Michael Arrington yesterday wrote a piece on Kevin Rose and how the users of Digg.com and listening to their constant opinions on things was a problem. Mike goes on to say that products should be a dictatorship, not consensus driven. Michael says Digg or any company should never back down and listen to their users. I was not agreeing with him while I read this as this read very anti-Web 2.0 and he even hints that its Apple’s model but it’s Michael’s view. Fine, but then I read this line, “The point is Facebook knows what you want and is willing to street fight you in order to give it to you” following that statement as the reason why a half of population of the internet goes there and my blood began to boil.
Michael, with all due respect, these two things are not related in this case until you can show me that significant active growth has happened after the recent changes. I will not argue that Apple has had great success going anti-Web 2.0, very closed-source and controlling but Apple’s products aren’t “directly tied” to social networking or Web 2.0. I will also give Steve Jobs the credit to say that he would treat Privacy almost the opposite of how Facebook does. I almost see padlocks on the Apple Logo now just writing this.
But as Michael switched gears at this point of his writing so will I and look at the Character of both core CEOs mentioned in the article, Kevin Rose and Mark Zuckerberg because it’s an interesting comparison. Both actually on paper would sound very much alike (College Drop Outs, Young, Partiers, Entrepreneurs, good replacements for the Dude Getting a Dell, well a Mac for Kevin but you get the point). But it pains me to even remotely compare these two people because they are so different in philosophies and how they approach business and their audience.
Kevin Rose is a Rock Star when it comes to the Tech/Geek community, that has a lot to do with him being on TechTV’s Screen Savers and the many things that Kevin has done since those days (Digg, Diggnation, Revision3, Pownce, WeFollow, etc). But Kevin knew back in the early days at Digg that being CEO at that time wasn’t for him and his calling was to be Chief Architect of Digg in which he called his friend Jay Adelson for the CEO role.
Digg and Jay of course recently parted ways, I even had a piece written about the event before it happened called “The Most Dramatic Kevin Rose Ceremony Ever” speculating on why this was going to happen (I felt it in my gut at SXSW and drafted in Austin) but chose not publish. When the news broke, I recall a few news events briefly talking about the concerns of Kevin’s new role but the one that sticks out the most was a Molly Wood video joking about “this guy” becoming CEO which some Diggnation clips of Kevin and Alex beer chugging. Yes, Kevin has a personal brand that some would question of being “CEO-caliber” but I have no doubt that Kevin is more than capable of handling the role. He hasn’t just been lucky once and Kevin is much more than what you see on camera. In the recent months, Digg/Kevin have made some significant changes that some would say are back-peddling but sometimes your strategy and approach need to be re-evaluated. Every good Architect or Project Manager will tell you that Project Review is one of the most important phases of a project. Is Digg ever going to get to a “Mainstream Site” status? Doubtful unless Kevin and team can do something very transformational (I have thoughts on this) but to me the customer of your product is much more important than going against the grain of your community even for money reasons. These service are “free” but that doesn’t mean you can disrespect your peeps. So Kevin has a very well respected image despite being very free spirited and not what someone may think as a typical CEO and it still is interim.
This brings me to Mark Zuckerberg. I’ve never met Mark, yes I have an outsider’s bias but I know many people who have either casually and who have worked with him professionally. Mr. Zuckerberg is one of those people that has all the talent in the world but has an arrogant-punk attitude like the kids that hang out in malls. Very few names can I type into Google and dickipedia.org comes up on the first page of results. We all know about his first business cards for Facebook and today we learned about some early IMs. Most of you reading this know many of his other events. Earlier today I tweeted:
Michael Arrington, the debate is still out on whether you should listen to your customers and you are hardly not the only person who has said that. Little customer voices usually never get what they want but we should never give up voicing our concerns. Facebook is loosing support from many influencers that don’t have vested interest in developing for Facebook. But Facebook has a huge image issue right now and the irony about the Privacy Topic now is that Mark Zuckerberg’s public image including private data is part of the problem that will prevent any significant recovery at this point in many Dumb F**ks, I mean customer’s minds.