Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Digg's Kevin Rose Talks About New Look, New CEO and How to Turbocharge an Old Web 1.9 Company!

Yesterday, BoomTown drove over to Digg’s San Francisco HQ to pay founder Kevin Rose a visit.

The 33-year-old Rose is one of the iconic entrepreneurs of recent years, since Digg’s founding in 2004, driving the growth of the news discovery service in the early years of Web 2.0 to heights of popularity and, yes, massive hype about what he calls a “Web 1.9” company.

Inevitably, there came a wall of growing pains that Digg has tried to scale, included a very public failed sale to Google (GOOG), layoffs and the bumpy departure of its CEO, Jay Adelson.

Rose has been in charge since, as interim CEO, working to release a much-needed new version–V4–of the Digg service over the next weeks, even as he searches for someone to take over the leadership and tries to figure out what the future of the company should be.

A lot of the changes in V4, Rose acknowledges, have to do with catching up to what other services are offering and are aimed at making Digg–which has always had a passionate, and sometimes volatile and controversial, community–more easily social and innovative.

Thus, the “New Digg” will be more personal, giving users a “My News” look at Digg first, rather than just shoving the most popular stories forward. The changes also suggest profiles to follow, an ability to find friends, better commenting features and more.

Rose has been managing this product overhaul, even while Digg undergoes tough challenges to morale as it seeks to re-establish itself during massive change in the social media landscape and the entry of more and more heavyweight competitors, such as Twitter and Facebook.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the video interview below is Rose’s assertion that Digg needs to be more than a “big small company,” due to its ever-increasing challenges of helping readers make sense of the social Web and its flood of information.

With all the hype and swirl around Digg over the year, I had forgotten what a thoughtful and smart entrepreneur Rose is, but here it is on display, with him talking about it all, including how to avoid being a Silicon Valley cautionary tale:

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