Proust Goes Tech With Chris Tolles, CEO of Topix

Chris Tolles is the founder of Topix, a community-managed local news and discussion network that raised $15 million as part of its Series B in November 2016.

If you had a full day, you could easily spend it chatting with Tolles about what his company stores on its servers. But the only topic we wanted to discuss with Tolles was himself.

Happily, the self-described “slightly over the top” founder took the time to answer Crunchbase News’ Proust Questionnaire-inspired questions.


What would you otherwise be doing right now?

In a different time, I would be the captain of a small clipper ship.

Your main fault?

Giving too much rope to people who, in the end, I should’ve not.

The quality you most desire in a tweet?

Humorous insight. A tweet should make you think, reveal something, and also make you smile.

Your idea of misery

Having to hear people complain about the platforms they are using to complain on.

What do you appreciate the most in your friends?

Forbearance (and yet still holding me accountable).

Your chief characteristic

Grit. The ability to keep going towards something with a goal in mind, whether its relationships or business, while managing through difficulty and time.

What skill do you wish you possessed?

The ability not to say what I think.

Your most impactful book?

Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham.

What defines success?

Making an impact on the world that is personally meaningful to you, that’s often manifested on the people around you.

When is confidence lost?

When betrayal begins. When you feel that the situation or people involved are acting in bad faith.

What virtues do others have that you don’t?

The ability to see things purely.

What impact do you want to leave behind?

That people will say it was good working with you.

What’s the biggest problem tech is failing to solve?

What to do with the people we are displacing, [and] what to do with labor. Our job is to do away with labor, and yet we are also not thinking of context of what happens after that…. That chicken is going to come home to roost, and it is doing so now.

Find all Crunchbase News’ Proust On Tech pieces here.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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