Yishan Wong leaves Reddit because he’s “completely worn out”

Former Reddit CEO Yishan Wong, whose departure from the microblogging site was announced yesterday, explained that he left the job because he was “completely worn out.”

In a post on Quora, Wong described his job running Reddit as “incredibly stressful and draining” and ruinous to his health.

“After two and a half years, I’m basically completely worn out, and it was having significantly detrimental effects on my personal life,” Wong wrote.  “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.”

Wong was replaced by Ellen Pao, Reddit’s business and partnerships strategist, and former partner at fabled Silicon Valley venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, which she has sued for sex discrimination. That case goes to a jury trial in February. Pao will serve as Reddit interim chief executive, company leaders announced on Thursday. According to Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator and a Reddit investor, Wong’s departure was prompted by a disagreement over moving Reddit to a new office.

In his post on Quora, Wong said that was true.

“All of the reasons that Sam has outlined in public are true. I know it sounds somewhat unbelievable because it’s so weird,” he said.

After the company raised $50 million from investors in September, Reddit management, including Wong, required that the company’s global employees relocate to San Francisco — or leave the company — which caused discontent throughout the Reddit community. Some employees said Reddit didn’t pay them enough to move from places like Utah to one of the most expensive markets in the country. Then, when it came time to relocate from one San Francisco office to another, Wong put his foot down, Reddit sources say, and said he wanted to move the company to Daly City.

“I felt that locating an office in San Francisco proper is an incredibly difficult thing given the strains the city is facing and the high rents it imposes on employees who wish to live close to the office,” Wong said. “On the other hand, many of our current employees live there so the proposal to find an office location just outside the city (Daly City is immediately to the southwest outside of SF) was very unpopular.”

Reddit’s newly appointed Executive Chairman Alexis Ohanian, Reddit co-founder who returned to the company in this recent executive shuffle, has said he is hopeful Pao will quickly become the permanent CEO. What is certain, however, is that Wong won’t be stepping foot back into Reddit’s executive suite.

Said Wong:  “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t relieved to have the burden off my shoulders.”

 

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