There sure are a lot of Q&A sites on the Internet, but not all Q&A sites are the same. In the Founder Stories video above, Stack Exchange CEO Joel Spolsky talks about the origins of Q&A sites and his competition. Stack Exchange operates Stack Overflow and other peer-reviewed knowledge sites. Spolsky minces no words in his contempt for the Big Daddy of Q&A sites, Yahoo Answers.
“Yahoo Answers is Teenage chat,” says Spolsky. “Nobody wants to find Yahoo Answers in their search results. It is one-sentence gibberish.” Stack Overflow, in contrast, goes deep. Stack Overflow users gain reputation by giving the best answers, and answers are peer-reviewed. It doesn’t cover every topic under the sun, either, just programming.
Stack Overflow is often compared to Quora, another geeky Q&A site that attracts tons of smart people. With Stack Exchange, Spolsky is broadening to other topics and communities such as cooking and photography, but he will only go where his audience takes him.
Given its roots with programmers, that means that new Stack Exchange verticals may not be as mainstream as those of competing sites, but that’s okay with Spolsky. The Stack Exchange sites are still growing 40 percent to 50 percent per month.
Stack Exchange is a network of free, community-driven Q&A sites. Stack Exchange was created by the founders of Stack Overflow. Stack Overflow is a community knowledge exchange for programmers.
Joel Spolsky is a globally-recognized expert on the software development process. His website Joel on Software is popular with software developers around the world and has been translated into over thirty languages. As the co-founder of Fog Creek Software in New York City, he created FogBugz, a popular project management system for software teams. Joel has worked at Microsoft, where he designed VBA as a member of the Excel team, and at Juno Online Services, developing an Internet client...
Chris Dixon is a Partner at and co-founder of Founder Collective. He is also a contributing writer for TechCrunch. He previously was the CEO and Co-founder of SiteAdvisor, which was acquired by McAfee, and Hunch, which was acquired by eBay. In addition to his work with Founder’s Collective, Chris is a personal investor in early-stage technology companies, including Skype, TrialPay, DocVerse, Invite Media, Gerson Lehrman Group, ScanScout, OMGPOP, BillShrink, Oddcast, Panjiva, Knewton, and a handful of other startups that...