Over a lunch of pizza in Beckham Hall on Dec. 5, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, a serial entrepreneur and author of Without Their Permission, addressed a crowded hall of nearly 200 students. He spoke on the importance of the internet, which allows us to access “an incredible amount of information,” and our ability to make use of it to develop new ideas, through maintaining an entrepreneurial mindset. Asking for a showing of hands of those involved in their own creative endeavors, he invited students to seize all opportunities to tell people about their idea—and to view all failures as the initial step in becoming an expert. He also chatted with Peter Frank ’12, founder and CEO of Texts.com, a text-book exchange site, about startups, creativity and freedom of information.
Afterwards, he signed copies of his book, Without their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed, shaking hands, asking each about his or her project, offering encouragement.
Peter Frank ’12, now CEO of Texts.com and one of the sponsors of the luncheon, has been interested in entrepreneurship since middle school. He has built several businesses and sold hundreds of domain names. In January 2011, he sold the nation’s largest anonymous college confession board.
After graduation, Frank, an English major at Wesleyan, served for six months as a “jack of all trades” associate at Hatch Labs, a mobile app incubator, and has interned at Demand Media and Capital Group, where he was a member of the TAP Program.
Other sponsors for the luncheon were the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship and the Wesleyan Career Center. A video of the event will be available through these offices.