Lessons learned from Digg...
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Startup Lessons
1. In 8 years Digg went from being worth nothing to being worth 9 figures to being worth less than the world's most expensive Doll House.
2. There's a lot of parallels with MySpace.
3. Facebook should be careful. It's not like they're guaranteed to avoid a similar fate.
A. NEVER replace your MySQL with Cassandra.
B. Minimize the steps it takes to share a link. (Digg took 8 steps.)
C. "It would be a lot easier to build Digg today." (O RLY?)
D. "If Digg were scaled back to a 5-person company, it could turn a profit." (O RLY?)
E. Rose sold some shares during the $45 million raised in VC rounds but "did not make a lot of money". (But he did make enough to become an angel investor.)
F. "To really give it the jolt it needed it needed to be in the hands of people who understand the nature of the real time Web." (Like Twitter?)
I wish there were more lessons to be learned from Digg's demise.
Myspace died for 2 simple reasons: Horrible architecture preventing pivotibility and Rupert Murdoch's schizophrenic management style. I don't think Digg had either of these problems.
Actually... One could say that simply having Murdoch's geriatric face anywhere near the thing all but destroyed the cool factor.
A significant part of the problem was a growing perception among normal users that the ranking system had become so gamed over time (and more with each revision) that whales and SEO spammers had taken over. It went from a democratic participatory system into yet another place where plebs could go to be fed stories elites and commercial entities wanted them to read.
Look after the viability of your middle class if you want long term viability is an extra lesson from Digg's rise and fall.
The lesson I learned, was that when your site is valued at 9 figures is to sell it to Rupert Murdoch.
You are both, of course, correct. :)
The Digg v4 fiasco seems a variant of 'The Big Rewrite' anti-pattern in software projects, the tempting-but-often-disastrous impulse to 'do it all right' in a big new from-the-ground-up revision.
When a community is part of the system, it's even more important to move incrementally so as not to lose accrued/implicit wisdom.
I don't know enough about their team to be sure, but it seems if they'd had just a couple more seasoned tech/product managers, they might have seen and reacted to the warning signs.
Internet companies must keep evolving or die.
This is what I take from the 4F comment and the gaming-the-system issue.