Digg Close to Profits, New CEO Also Just Around the Corner

Digg CEO Kevin Rose

Digg will soon announce a new CEO, according to co-founder and current chief executive Kevin Rose, who admits he’s not really a good fit for the job, calling the task of managing the startup’s 80-person staff “a nightmare” in a video interview with All Things Digital (full version embedded below). Rose — who took the top job when CEO Jay Adelson left the company earlier this year — also says the company has annual revenue in the “double-digit millions” and has had a number of break-even months; therefore, he doesn’t feel that it needs to raise additional capital.

The Digg founder also told All Things Digital that the new version of Digg, which has been in invitation-only testing for almost a year, involves some “big, bold new directions” for the company. Rose says while that means “if you get it wrong you may screw things up pretty bad — I’m OK with that, our investors are OK with it, and we have some good solid ideas we want to bet on” over the next four to six months. He also said he realizes that “we’ve got a very small window to really get things right,” and that there are a lot of other competitors trying to solve the same problem Digg is, which he described as filtering the firehose of information that comes from Twitter and Facebook and other social-media services.

Rose said that after a few years of hype about the company, Digg went through a difficult period after the economic downturn. At that point, he says, “a lot of us freaked here, and we said we need to focus on revenue and ads.” The Digg CEO says the company now has a new ad platform that is “working great,” so the focus is on getting the redesigned site launched (although he didn’t say when that would happen). Rose said there were more than 30 new features on the table when the redesign began, but that he chose to focus on about five that “we could do really well,” and that his vision for Digg was to be “the most efficient way for links to spread.”

The Digg founder also talked about how he liked working on product details and working with small teams rather than managing the entire company, and that being the CEO was “a pain in the a** that I would never wish on my worst enemy.”

Digg’s redesign involves a personalized stream of content from the people and sources a user chooses to subscribe to or “follow” — similar to the way users follow sources on Twitter — which led my colleague Liz to say that the link-sharing site wants to be “the Twitter of news.” Instead of seeing all the top submissions from the entire user-base, or within different content sections, the default view for the redesigned site is a central column called “My News” that features links submitted by people and publishers you’ve chosen to follow. As I described after trying out the new site, however, this makes the overlap between Digg and other social media a lot more obvious, which may or may not be a good thing.

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