An open letter to Kevin Rose

Full disclosure: I've been in Armenia for the last 3 months and have no idea what's going on internally at digg - the following is wild speculation. I can, however, tell you all about how a Kiva Fellowship works </shamelessplug>.


It's been a while since you cleverly debuted digg on ScreenSavers on that "Slashdot Killers" segment.

Funded by Y Combinator, Steve Huffman and I started work on reddit in June 2005, which we launched a month later. A month after that, we learned about digg and realized this was going to be an interesting new space -- we had some catching up to do.

Remember those great days? It was long before Facebook was confusing people with awkward privacy settings, before Twitter existed, and even pre-dating the "social media" industry -- back when "social media gurus" were simply called "tools."

You built a remarkably popular website with an adoring fanbase most companies can only dream of. Diggnation was a brilliant decision and paved the way for Revision3, which doesn't get half of the press it deserves. In short: you were in the zone.

And we got lucky, frankly. We sold to Condé Nast in 2006, which stayed hands off, let the site keep growing, and even encouraged us to open source -- the site has grown to over 1/2 million unique visitors a day. And all of that is run by only 4 awesomesauce developers (edit: and one fantastic community manager!); I think the math comes out to 1 dev for every 2 million monthly uniques. 

You chose to grow with venture capital and you've no doubt (I hope) taken some money off the table in your Series C round.

I say this because this new version of digg reeks of VC meddling. It's cobbling together features from more popular sites and departing from the core of digg, which was to "give the power back to the people."

Those are your words from that aforementioned 2004 video segment.

Now what matters is how many followers & influence a user has and how many followers & influence they've got.

Where have we heard this before: Twitter? Facebook? GoogleBuzz?

Kevin, you absolutely deserve all the credit for starting the movement -- fascinating things happen when online communities can efficiently share content. Whales get silly names and we can expose the tragedies our fellow man endures faster than ever before.

It's a damned shame to see digg just re-implementing features from other websites.

But I've got a strong feeling it's not you making these decisions anymore; and to see your baby abused like this must be awful.

This really should've been called "an open letter to digg's VCs" (but what kind of linkbait would that be?) because they really ought to give the power back to the founder.

All the best,

Although Steve Huffman & I founded, we've both since moved on. In case you're curious about what we're doing now, I'm working on breadpig and Steve is getting a pilot's license while enjoying married life (sorry ladies).

Paying tribute to videogame classics in reddit logos (not playable, unfortunately)

I recently dug these up for a friend and figured I'd share the hi-rez versions of these reddit logos I did a long time ago for a week of videogame tributes. There was no particular occasion (you see, I was keen to gank the Google idea of changing the logo for holidays, only do it for all sorts of random reasons). The recent playable Pac-Man logo for its 30th anniversary has really set the bar high, though.

My reddit alien creations

I created the reddit alien. I also created variations of it for some of my friends. They used to be on my old website, but I got scolded for not bringing them over. So here they are, presented in the order they were doodled:

spez (Steve Huffman)
kn0thing (Me)
jenny8 (Jennifer 8. Lee - journalist, author, mentor)
spez's sister (Steve's sister)
aaronsw (Aaron Swartz - we acquired Aaron's company in late 2005)
KeyserSosa (Dr. Chris Slowe - reddit's first hire & only PhD)
zak stone (Zak Stone - fellow YC alum)
emc2rae (Ellen - ultimate frisbee master)
cynthia (Cynthia - not a monkey in real life)
rachel (Rachel Metz - journalist extraordinaire)
x@ycombinator (Jessica Livingston - YC partner & awesomesauce)
pg (Paul Graham - YC partner & the Paul Graham)
askjigga (Justin Kan - co-founder of Kiko & Justin.TV)
katie (Katie - Steve's better half & wife)
jedberg (Jeremy Edberg - first post-acquisition hire of reddit)
OptimizePrime (Emmett Shear - co-founder of Kiko & Justin.TV)
liz (Liz)
kourosh (Kourosh Kharimkhany - splendid fellow who bought us)
kristen (Kristen - Chris' better half & wife)
angelique (Angelique - WIRED pal)
justmoi (Kathy - Jeremy's better half & wife)
rajiv (Rajiv Pant - Conde Nast pal)

Tasting 'America's unhealthiest drink' (USA! USA! USA!)

Presented in a giant 24 ounce cup the whole gloopy, gooey mess contains 2,010 calories, the total recommended daily allowance for a woman and only slightly fewer calories than are suggested for men, and is the equivalent of eating 68 rashers of bacon.

There are also 153 grams of sugar, the same as 30 chocolate chip cookies, which deliver an immediate buzz.

The recipe is simple - take several very large dollops of chocolate ice cream, throw in a hefty wedge of peanut butter, and some heavy cream, and blend.

The astronomical calorie count comes partly from the use of "super premium" ice cream which is defined as having more than 12 per cent butter-fat content.


Greyson Chance, 12-year-old YouTube Superstar, discovered on reddit

Endswell spotted it on social news website Reddit, which is owned by Condé Nast Digital. The video was posted by Reddit user icedev on Monday, May 10, with the headline "Lady Gaga's 'Paparazzi' + 13 year old boy = Awesome" (icedev apparently guessed at Greyson's age).

As reddit cofounder, I'm demanding a cut -- maybe just standard commission rates. OK, not really, but I do wish young Greyson (SEO-friendly) Chance the best, though. Be skeptical of all the new friends you're likely to be getting in the wake of all this.