In an interview that was almost a time capsule, Digg founder Kevin Rose and TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington took the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF exactly one year from the last time they talked onstage, where Rose had recently given up his interim position as Digg CEO and Arrington had just sold our company to AOL.
Just like last time, Rose began the talk referring to the mistakes he made at Digg and it was clear to all that the chemistry between the two founders was still there. 2011 Arrington managed to squeeze out of Rose an admission that the Twitter investor Rose had just sold Twitter stock, just like 2010 Arrington squeezed out an admission that Jay Adelson and Rose turned down an offer of $60 million dollars in cash plus $20 million for Digg.
It was fascinating to watch the two banter on stage a year and an eternity later, as both have since then achieved notoriety as investors. (In fact Arrington gave props to Rose, saying that his investments in Ngmoco, Twitter, Square, Foursquare, Fab.com, Formspring, and Daily Booth made him a “good investor.” No kidding.) Both are on the cusp of moving on to other projects — Rose to his new project “Milk” and Arrington to the Crunchfund.
“Will Digg have cultural relevance?” Arrington asked at the end of the talk, remarking that as a community we need some closure on Rose’s first company. “It’s tough,” Rose responded, saying that Digg’s traffic was at 20 million uniques last month, to which Arrington added optimistically that the company brings in $10-$15 million in yearly revenue. “Can they pull off something that gets 20 million people to say, ‘This is the coolest shit ever?’,” Rose asked rhetorically.
Whatever happens, “Digg will not remain the same,” Rose said, referring to a series of product launches the startup has planned shortly. Arrington excused himself for being slightly negative about the startups’ prospects, “I’m always fascinated by the shiny new thing.”
Rose responded a little bit later with, “My problem has been trying to focus.”
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
Last year’s interview, below.