Kevin Rose – The Digg Story

Kevin Rose is the Founder and Chief Architect of Digg and according to some fuzzy math from BusinessWeek he is worth an estimated $60 million. Kevin, like Bill Gates, is a college drop out. As a Digg user and DiggNation fan I feel that Kevin’s talk was a rehash of what he always talks about. I feel that I could have learned more if he would spill the beans and inform the crowd on his relationship with Lala, of TikiBar fame. But alas, instead of speaking about Lala, Kevin went into his usual discourse of founding Digg from one idea to nine million page views.

As stated earlier, Kevin’s stake in Digg is estimated at some $60 million dollars. So what was his initial investment? Kevin started Digg with a mere $2000, a web developer working for $10/hour, and $99/month hosting plan. All the components that make up Digg are standard LAMP software. Kevin recommend that people launch on the cheap and use off the shelf platforms.

I thought Kevin’s philosophy on design was interesting. According to Kevin there are three schools of design. One is to have the developer do it, which shows that you aren’t even trying and earns you geek creed. The second school of design is to pay 100-500 dollars but people will notice that you paid as much. And finally, the third school of design is to pay thousands of dollar creative agency for a design with a lot of high defying fade affects.

Regarding features implemented on Digg, Kevin stated “I want that every feature we roll out to be a tool for self expression.” His design philosophy is simple and rewarding and that is visible in the one click digg, one click burry, and now one click my number one. I think he should patent the one click digg before Amazon does.

It seems like the fabled Friendster has become the anecdote of choice for those web 2.0 social web entrepreneurs that have become successful. Regarding Friendster, Kevin said that it was “great for people coming together and date but they didn’t have a task to perform.” I could think of a task to perform for people hooking up at Friendster. Continuing with the leasons learned from Friendster, Kevin said that scaling is tough but if you don’t scale “you can friendsterfy and lose users to another service.” Kevin mentioned that a great scaling resource is Inside LiveJournal’s Backend. As a final note, Kevin suggested that web 2.0 outfits should optimize their queries, hire experienced DBA, and use caching where needed.

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