Digg founder Kevin Rose took the stage here at TCDisrupt today to talk to TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington about the future of Digg among other things. Rose referred to his brief five month stint as CEO after former co-founder Jay Adelson left as something that was less than pleasant.
“I think of myself as a PM [product manager] and creative director, so it was hard being a cheerleader for 60 some employees — 10 to 15 employees is where I max out. I like to ship product and rollout features and when you can’t do that it’s frustrating.”
Digg’s most recent foray into product has definitely been a learning experience for Rose, “I thought we had a better solution than ‘Upcoming,’” he said referring to the beloved feature on the old Digg that showed you stories that were about to hit the Digg front page. Digg removing the feature on V4 was the focal point of much user dissatisfaction and Rose ended up having to return it to the site on its own tab and also at http://digg.com/upcoming.
One revelation that came up during the talk? Jay Adelson, Rose and Digg crew turned down an offer of $60 million dollars in cash plus $20 million in earnout during the trajectory of the social news site. Rose told Arrington that he didn’t regret turning down the offer, which we’re guessing came either from Current or Google (Rose refused to disclose).
Rose told TechCrunch that while turning down the offer and his now infamous “Valley Boys” Business Week cover are among the things he doesn’t regret during a career filled with ups and downs, he hopes that startup founders can avoid some his other stumbles, such focusing on Digg revenue instead of building out features and not slowly rolling out Version 4 to users.
Says Rose, “I’m trying to help entrepreneurs avoid the mistakes I made, because I made a lot of them.”
Digg is a user driven social content website. Everything on Digg is user-submitted. After you submit content, other people read your submission and “Digg” what they like best. If your story receives enough Diggs, it’s promoted to the front page for other visitors to see. Kevin Rose came up with the idea for Digg in the fall of 2004. He found programmer Owen Byrne through eLance and paid him $10/hour to develop the idea. In addition, Rose paid $99...