We Are the Nerds

The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit, the Internet's Culture Laboratory


By Christine Lagorio-Chafkin

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Named a Best Book of 2018 by Fast Company, this is a “sharply written and brilliantly reported” (Shelf Awareness) look inside Reddit, the wildly popular, often misunderstood website that has changed the culture of the Internet.

Reddit hails itself as “the front page of the Internet.” It’s the third most-visited website in the United States — and yet, millions of Americans have no idea what it is.

We Are the Nerds is an engrossing look deep inside this captivating, maddening enterprise, whose army of obsessed users have been credited with everything from solving cold case crimes and spurring tens of millions of dollars in charitable donations to seeding alt-right fury and landing Donald Trump in the White House. We Are the Nerds is a gripping start-up narrative: the story of how Reddit’s founders, Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian, rose up from their suburban childhoods to become millionaires and create an icon of the digital age — before seeing the site engulfed in controversies and nearly losing control of it for good.

Based on Christine Lagorio-Chafkin’s exclusive access to founders Ohanian and Huffman, We Are the Nerds is also a compelling exploration of the way we all communicate today — and how we got here. Reddit and its users have become a mirror of the Internet: it has dingy corners, shiny memes, malicious trolls, and a sometimes heart-melting ability to connect people across cultures, oceans, and ideological divides.


Author’s Note

I woke up in Austin, Texas, on March 13, 2011, to an email from Alexis Ohanian. He explained that I must have swapped business cards with one of his programmer colleagues the prior evening, because mine had been passed on to him “for safekeeping.” That was certainly possible; it was my first time navigating the five days of over-the-top marketing stunts and extreme networking known as the South by Southwest Interactive Festival, and as a new reporter for Inc., I’d swapped a lot of cards. Ohanian proposed a coffee. He wanted to introduce me to his business partner, a hacker who had started a new tech company. Hours later, at a café called Halcyon on Lavaca Street, I was seated across from Steve Huffman.

Huffman pitched me on his new travel-search website, Hipmunk, which allowed people to sort flights based on the “agony” their itineraries would induce. Once he’d finished, Ohanian gave me a vinyl luggage tag featuring a chipmunk wearing old-timey aviator goggles.

I didn’t want a luggage tag, and, if I’m really being honest, I didn’t care a great deal about Hipmunk. I’d jumped on the meeting because I had an inkling these two young men might be remarkable. Huffman and Ohanian had started Reddit back in 2005, a few weeks after they graduated college—long before they started slinging plane tickets.

By this time, in early 2011, if you were working in media you were keenly aware of the “Reddit hug of death.” That is to say, when a news story was endorsed (“upvoted,” it’s called) by enough Reddit users (“Redditors,” they’re called) to earn a spot on the site’s homepage, it would send your website so much lucrative traffic that it could cripple your servers. At the time, Reddit had just exceeded a billion page views, after tripling in traffic over the past year. But Reddit was more interesting than the raw numbers. Huffman and Ohanian had created a Petri dish for discussion and proliferation of the most interesting, funny, and awful parts of the Internet. The site was gloriously anarchic, allowing users rather than individual editors to select the stories front-page readers were shown. This led to stunts, memes, nerdy in-jokes, and massive collective acts of charity. It also resulted in lots of limit-pushing, so that you’d often find hate speech and misogyny smattered in with the derpy dog photos and Star Wars memes. Entire separate forums were dedicated to fat shaming, racist ideologies, and revenge porn.

One currency of Reddit is known as “karma”—points awarded to users for creating popular posts or comments. Another, increasingly, seemed to be raw outrage. Users debated everything, but especially the decisions of forums’ moderators and Reddit’s own policy and enforcement. Watching controversy unfold became known as “munching on popcorn,” as if the lurker had a front-row seat to a feature film.

How, I wondered, did something this nutty and sprawling—this mirror of the entire Internet—come out of the brains of these two apparently normal guys?

*  *  *

My curiosity about Reddit would not be sated on that day in Austin. Huffman and Ohanian had left Reddit years ago by this point and had measured interest in talking about it. But I was persistent, and back in Brooklyn, Ohanian and I met at a café on Atlantic Avenue halfway between his loft overlooking the Brooklyn waterfront and the apartment I shared with four roommates on noisy Flatbush Avenue. He told me the Reddit origin story.

