I don’t use Digg.com. But I have watched the podcast Diggnation since about the 6th episode (currently 196 episodes). I didn’t watch TechTV at all (never once!). But I grew into being a fan of Kevin Rose’s from his too-short series The Broken (which dealt pretty much with hacking and I think was the entire inspiration behind things like, oh, Hak5!). I find his story and progress in business to be utterly fascinating. The dotcom bubble burst nearly a decade ago, but people like Kevin (it’s poignant that I reference him by first name as if I know him) are the embodiment of this extended surge of tech and web culture and business.
I only just read an Inc magazine article from last November about Kevin, along with a series of 10 questions for him. I find what he does and has done remarkable. Maybe partly because I’m on the fringe of his audience (I don’t click ads, I don’t read Slashdot, and only infrequently used to read Fark…), or maybe because of his age (born 1977), or maybe because he’s just a fellow geek pursuing his passions.
Or really, it might just be because he was the right guy at the right time and place and did the right things. He got into the geek culture with TechTV and did what I think most geeks find fascinating: talked about hacking stuff. This got him a following, and then he leveraged that following along with his technical ability (which we have to admit was not beyond any of us), passion for social media (not beyond any of us), and his ability to interact with people online in a positive way to attract users (not beyond any of us who’ve been around the nets for 10 years). Anyone who has tried to build a forum or community or site knows that it either takes a solid core following or a lot of extremely involved (and present!) work, let alone the relevant content.
And beyond that, he still maintains an image of the guy you can see at a bar, poke on the shoulder, offer a beer to, and he’ll happily accept and be immediately down with any geeky, friendly banter that may occur. As opposed to someone in a tie whom you can’t approach without an appointment and would look at you like one of the little people for even thinking he might want to drink a beer. Old media meet new media.
Oh man, was that a man-crush post? At any rate, I wanted to post the article link and just kinda gush for a moment about someone I respect, not because he has tens of thousands of followers, but simply because he’s ultra successful as a geek and appears to stay extremely grounded.