As we detailed this morning, Reddit CEO Yishan Wong has resigned from the company after what Y Combinator President Sam Altman called a “disagreement with the board” about the location of Reddit’s new office.
If that reasoning sounds a bit strange to you, you’re not alone. Folks around the Internet are asking why someone would up and leave an exec role over what seems like a rather standard decision/disagreement.
And yet, Altman insists this is the reason — and notes that he, too, finds the whole thing a bit strange. In a comment thread on Hacker News, Altman adds a bit of clarity to what happened behind the scenes:
I realize that this sounds non-credible (and it’s certainly one of the craziest professional things I’ve ever been a part of), but it’s actually what happened.
Yishan wanted to move the office from SF to Daly City. The board pushed back but said we’d agree to it with certain data (we wanted Yishan to figure out how many employees would stay with the company through the move, get a comparison to other market rents, etc.–all questions I think a board should ask when thinking through a major commitment).
This is certainly not what I was expecting to be dealing with so quickly after investing in reddit, but we’ll make the best of it.
We’ll continue to keep an ear to the ground here, because the whole thing really does seem a bit strange.
You can read more on today’s Reddit leadership changes here.
Update at 9:40pm: Yishan has now commented on the departure and his reasoning:
All of the reasons that Sam has outlined in public are true. I know it sounds somewhat unbelieveable because it’s so weird, but if it was made up, I think any PR person would have come up with a better made-up story.
If there is a deeper reason, it is this:
The job as CEO of reddit is incredibly stressful and draining. After two and a half years, I’m basically completely worn out, and it was having significantly detrimental effects on my personal life. If anything, I probably pushed myself way too far – as a first-time CEO, all I knew was that such jobs are supposed to be stressful, so I never really had a good baseline, i.e. how stressful is too stressful, until multiple outside people and coaches I was working with remarked to me that I looked incredibly worn down for months on end and it wasn’t supposed to be this hard.
You can find Yishan’s full comment on Quora here.