Members of the media pointed to the $500,000 sale of Digg’s assets as a fall from grace for one of the web’s original social sites. Founder Kevin Rose, now at Google Ventures, looks back on what he learned and how he’d like to be seen.
By the time Digg was portioned off for sale this year, company founder Kevin Rose wasn’t visiting the site anymore. He had already left Digg for other projects, including his own startup and a role at Google Ventures, and says it had become hard to see what happened to his “baby.” But even if Digg has changed since its initial roots, and he has regrets regarding some aspects of how things went, Rose is still proud of what the team accomplished.
“When I look at some of the early stuff we did in 2004 and early 2005, I’m proud of that,” he said Wednesday evening at the Founders Showcase event in Mountain View. “There are a lot of things where we were the first company to launch some of these social features on the web.”
Rose took the long view of his role at Digg Wednesday night (as Om did in the wake of Digg’s sale), reminiscing on some of the challenges he faced as a new entrepreneur and coming of age around the same time as other companies who eventually did the social-media thing better:
“I grew up in between Facebook and Twitter,” Rose said. “People took what we created and innovated on top of our creation to make something better. And it’s tough to maintain that,” he said, citing the realization that came when he heard people talking about news they’d seen on Twitter, rather than news they might have previously seen on Digg.
Rose also said that Digg hired individuals with very niche skills, like developers who only knew PHP and were not as useful once PHP went out of use.