Le Web 3: Kevin Rose of Digg

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Sarah Loves Kevin

In the fine tradition of Le Web 3 softball interviews, Sarah Lacy just gave Kevin Rose of Digg a warm, fluffy loving feeling up on stage, and she asked him again and again why he’s so awesome. I made a few notes in between the moments of nausea:

  • There was “no Web 2.0” when Rose started Digg. He would have been happy with it paying his rent through AdSense. At the time there were a handful of editors controlling the front pages – he wanted to empower the masses. (The masses being the top 100 users, presumably)
  • He recommends that you don’t start three companies at once. He also thinks that people raise investment capital too early sometimes – when they don’t need it. “Scares me when ideas are unproven”, he said. All three start-ups grown organically. Rose was working a day job when started he Digg. Pownce was launched the same way.
  • Lacy asked how he keeps control of the company now venture capital is involved. Apparently it’s a matter of picking the right investor. Yes, but how?

Oh, and Rose has got a bit of a downer for the Web 2.0 world right now. He’s seeing no innovation, and lots of clones. “Little bit of a bubble that way”. What will turn that around? Well, apparently it’ll be the existing innovators who are locked into contracts with the firms who bought their start-ups, once those lock-ins expire:

“If you have a drink with them, you realise that they’ve not just had one brilliant idea – there’s whole slew they want to try out. ”

Well, it’s nice to know that his drinking buddies will be along to save the web shortly.

Otherwise, things are getting better, because it’s “easier to hire technicians these days”, as they’re taking Web 2.0 companies “more seriously”.

No Q&A, alas. Never mind.

diggkevin roselewebsarah lacyweb 2.0web 2.0 bubble

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.