Now that the new Digg has launched, giving the site a new lease on life, Digg founder Kevin Rose decided it was time to finally address the many questions the public has had about his role in the site's decline.
After a brief delay that sparked some community outrage, Rose took part in Reddit's "Ask Me Anything" series, and his answers to Redditors' questions were enlightening.
Using video to respond to the most often asked questions about his Internet career, Rose, seated in a dark office in San Francisco, offered some honest insight into his highly scrutinised choices over the last few years. Addressing the question, "What is your biggest regret with Digg?" Rose said, "the regrets in my mind are things I could have changed but didn't... There were certain things, product decisions that I made that were bad calls later in the company's life. A lot of those calls were made for reasons that were not really true to the [Digg] community."
According to Rose, those decisions were made in response to declining traffic from core users as the site attempted to attract mainstream eyeballs. "I knew internally that [the DiggBar] was just a horrible thing, a horrible idea to try and frame other people's content using frames," Rose said. "It was just bad for the Internet. It didn't sit right with me. This was something that other people inside the company were very passionate about and wanted to see exist and I let that one through and let it launch. And it blew up on us."
Regarding the new, Betaworks-produced version of Digg, Rose expressed positive support for the new design, as well as admiration for the speed with which the new team managed to relaunch the site. Rose, however, did critique the fact that users must now use Facebook to log in and vote on stories, an issue that has irked a good number of users since the relaunch. But, according to the new Digg team, the Facebook requirement is just a temporary measure. In the site's launch brief the team said, "Using Facebook for account registration is a short-term solution that will seriously cut down on spam, while we take our time to develop more robust spam-filter technology. We know this isn't ideal, so rest assured: we are working towards a more lasting solution."
Rose also addressed questions regarding how he felt about the now infamous BusinessWeek cover (answer: the photographer caught him during a joking pose and had promised not to use that shot), the possibility of a return to the now defunct DiggNation (answer: a reunion episode will likely occur), and his new life as a venture capitalist at Google Ventures (answer: the food is great, and he's learning a lot from other in-house VCs).
All in all, Rose seems content with his legacy as the former golden boy of Web 2.0, as well as the future of the company he founded. The lesson Rose offers to fellow start-up founders is simple. "As the founder and the creator of something you should always go with your gut and trust your instincts. That was something that later down the road at Digg...the motivations for creating some of the features weren't playing to our audience, and to my gut, but more just trying to play catch up."