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Future of Web Apps – Kevin Rose
Kevin Rose spoke about Digg and its successes. Here are my comments, slightly edited:
Kevin opened by calling his presentation a "preso"… Site has been live since end of 2004. Presents an overview of Digg and how the site works. A new function called "my number 1" was added to the site yesterday which allows you to make your important stories even more important to each user.
Startup background on the Digg site:
- Held interviews for many companies and Slashdot, Del.icio.us and Friendster combined together to come up with the idea for Digg
- $2,000 to start, using a developer on elance for $10/hr.
- Open source architecture
- Basic design
- $99 a month hosting
Talked about the types of design for a web app:
- basic utilitarian design
- cheap crappy design
- and high priced quality design
Initial launch plan:
- 200+ blog readers
- Users with personal passion for technology
- Limited functionality
- Highlight users – diggnation
General comments on "success":
- Spread by word of mouth, no advertising
- Give your developers a chance to play and try out ideas
- Tagging won't work on Digg
- Hire experienced DBAs
Explaining about the "Digg Effect"
- Digg should never take away traffic or cache content, should always push to site creator
Some Digg Stats:
- 500k registered users
- 10million pages a day
- 1 million daily unique views
- 90+ boxes
- Learning from users and then making suggestions to friends and stories
- Digging other types of content online
- Will there be an API? Yes, an API is coming, and a digg button on your site is coming
- Whats your take on ads? we always tried to keep the site clean, would like to keep it the same as they have it now and can become profitable with the current amount ads.
- Timeline of the company? started with Kevin and a programmer ($10/hr), $50,000 investment from a partner, hired the programmer full-time, brought in a CEO to gain a round of funding. Today at 15 staff, most in ops and development.
- Can you remove data? we will be rolling out a remove mode in the future.
- Will you be expanding search? Yes, we will be working on a better search soon and moving away from a mysql search.
- what's your take on paying the top users? we want to keep it as fair and equal as possible. The most popular content comes from all users. We are different than Netscape in the fact that we do not pay our top users.
- How do you collect user feedback? We collect through e-mail and we have a person dedicated going through all of the feedback we receive.
My comments on the presentation:
Kevin (like most of the other presenters) needs to refine his presentation style, felt like a developer talking to other developers. Would have been nice to open with some interesting fact or story rather than just jumping into the presentation. Felt more like he read us the about us page for most of his presentation.