Digg co-founder Kevin Rose scales back Digg duties

Digg co-founder and figurehead Kevin Rose confirms that he's left the company's day-to-day operations and is seeking to put his efforts into a new start-up venture.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
3 min read
Digg co-founder Kevin Rose.
Digg co-founder Kevin Rose. James Martin/CNET

Digg co-founder Kevin Rose is focusing his efforts in a new direction.

Following a report on TechCrunch earlier today that said Rose had resigned from his post at Digg, Rose confirmed via Twitter that he was indeed at work on a new project, but that he'd "continue advising Digg / on the board of directors," as well as taping episodes of Diggnation.

As for that next project, Rose said in a tweet that it would be revealed "soon."

Rose had relinquished his post as Digg's interim CEO in August of last year after filling in for four months following the departure of Jay Adelson, the company's CEO for five years. Rose was replaced by former Amazon executive Matt Williams, who continues to run the day-to-day operations at the start-up. Rose's words about his scaled-back role at the time were that he would "still remain actively involved in the product."

Digg spokesperson Erin Walsh initially denied TechCrunch's claims that Rose was leaving, saying in an e-mail to CNET that Rose's role is the same as it has been since Williams came on as CEO (emphasis mine): "Matt Williams joined Digg as CEO more than 6 months ago and Kevin stayed on as founder and board member, nothing of which has changed." Walsh has yet to return CNET's subsequent call for comment following Rose's tweets.

Meanwhile, current Digg employees like community manager Dan Huard, who Rose had worked with dating all the way back to his stint at TechTV, referred to the news as an honest-to-goodness departure. "Tough to see my homie @kevinrose go but excited to kick even more ass @Digg. And I'm now the oldest employee here! 5.5 years & going strong!" Huard said in a tweet.

Before Rose tweeted his plans, other Digg staffers offered their 2 cents on the TechCrunch story on a Digg.com thread, saying "don't worry, we're not slowing down any time soon," and "Not to sound dramatic but this news means pretty much nothing to people working on the site. Nothing is changing, we are working on bringing you guys more cool stuff."

During an on-stage interview with Rose by TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington at the blog's Disrupt conference in September, Rose dodged a question about whether he planned to remain at Digg for the next six months, saying only that "you get a little burnt out over time."

Along with Digg, Rose was also co-founder of Pownce, which closed down shortly after being acquired by Six Apart. Rose also holds investments in a number of companies, including Twitter, Gowalla, Foursquare, Ngmoco, Square, Zynga, and Facebook. One of Rose's most recent ventures has been Foundation, a private newsletter and video service that subscribers can pay $3.99 a month to receive.

Digg, which lets users vote user-submitted news stories up or down, had originally been on the trajectory for a number of buyout deals. One $100 million offer from former Vice President Al Gore would have made Digg part of Gore's Current Media, and another from Google in 2008 would have put the company somewhere in the ballpark of $200 million. Google reportedly walked away from that one in its final stages.Other suiters at the time were said to be Microsoft and two unidentified media companies.

Since then, the company has gone through two rounds of layoffs: one in early January of 2009 that cut 10 percent of the workforce, and another in October of last year that scaled back the staff by 37 percent.

The site had also suffered a major user backlash after pushing out a redesign in August that was largely unwelcome by longtime users, many of whom left for other social news sites. The site has since been working to address users' most vocal complaints, including gripes about the site's design.

Update, 6:30 p.m. PT: We added information from Rose's and Huard's Twitter accounts. The headline was also changed to reflect the updated information.