Nov 8, 2008

Business - Digg founder says economic meltdown prime time for Internet startups

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Digg founder Kevin Rose on Friday shined light on a stormy economic landscape, saying the climate is right for launching Internet startups.

Difficulty getting financing means fewer competitors entering the market and that there will be more media attention focused on young technology firms, Rose told those gathered at a Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

"It will be one of these little valleys where I believe it will be a great time to do something new," Rose said of the economic meltdown blamed for tightly clamping credit markets and venture capitalists' wallets.

"Funding for consumer-oriented Web companies is going away and there will be a lot of opportunities out there."

Formidable social websites such as Digg, Facebook, and Flickr launched in 2004 when it was a "tough time" to get funding for websites geared to Internet surfers, according to Rose.

"We didn't launch during Web 2.0," Rose said, using a common reference to a second-generation Internet defined by online communities and user-shaped content.

"It is a very difficult time to launch new companies when there is a lot of other stuff going on."

News-ranking website Digg didn't face much competition during its first six to eight months, got generous coverage in the press and attracted a fan base of "early adopters whose time wasn't split with other products," Rose said.

Rose urges Internet entrepreneurs to learn from his experience, saying he "kept his day job" and worked on Digg at night and on weekends. He saved money by paying a developer in Nova Scotia to help construct the website.

Rose said he cut marketing costs by being Digg's front man and getting his message out in "Diggnation" podcasts delivered to iPod MP3 players through Apple's online iTunes store.

"With just a few thousand dollars I had to get a little scrappy," Rose said of launching Digg on a lean budget.

Hot micro-blogging service Twitter provides a cost-free way for startup founders to build followings and keep their fans informed.

Twitter lets people keep each other appraised of their every move by sending Haiku-style text messages to their mobile telephones.

"I really believe email communication is dead," Rose said. "I believe Twitter has helped me get messages out or in any kind of communication."

Fledgling Internet companies can improve chances of getting attention by posting online blog commentaries regarding competitors or hot issues in the marketplace.

Computer servers and bandwidth can be rented to save young companies from having to invest in expensive equipment, according to Rose.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My friend and I were recently talking about technology, and how integrated it has become to our daily lives. Reading this post makes me think back to that debate we had, and just how inseparable from electronics we have all become.

I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Societal concerns aside... I just hope that as the price of memory falls, the possibility of uploading our memories onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's one of the things I really wish I could encounter in my lifetime.

(Posted on Nintendo DS running [url=]R4 SDHC[/url] DS TF3)