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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Digg Creator Interview (Audio)

This Technorama audio interview with Kevin Rose, creator of Digg, is very interesting. Kevin talks about his life, how he came up with the idea for Digg, how Digg ranks stories (it’s not just the number of Diggs that gets something onto the front-page), how later on they needed to make sure the system would scale (they now have around 25 servers), and the people developing and maintaining the site (they have 10 people on board, including e.g. a database administrator).

Also, Kevin talks about how surprised they all were when they saw that a breaking news story could make it to the Digg front-page withing 20 minutes or less. When news broke on the Digg front-page of a Flickr pool with London bombing cell phone photos, first Kevin (and many others) couldn’t believe this was for real. Kevin checked the story on CNN and others mainstream news sources, but couldn’t find any record of it. Only later did everyone find out that indeed the story was real, and that it got promoted to the top-level Digg hierarchy in amazingly little time. Now, Kevin says, every other week a news story breaks on the Digg front-page.

What can we expect for the future? I guess soon Digg might be expanding the focus of the site to more than just tech news. But this comes with a risk of harming the current community. Potentially, there could be a clear separation between the services, in the sense that is the tech news homepage, (with a different color scheme) is the entertainment part of Digg, and so on. Kevin says this much: “We’re moving out of technology news into other areas. We want to be able to cover pretty much anything that people want to express interest in; whether it be world news or politics or whatever it may be that you’re into.”

And, Kevin adds: “In my own head, Digg is about, I don’t know, 5-10% complete of really where I wanna see it be. I have a list of 20 or 30 features that will just – hopefully – blow your mind, because it’s stuff that no one’s ever done on the web before.”


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