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Reddit’s gain is Hipmunk’s half-loss — or that’s how the parties are spinning it.
Steve Huffman, the co-founder and first CEO of Reddit, who left the popular community and content-sharing site in 2009, is returning as CEO of Reddit in the wake of the resignation under fire of Ellen Pao.
Reddit board member Sam Altman wrote that the company had been planning to do a CEO search and assumed that Huffman was unavailable. It turns out that he was available despite his duties at Hipmunk.
The hitch for Hipmunk is that Huffman is a Hipmunk co-founder and its highly influential chief technology officer. Hipmunk co-founder and CEO Adam Goldstein met Huffman at what Goldstein describes as a “nerd conference,” Foo Camp, when Goldstein was in high school and the two went on to co-found Hipmunk in 2010.
Asked what Huffman’s return to Reddit will mean for Hipmunk, Goldstein said July 10: “It means the rest of the team is going to step up on the day-to-day, since Steve will now be splitting his time between the companies.” Huffman also will remain on the Hipmunk board as he tries to right the ship at Reddit, which put down a rebellion last week among many of its influential moderators.
Both companies are headquartered in San Francisco.
Reddit users still haven’t been given an explanation for the firing of popular talent director Victoria Taylor, who managed the Ask Me Anything subreddit.
Will Huffman be able to handle the full-time CEO role and challenges at Reddit and moonlight at Hipmunk too?
There would have to be a lot of stepping up among the Hipmunk product/technology team to make this work, or perhaps it will turn out to be just a short-term arrangement.
A lot of people would argue that Kayak lost its product mojo when co-founder and CTO Paul English left the company. Huffman is not totally abandoning Hipmunk but his energies will be elsewhere.