Kevin Rose at LeWeb: "I Made a Lot of Mistakes at Digg"

Talking to TWiT‘s Leo Laporte and Sarah Lane at LeWeb today, Digg‘s founder Kevin Rose noted that he made lots of mistakes while he was still in charge of the popular social bookmarking site. According to Rose, “the first three years were insane.” Rose, however, acknowledged, that he learned a lot on the job by making plenty of mistakes, most importantly with regard to hiring and feature development.

Rose’s Biggest Mistakes: Hiring, Feature Development

According to Rose, “there is a temptation that you want to throw as many developers as possible at a problem.” As Digg was built on top of PHP, the company would hire too many developers that specialized in this language. Then, however, Rose noted, “you end up with lots of PHP developers, but at some point, PHP isn’t a problem anymore and you are stuck with all of those developers.” At that point, said Rose, you end up having to hire a lot of developers that can do other things and don’t know what to do with the old developers.

Talking about the Digg community, Rose also noted that keeping the often unruly group of users on the site in control was often a problem. During the last presidential election in the U.S., for example, Rose would get death threats when too many pro-Obama stories hit the Digg frontpage.

Digg today still gets about 20 million uniques according to Rose, but at the height of the service’s popularity, it was getting about 38 million uniques.