Personality Profile: Kevin Rose
This week’s Personality Profile is a person who I have been following for the past 5-6 years. He’s a man that has made an incredibly influential mark in the online marketplace and has helped bring about a fresh, new face to what I’ll call the “Web CEO”
This week we profile: Kevin Rose
Kevin Rose (born Robert Kevin Rose, February 21, 1977) is an American Internet Entrepreneur who first became an on-air talent and later as a co-host working on TechTV‘s show The Screen Savers (which later became Attack of the Show! on G4) until his departure from the network on May 22, 2005. Rose is known for his Internet start-ups. He is the co-founder of Revision3, Pownce, WeFollow and the social-bookmarking website Digg. Rose hosts a weekly podcast Diggnation with co-host Alex Albrecht where they discuss popular stories on Digg that users submitted.
Rose was born in Redding, California and lived in Oregon for a brief period before his family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. His first experience with computers began at eight when his father purchased a Gateway 80386 SX 16. Rose soon got in to the world of BBS in the late 1980s. Eventually he was running a two-node Wildcat! BBS (and PCBoard) with a CD-ROM full of shareware for people to access.
Rose transferred to Vo-Tech High School in Las Vegas in 1992 to study computers and animation. Upon graduation from high school, he attended the University of Nevada Las Vegas, majoring in computer science, but dropped out in 1998 to pursue the ’90s tech boom. After dropping out, he worked for the Department of Energy, at the Nevada Test Site, as a technology advisor.
After the dot-com bubble burst, Rose was hired as a technical production assistant for The Screen Savers on TechTV. He began appearing on-air, most notably in “Dark Tip” segments, and on Unscrewed with Martin Sargent known as the “Dark Tipper,” where he provided information on little-known or developing computing activities to the show’s wide range audience. Rose would sometimes fill in for the regular show hosts on The Screen Savers. He became a regular co-host when Leo Laporte left TechTV on March 31, 2004.
On March 25, 2004, Comcast’s G4 gaming channel announced a merger with TechTV and around May 6, G4 announced the termination of 250 employees from the San Francisco office by July 10, 2004, allowing approximately 80 to 100 employees to transition to G4′s main office in Los Angeles, California if they agreed to relocate there. Rose chose to stay with G4 and moved to Los Angeles. Rose was one of only a handful of TechTV personalities, including Adam Sessler, Morgan Webb, Sarah Lane, Chi-Lan Lieu, and Brendan Moran, to survive the layoffs resulting from the May 2004 merger of G4 and TechTV. He remained as the host for the nightly G4TechTV technology show The Screen Savers. Later, the show would switch gears, becoming the variety show Attack of the Show!.
On May 22, 2005, Rose announced on his blog that he had been released from his contract with G4. He left the network to create Revision3 and focus full-time on producing podcasts and videocasts. May 27, 2005 marked his last day of work at G4 and final appearance on Attack of the Show!. He later appeared on the 1000th episode Attack of the Show!.
Rose met Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak while he was working on The Screen Savers (Wozniak was an occasional guest on the show). One day while having lunch with Wozniak, they were talking about the old days and the groundbreaking things Wozniak did back in the late 70′s. Rose decided that he needed to “do something” and later came up with the idea of a user controlled community-based news website. In the fall of 2004, he withdrew $1000 out of his account and paid a freelance web developer $12 an hour to mock up a Web page and purchased some server space for $99 a month. He paid $1200 for the domain name digg.com, and the project began. Rose along with Owen Byrne, Ron Gorodetzky, and Jay Adelson, formed Digg, a technology news website that combined social bookmarking, blogging, RSS, and non-hierarchical editorial control.Overall, Rose invested $6000 into the site; that money was supposed to be for a deposit on a house for him and his girlfriend. As a result of this, their relationship broke down. Since this, Rose has been quoted to say that “no matter what happens with Digg, I won’t put business first again.”
Digg.com was officially launched to the public on December 5, 2004.
In October 2005, Digg.com received $2.8 million in venture capital from major investors, including Omidyar Network, the outfit led by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, and Greylock partners.
In September 2008, the company received a further $28.7 million round of funding led by Highland Capital Partners.
Kevin has been featured on the cover of BusinessWeek (for the August 14, 2006 issue). The cover text was “How This Kid Made $60 Million In 18 Months”. The story mainly covered his success as a young entrepreneur and explained how he risked it all to make Digg.com a reality.
Kevin’s other cover story was on Inc. Magazine. The cover text there was “The Hottest Small Company in America”.
Since then Kevin has spent much of his time focusing on all aspects of the Revision3 enterprise, either by strategic partnerships, building the brand, speaking at conferences and of course, co-hosting Diggnation with Alex Albrecht.
When he’s not sipping tea or drinking beer he films, yet another video podcast with The 4-Hour Workweek author, Tim Ferriss and finds ground-breaking new technology startups to invest time and financial resource in (case in point, Twitter co-founder, Jack Dorsey’s Square).