This is the kind of magazine cover that doesn’t sit well when picked up at the post office on the way home from the Internet factory on a Friday afternoon. It’s the cover of BusinessWeek and over a picture of Digg.com co-founder Kevin Rose (the Pete Taras of tech) it says How This Kid Made $60 Million in 18 Months. When I read those words, here’s the message I got: “If you’ve been working in the Internet business for more than two years and you don’t have $100 million in the bank you’re a total and complete idiot loser.”
Kevin Rose is a great guy who occasionally sits in on Leo Leport’s TWIT (This Week In Tech) podcast, which I listen to religiously. He’s smart, funny, host’s his own video podcast Diggnation and has told pretty much anyone who will listen that he is not interested in selling Digg, nor is it making any money. So where does this $60 miilion dollar man come from? BusinessWeek explains it in one sentence: “Nonetheless, people in the know say Digg is easily worth $200 million.” Apparently, Kevin, own’s 30 precent of Digg.com, and thus $60 million.
Apparently, I’m not the only one to feel a bit smaller after having encountered this story. Jason Fried from 37signals posted to their blog Signal vs. Noise that:
Rose and BusinessWeek acknowledge it’s “only paper wealth” and “this could be a jackpot” which means it’s not real anyway. So BusinessWeek is using fuzzy math to put a fuzzy number on the cover that isn’t real anyway? All together now: BULLSHIT!
Scott Rosenberg, a tech writer and one of the co-founders of Salon.com was equally puzzled by the cover and the story in general on his blog Wordyard: “There is a word for this kind of business journalism, and it is: awful.”
Phew, I feel much better knowing that it’s not an actual $60 million and that I’m not a total idiot. Now, I can go surfing in peace (or as much peace as can be expected on a Friday afternoon with a “reported” south swell on the way).
Logic Path: Businessweek > Digg.com > Signal vs. Noise > Wordyard