of the least useful I've encountered. "Jobs," "In the Plex," "One Click," or virtually any other work would be more useful if one is looking for high-tech startup tips.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad, Not Great 22 Oct 2013
By work bot - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Decent read, but I felt like the book lacked a cohesive narative and it kind of meandered from story to story. This made it hard to for the book to capture my interest. The tone is a talking/story telling tone (much like I'd expect in a speech), that may have contributed to the meandered feeling. I would have like to see some more analysis on the state and future of the internet and how that related to the stories, I think that would have helped to tie everything together.

Overall, I didn't feel my time was wasted, but I probably would not reccommend this book
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting But Disappointing 28 Jan 2014
By Daniel Rosenblatt - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm a regular user of reddit and generally interested in technology, and I found this book to be quite disappointing. It reads as more of a memoir and makes a fairly shallow effort to advance the argument presented in the title of the book. I'm glad that Mr. Ohanian is proud of his accomplishments, but it would have been nice to hear more information about taking reddit from a startup to being one of the most trafficked websites around. And yet, we learn that Ohanion a) didn't come up with the idea for reddit, b) didn't write any code for reddit, other than designing the alien icon, c) argued against the concept of subreddits, which contributed greatly to the site's success, especially versus competitor Digg. I couldn't help walking away from this book feeling that Ohanion was simply in the right place at the right time and has little actual insight into the world of technology and its future.

I'll admit that I was also a bit turned off by the *multiple* mentions of the fact early on in the book that he was a millionaire at an early age due to the reddit acquisition.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bread Pig 23 Mar 2014
By mike - Published on
Alexis Ohanian’s, “Without Their Permission,” is a great book that outlines the new rules of entrepreneurship. Ohanian effectively explains that with the invention of the Internet, entrepreneurs now have the freedom to create and run lucrative businesses without going through conventional and often daunting avenues. As long as you are willing to learn some basic programming skills, taking your idea to the World Wide Web is easy and extremely affordable. Ohanian reflects on his positive experience with Y-Combinator to show that having a simple idea that solves a problem can evolve into a profitable and realistic venture. Also, he thoroughly discusses every step in creating an internet business; from starting with a basic idea to seeking funding and branding your product. “Without Their Permission” leaves no question unanswered. I am incredibly satisfied with how Ohanian authored this book. Overall, the book offers a fresh perspective to today’s and the future’s entrepreneur.

I am currently a student at University of Baltimore. I am taking a survey Entrepreneurship course and I am extremely grateful that my professor gave me this book as an assigned reading. Being a Reddit subscriber and a fan obviously helped in relating to the material. Ohanian’s insight was humorous, down-to-earth, and helpful. His personable account of his entrepreneurial journeys gives great hope to up-and-coming inventors. Ohanian’s humble demeanor is inspirational as well is his commitment to Y-Combinator and giving back to the community. We should all take a chapter from this book and apply it to our lives. Here’s to breadpig!
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