It was the most improbable startup journey I’d ever heard. I wanted to learn everything. The next time we met, I pitched Ohanian on speaking to me exclusively for a book. I also flew to San Francisco and asked Huffman to give me his time and attention for the same purpose. They both said yes. I knew I’d gotten extremely lucky, but I didn’t know that by this time, just months since I’d first met them, squeezed shoulder-to-shoulder in a tiny coffee shop booth, the two men were no longer on speaking terms. There was plenty more I didn’t know. An ocean, really.

Over the next few years, I conducted dozens of interviews, racked up introductions to current and former Reddit employees, and pored over leaked chat logs and old photographs. In the meantime, Reddit, as its userbase swelled and its leadership tried to transform it into a profitable company, underwent a series of staffing convulsions and scandals that would have proven the downfall of many startups. A well-regarded Silicon Valley insider was installed as the new CEO, and, in the midst of a massive pornography scandal, raised $50 million. Shortly after, he flamed out under mysterious circumstances.

Silicon Valley feminist hero Ellen Pao, who famously sued a top venture capital firm for gender discrimination, was promoted to chief executive. In 2015, Pao too would be forced out after a user revolt that included sexist attacks, personal threats, and which culminated in a near-site-wide blackout. It appeared as if Reddit’s enormous community, by then the seventh most popular site on the American Internet, might snuff itself out.

During Reddit’s roller-coaster adolescence, Ohanian’s and Huffman’s stars had risen. After becoming the face of the tech world’s efforts to solve net neutrality, Ohanian wrote a book and became an in-demand speaker at U.S. college campuses and tech conferences. Huffman followed a less flashy, though no less impressive path; he became one of the startup world’s most respected chief technology officers. Life hadn’t been all rainbows, though. There was the widening rift in the friendship of the two founders. Also, Ohanian’s mother had died of brain cancer, Huffman’s marriage was deteriorating, and in early 2013, their onetime friend and business partner, the hacker wunderkind Aaron Swartz, under indictment for wire fraud and computer fraud, had hanged himself in his Brooklyn apartment.

It seemed like a hell of a story: Two nice guys who made it, by crafting something incredible and yet ridiculously unwieldy, with no lack of turbulence along the way. I continued interviewing Huffman and Ohanian, hearing their founding and life stories, through all of it. Then something remarkable happened: Pao dramatically resigned from Reddit, and Huffman made the long-considered and difficult decision to step back in. He would return to the helm of his creation as chief executive. Ohanian would be alongside him, on the board and in an operational role, too, evangelizing for the company’s future. The looming question was whether Huffman’s leadership could turn the whole misdirected enterprise around. Ohanian called me on my cell that evening.

Now, this, I thought, this is a book.

*  *  *

Over the years of reporting and researching, I had a close look at three eras of leadership at Reddit. I watched the site’s community heave and grow to hundreds of millions of people, who at turns participated in extraordinarily uplifting moments, and at others engaged in hateful, harmful behavior, and even mutinied against the very system that had nurtured them. I was rapt by the hyperpoliticized lead-up to the 2016 election on Reddit, which had already kindled some of the roots of the modern alt-right’s digital strategy, and was, we’d later learn, providing a fertile ground for Russian propagandists. Reddit was also where Donald Trump’s most vociferous online community had taken root.

When I began working on this book, Reddit had a couple dozen employees spread across several cities; it was a ramshackle operation. In part because Huffman and Ohanian had already let me into their lives, I wound up with a view into the inner workings of the company once they returned in 2015, something extraordinarily rare for a company of its size. Today, Reddit is America’s third most popular website, with more than three hundred employees and a valuation of more than $1 billion.

To tell the story of the twelve years of Reddit, I interviewed more than a hundred people—current and former Reddit employees, investors, friends, family, competitors—over the course of six years. I also relied on hundreds of photographs, emails, and documents I obtained. My sources did not always agree with one another, of course. This book’s narrative is most heavily influenced by the perspectives of sources whose memories have proven to be both sturdy and rich, and who proved over time to be consistent and reliable. I’ve done my best to render scenes as they happened. I’ve reconstructed dialogue very rarely; when I have, I’ve done it in both the spirit and natural speech pattern of the speaker, usually with consent, and always with assistance, either from the individual, multiple other reliable sources, or documentation. Any dialogue attributed to Huffman or Ohanian was spoken to me, by one of them. I’ve changed one woman’s name out of respect for her privacy. It is marked at first mention with an asterisk.

