Monday, August 07, 2006

Web 2.0 “Kids”

BusinessWeek this week (August 14,2006) features Kevin Rose on the front cover. He is the feature of the lead article ”How This Kid Made $60 Million In 18 Months” by Sarah Lacy and Jessi Hempel. Rose we learn started . We also learn that (Version 3) launched on June 26th and is now the “24th-most popular Web site in the U.S.”.

From the title of the article alone we expect an eleven year-old “business genius” to be featured. From the front cover photo in addition to the title we expect to read about an eighteen year-old “business genius.” After “digging” (pun intended) into this article, we also learn that this “kid”, Kevin Rose is 29 years old. You have to be kidding me. You HAVE to be kidding me.

I know that maturity comes later in life for many in our contemporary culture and that adolescence is now defined by the psychological professions near twenty-five. Now, we have a twenty-nine year-old “kid”. You have to be kidding me!

Lacy and Hempel’s Bweek article describes’s business model, the “fear” that they are putting into “Old Media” and the drama of the “geek life” of Rose and some other new internet entrepreneurs.
Rose grew up in Las Vegas. His father is an accountant, and his mom “just chills,” he says. They lived in a three-bedroom house on a cul-de-sac. Standard middle-class America. His computer love affair drew scorn from schoolkids so Rose transferred to a public vo-tech in 1993 to study computers and animation. “It was a chance to be with other nerds,” he says.

In 1999 he dropped out of the University of Las Vegas to join the action in Silicon valley, where he took coding jobs for dot-coms. That led to his gig as the TechTV host, which transferred him to Los Angeles in 2003. But Rose was bored. He hated L.A. If it hadn’t been for his friendship with [Marc] Adelson [of Netscape fame], he might never have pursued the Digg idea. The two met when Rose interviewed Adelson, 35, founder and chief technology officer of data center company Equinex, on TechTV in 2003. Here was another guy actually doing something. Rose and Adelson quickly hit it off. Adelson played the grown-up, a role he still relishes, saying things like, “Kevin, you’re 29 now you need to stop wearing your pants lower than your boxers” (advice Rose still ignores). But he believed in Digg from the beginning.

Well, there your have it: A homemaker mother who “just chills”. An education of computers and animation. Boredom. Equating “doing something” with growing a business. Having colleagues play the “role” of a grown-up and not seeing Peter Pan in the mirror.

Photo: BusinessWeek August 14,2006
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