$200million to $500,000 in 4 years!

Back in 2008, Google offered Kevin Rose $200million for his Web business Digg … he didn’t accept the offer.

Kevin started Digg on a shoestring in 2004 aged 27, and built a site allowing users to share and rank their favourite links. The idea was simple – good Web content would rise to the top and rubbish fall away and become next to invisible on the site.

In typical Silicon Valley style, Kevin Rose quickly became a legend with articles claiming he had made $60million in just 18 months. Private investors put in over $45million after Digg’s meteoric rise and in 2008 several independent commentators said Digg was worth $175million.

However, Kevin still declined Google’s offer and is now an employee at the company. Digg has recently sold for $500,000 and is said to be “going back to its startup roots”.

All this demonstrates how even a young pioneer cannot predict the future of even their own tech company. The nature of the Internet is constantly disruptive and 4 years on the Web is a VERY long time. Twitter and Facebook (along with the ease of sharing via smartphones) have all helped kill off Digg. The site had genuine utility, but only for a limited period, and it failed to innovate in a way that protected its future.

This is just another of an increasingly long list of dotcom booms to near busts. The lesson? If you’ve made a crazy amount of money in a very short period of time … you should probably bank it!

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