Avid Redditors may bristle at certain formalities, such as seeing “Reddit” capitalized, which Reddit itself didn’t do for many years, and which I’ve done for consistency. Sorry, guys. When quoting company posts, documents, emails, and comment threads on Reddit, though, I’ve mostly left typos in place. They, in their own small ways, help tell the story.

As one might say on Reddit, enjoy your popcorn.

Part I

This Guy Has No Shame

Alexis Ohanian squinted into the silver early evening light, his eyes darting all over Harvard’s quad. From the steps of Emerson Hall, he could see spindly trees and an expansive lawn webbed by narrow paved footpaths—but he didn’t see a kiosk. What did that even mean, kiosk? Ohanian looked at his feet for a moment before taking a breath and locking eyes with Steve Huffman, his best friend for the past four years. Huffman immediately recognized that look. It was Ohanian’s “oh shit” face.

Minutes earlier, the pair had left a lecture in a small third-floor auditorium in Harvard’s Emerson Hall. To arrive at this auditorium, numbered 304, Huffman and Ohanian had traveled fourteen hours north to Boston on multiple trains; they’d made arrangements to crash for the weekend with distant friends. They had come to see a man little known to the general public. Among a particular niche of programmers, however, Paul Graham was a legend. It was perhaps the nerdiest senior-year spring break in history.

Graham had cofounded Viaweb, an online shopping engine that earned him notoriety once he sold it to Yahoo for almost $50 million. Graham wasn’t just a hacker; he was a former artist who’d gone on to write both a programming language and a renowned spam-fighting technology, and he had most recently become known as a prolific online essayist and author. His essays, with titles such as “Why Nerds Are Unpopular” and “Return of the Mac,” had become required reading for programmers and aspiring entrepreneurs like Huffman and Ohanian. When Huffman had discovered online that Graham would be speaking at Harvard—and that it would occur during his spring break—he knew he had to be there.

After the speech, Huffman and Ohanian, determined to make the most out of their long journey, had risen from their seats and made their way to the front of room 304. Soon they were standing just inches from their idol. Ohanian knew Huffman was nervous, so he spoke first. He told Graham they were big fans, and then thrust Huffman’s soft and worn copy of Graham’s book On Lisp: Advanced Techniques for Common Lisp into Graham’s hands, asking him to autograph it. Graham chuckled. It was the first time anyone had ever asked him to sign his manual for an obscure computer programming language. As Graham scrawled his name, Ohanian blurted that he and Huffman would love to buy Graham a drink if he’d listen to their pitch for a company they were trying to start.

“I guess since you came all the way from Virginia I can’t say no,” Graham said, figuring he had part of the evening to kill and that the conversation would at least be flattering. “We’ll meet at the kiosk,” Graham said. He turned away to shake other hands.

The kiosk? Shit. Huffman and Ohanian had been too stunned in Graham’s presence to ask what he meant.

“I had no fucking idea what ‘the kiosk’ was,” Ohanian explained later. For a moment, on the steps of Emerson Hall, Ohanian wondered if their quixotic trip north would come to nothing. He tried to calm himself, but frantically scrolled through the rudimentary web browser on his cell phone, attempting to find contact information for Paul Graham. Nothing.

This looked bleak. Senior year had begun winding down at the University of Virginia, where Ohanian had abruptly ceased studying for the LSAT, having decided that being a lawyer required too much faking and bullshit. He vastly preferred smoking weed, hanging out with his friends, and dreaming up ideas for little companies or charities with potential to make a dent in the universe. Ohanian had majored in business, but he’d always had a philanthropic bent. Since high school, he had made a hobby of assisting not-for-profit organizations. Huffman, who had spent time in Silicon Valley and admired successful technology companies, had an infectious zeal for startups, and, recently, Ohanian had caught from him the startup bug. Now they together dreamed of creating a tech company of their own—and they had an idea. So here they were, at this moment in Cambridge, a day’s journey from the house they shared with six other college seniors in Charlottesville, with what felt like their entire future hinging on getting advice from Paul Graham.

*  *  *

Finally, twenty minutes after the appointed time, Graham appeared in Harvard Square at the tourist information kiosk, which the young men had eventually located. As Graham walked up, they were plain to spot: Huffman, with his thick shock of gold hair, resembled Schroeder from the Peanuts comic strip sprung to life and grown tall, and Ohanian, even taller, with warm brown eyes, still beaming as he’d been when he introduced himself earlier.

