In this 11-minute interview we ask Kevin Rose, founder of digg and WeFollow five questions about web entrepreneurship. In case you don’t have time to watch the interview, we’ve summarized Kevin’s answers below.
Feel free to share your answers to these questions in the comments below. We’d love to hear your perspective.
What advice can you give new web entrepreneurs?
- A great way to gain traction and get coverage for a new web app is approach a well known person and offer them something valuable in return for trying out your service.Example: Tumblr asked Gary Vaynerchuk if he would use their service if they gave him a spot on their home page.
- Have your 30-second pitch perfected so when you get a chance to meet an influential blogger or member of the press, you can communicate the purpose of your app succinctly.
- Attend conferences and throw little parties around the conference. Do it on the cheap and just get people mentioning your app like: “Hey, I’m heading to the YourAmazingApp party. Are you going?” This is much easier because of Twitter as news of small ‘lighting-parties’ can spread quickly.
You’ve managed to raise your profile in the industry. How did you do this?
At digg we didn’t focus on getting press coverage. We just focussed on making an amazing product and believing people would talk about it if it was truly great.
When we started getting press enquiries, we focused on telling a bigger ‘human-interest’ story to the publications, which were much more likely to get front-page coverage, instead of a simple mention in a small column.
The lesson is this: figure out what makes your app interesting as a news story.
Should start-ups create a videocast like you’ve done with diggnation?
Absolutely. Every company needs a spokesperson who is willing to be the public face of the company and participate in the community.
As the diggnation podcast started to grow, digg fans began to make it their goal to get a story mentioned in the podcast. This increased the prestige of the site and also fan loyalty.
How do you balance marketing with working on the product?
That’s an interesting question. Earlier today I was running off to another interview and Daniel Burka (the lead designer at digg) showed me a couple designs as I was walking out of the door. I didn’t have time to properly sit down to discuss them and Daniel said “Kevin, can we please just get you in the office a bit more to discuss these kind of things?”
It’s a tough problem and I still battle with it at digg. I’m not sure I’ve gotten the balance 100% right yet.
What do you want to be remembered for when you die?
I want to be remembered for being a part of the web revolution that really changed the way that humans consume media and news.
I’m also hoping to launch my own tea range and be known as a connoisseur 🙂
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Photo Credit: flickr.com/photos/thomashawk