The trio walked up Brattle Street. Graham—too young to be their father, but rather paternal-looking in khaki shorts and a loose polo, a few grays sneaking into his sandy brown hair—took the lead. Minutes later, the boys were seated across from him at Café Algiers, a Cambridge classic. At the meeting’s outset, Graham was tranquil. As Ohanian made small talk with him, Huffman, too socially awkward to know he should order a drink, just slurped down water. But the pair weren’t just there to chat. They were there to pitch.

The idea was one Huffman had schemed up, and for which Huffman alone would write the original code. But tonight, he mostly kept his mouth shut. From the moment he had told Ohanian back in the auditorium that they should go up and talk to Graham, he meant—and Ohanian understood—we go up and you talk to Graham.

As hummus appeared at the table, Ohanian got down to business.

*  *  *

Steve Huffman had been both perplexed and thrilled the first time he encountered the name Alexis Ohanian.

It was freshman move-in day at University of Virginia in the fall of 2001. Huffman had just unpacked a couple suitcases into a cramped room on the first floor of a dormitory called Hancock House in the old part of campus. While hauling a load of stuff from his mom’s car, he passed doors bearing the names of new occupants. There was ThaiHuu The Nguyen on the first door. Whoa. Huffman couldn’t wait to meet that guy. Farther down the hall, there was a room with the name Alexis Ohanian. Huffman’s mother, who was helping him move in, turned to her son and asked, “Oh, is this a coed floor?” Huffman shrugged. Silently, he thought, God, that would be fantastic.

Later that day, a group of freshman girls meandered downstairs from the upper two floors of Hancock—which were in fact occupied by women—to meet the guys who’d moved into the lower two. The ladies popped into Huffman’s room, where a few young men were already getting to know each other. “There were girls in my room,” Huffman remembers. “And we were talking.” This. Was. Epic.

Just then, Huffman heard a rap on his open door, and caught a whiff of melted butter and chocolate. In walked a super-tall guy with a flannel shirt draped over his slouched shoulders. A paper plate was balanced on one of his hands. “Hello, ladies!” he said. “I have this plate of warm cookies.”

His name was Alexis, and he most definitely did not possess two X chromosomes. His look seemed modeled after that of Jason Newsted, the bassist in Metallica: There was the plaid flannel, an oversized, tattered T-shirt, and on his head a stringy, grunge-inspired mop of hair. For some of the year his hair would be dyed green; at times Ohanian also maintained a smattering of lower-chin and upper-neck fuzz, which Huffman would soon refer to as “chin pubes.”

As Ohanian handed out his cookies to the young women, Huffman thought, “This guy has no shame.”

It wasn’t long before Huffman grew to appreciate Ohanian’s uninhibited streak. “That’s the fun thing about hanging out with Alexis: He will say anything to anybody, either on a dare, or he’ll think of it himself first,” Huffman said.

As conceited as Ohanian seemed to Huffman that first day, making college friends was something that had put him on edge for months. He worried that he’d be a loner—particularly, that no one would be there to do what he loved: playing video games. Looking back, Ohanian can barely surface a memory of the girls, or the cookies—but what struck him that first week in the dorm was seeing Huffman playing Gran Turismo. He thought, “There is hope! There is a gamer in the building.”

They became fast friends. Huffman explained, “I was always kind of an asshole, and he always had super-high self-confidence, so we just kind of got along well. I could kind of make fun of him, or we could kind of make fun of other people.” Although they communicated differently, Huffman and Ohanian soon realized that they saw the world through similar lenses. Their mutual addiction to video games didn’t hurt.

Initially, their joint fixation was Gran Turismo, a PlayStation 2 game heralded for its realistic, quick-rendering graphics and accurate—for the era—simulations of the physics involved in auto racing. But Gran Turismo was just a gateway fix to a more obscure game called Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. The team-based shooter was still in beta when the guys in Hancock took it up as a collective hobby. For optimal play, the game required many players, each on a computer, to form a team of soldiers in a D-Day-like sea-land battlefield. One team starts in the water and rushes the beach. The other team defending the land is essentially the Nazis. “We used to play that scenario over and over again, just hundreds of times. So we all got very, very good at it,” Huffman said.

When the young men of Hancock House took on neighboring old-campus dorm residents in a Wolfenstein competition, it was barely a contest: The first floor of Hancock crushed every other team definitively. “It was so epic and funny, we were just screaming and laughing,” said Nguyen, who went by Huu, and who bonded with Huffman and Ohanian over video games and blasting heavy metal.

*  *  *

Steven Ladd Huffman, born in 1983 in Lansing, Michigan, was always a bright kid, serious and observant. His grandmother called him an old soul. His mother, Jeanette Irby, suspects he was born wired to engineer: His first object of affection as a baby was a vacuum cleaner, which he would investigate and hug. Through his childhood he retained that wrinkled-brow look of skepticism that usually vanishes once a baby reaches toddlerdom.

In school, he was quiet, but excelled easily—that was, when he could focus. Huffman’s parents had divorced when he was five, and his mom moved him and his sister to Warrenton, Virginia, a quiet and affluent outer suburb of Washington, D.C. Both his mother and father remarried within a few years and each had two more sons. The resulting family logistics necessitated that Huffman—whose family calls him Steven—and his one-year-younger sister, Amanda, were left largely to their own devices. They were a unit, two bright-blond, saucer-eyed, pale kids, occasionally dressed in matching outfits, often mistaken for twins. Amanda and Steven shuttled between families and states for holidays and long summers in Michigan or Buffalo, New York.

By middle school Huffman was still scrawny, and more outgoing kids pushed him around. His mom stepped in and ushered in a new era of his life that he recalls as a formative change. She transferred the siblings to Wakefield School, a tiny private college-prep school in nearby The Plains, Virginia. Just twenty-six classmates graduated with Huffman, and most were with him from seventh grade through graduation. At Wakefield, the Huffman siblings excelled. They each won Athlete of the Year (he was MVP of cross-country and volleyball; she of soccer), and together they edited the school’s literary magazine. They were student body president and vice president. Outside of school, they together took up ballroom dancing.

The one aspect of Huffman’s Wakefield years that didn’t seem ripped from a Wes Anderson film was his deep love for computers. He’d been dabbling in programming since he was eight years old. His dad encouraged early web browsing by giving young Huffman access to AOL—before the “Eternal September” of 1993 when AOL opened up Usenet access and connected millions of new users to the Internet proper. Summers with his dad were time for offline engineering, too: He would roam the cul-de-sacs with buddies, find discarded appliances such as a lawn mower or a washing machine, and tinker with and repair them.

Back home in Virginia, Steven’s stepdad, Jeff Irby, was also into technology and happily supplied Steven and Amanda with Nintendo and assorted gadgetry. Thanks to Steven’s tinkering, his mom, an attorney, would sometimes arrive home in the evening to find that he had fried something electronic; sometimes it would be a singed telephone jack, or on one occasion, all three garage-door remotes. In 1994, in an attempt to give him an outlet for his technical explorations, his mom and stepdad gave their then eleven-year-old boy exactly what he wanted for Christmas: a computer. Steven wept tears of joy.

At one point when Steven was in middle school, his stepdad, Irby, took him along on a trip to Silicon Valley, where Irby worked for a startup called CyberCash. It was a short-lived banking startup, with all the early hurdles PayPal faced, but without the funding to clear them. Some of the dynamic in terms of the ongoing dot-com boom was lost on Huffman (he was still an early teenager), but he was smitten by the allure of a super-fast Internet connection. Back in Virginia, he had a snail-paced 2,400-bit-per-second modem. Some of his friends had better 56Ks. CyberCash had a T1 line, approximately 1.5 megabytes per second: epic. Huffman went on a video-game-downloading and -playing tear. He was sold on the awesomeness of the Bay Area.

*  *  *

Alexis Kerry Ohanian was born in 1983 in Brooklyn, the only child of doting parents who built their life around his. When he was a toddler, they bought a home in Ridgewood, Queens, not far from Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Within years they deemed it unsafe, and uprooted to lush and affluent Columbia, Maryland, with its lawns and playgrounds and well-rated public schools. Alexis attended high school nearby, in one of America’s quintessential large-scale planned communities, Ellicott City. His mom, Anke, a German immigrant, worked as a pharmacy technician during night shifts so she could be home for as many of Alexis’s waking hours as possible. His father, Chris, ran a small travel agency that he’d built from scratch while his son was in school. He made a comfortable middle-class living, modest by the standards of one of the nation’s most affluent zip codes.

Ohanian was a confident kid, always outgoing and usually pleasant-natured, though a bit of a rascal. When his German-speaking grandmother visited while he was in preschool, he noticed that she eagerly checked the mail. He took to telling her, “Kein Post für du!” (No mail for you!) In grade school he dreamed of playing professional football, but in his spare time he could mostly be found playing Dungeons and Dragons. When asked where he’d like to be in twenty years, the chubby-cheeked kid with chestnut brown bangs and a bowl cut wrote in his grade-school yearbook, “I will probably have rocket-high sales of my comic book, and live the rest of my life in luxury.” But his mother’s huge heart had already infected his own: “40% of the money I will earn will be used to fight cancer and other deadly sicknesses,” he added. (Perhaps his father’s business sense had influenced him, too: 40 percent. He wasn’t looking to give up the whole farm in fifth grade.)

Ohanian was social, outgoing, and remarkably loyal. His earliest friends, a group of about six guys, all of whom he met before second grade, were by high school still his best buddies. One, Jon Swyers, was hospitalized at age twelve, and recalls that Ohanian came to visit every single day. By high school the guys were still close, and they coached Ohanian through losing a bunch of weight (on top of stubborn baby fat, he’d put on some pounds after a leg injury had resulted in a lot of sitting around playing GoldenEye 007


  • "This is the untold story of how one of the world's most popular websites was hatched--and how it took on a mind of its own. It's a gripping read, and it's full of lessons for building startups and organizing communities."—Adam Grant, NewYork Times bestselling author of Originals, Give and Take,and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg
  • "We Are the Nerds is the best, grittiest, most accurate book yet about what it's like to build a startup and a community from scratch (a struggle I know well). And it's a great story; truly fun to read! Lagorio-Chafkin takes us back to a formative time for the modern web, helping us understand what can go wrong--and right!--when we try to harness the power of online community (and make money along the way)."—John Zeratsky, formerdesign partner, Google Ventures, and New York Times bestselling authorof Sprint and Make Time
  • "I've heard every start-up story you can imagine, but Reddit's is as fascinating as it gets. Christine has captured what it really looks like to start a company and turned Reddit's struggle for success into a gripping, entertaining book that is a must-read for every entrepreneur."—Daymond John, star ofABC's Shark Tank, bestselling author of Rise and Grind, andfounder of FUBU
  • "Lagorio-Chafkin's book is incisive, witty, and brilliantly written. She gives you a front-row seat to the world-altering consequences of the decisions made by a cast of compelling, though sometimes stumbling, humans on the front lines of the Internet--nerds and all."—Emily Chang, authorof the national bestseller Brotopia
  • "Christine Lagorio-Chafkin has stepped into a male-centric genre, the start-up narrative, and produced a book of monumental power and importance: a rich, thoughtful chronicle of Reddit that grapples just as brilliantly with the dark side of tech--its trolls, its problems with gender and diversity--as it does its culture-shattering innovations. I was wowed by this book."—Liza Mundy, NewYork Times bestselling author of Michelle and Code Girls
  • "Excellent.... Learn how the internet's front page got its mojo back."—Business Insider
  • "A classic 'we were coders once, and young' tale.... Lagorio-Chafkin fearlessly explores Reddit's dark edges."—Wall Street Journal
  • "Really three tales in one ... that of a scrappy start-up destined for web domination,... [the] technologists, entrepreneurs and iconoclasts seeking to reshape the world, ... [and] the rise of social media from the perspective of one of its most important players.... The reader feels like Forrest Gump, stumbling from one remarkable event or person to the next... We Are the Nerds describes how Reddit began. The real story is how the site and its ilk will change the world. On that, we're still in Act One."—Nature
  • "Fascinating.... . Drawing on dozens of original interviews with Reddit's founders and employees, old chat logs and photographs and e-mails, Lagorio-Chafkin .... re-creates key moments in novelistic detail.... Sharply written and brilliantly reported, We Are the Nerds is an eye-opening look at how Reddit helped shape contemporary Internet and political culture in the United States."—ShelfAwareness (starred review)
  • "Lagorio-Chafkin's assured narrative makes even crashing servers the stuff suspense thrillers are made of."—Mental Floss
  • "[We Are the Nerds] tells the inside story of how Reddit came to be the Internet's 'id.'"—Ars Technica
  • "A great book."
    Bloomberg Radio

On Sale
Oct 2, 2018
Page Count
512 pages
Hachette Books

Christine Lagorio-Chafkin

About the Author

Christine Lagorio-Chafkin is an award-winning journalist who has covered culture, emerging technologies, and entrepreneurship for the past fifteen years. She is senior writer at Inc. magazine and her work has appeared in many other publications, including the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Washington Post. She was raised on a sheep farm in rural Wisconsin and now lives in New York City with her husband, cats, and toddlers. Her favorite subreddits are r/blep and r/ShowerThoughts.

Learn more about this author