Umair Haque / Bubblegeneration
umair haque  


Design principles for 21st century companies, markets, and economies. Foreword by Gary Hamel. Coming January 4th. Pre-order at Amazon.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Big Swinging Digg

So, another rumour making the rounds, a bidding war for Digg involving MS, Google, etc.

I'm a bit dubious. MS is maybe inept enough to get caught in a Digg bidding war. There's no money more desperate than MS money in today's mediascape (say thanks, Yahoo shareholders) - because there's no player with a more flawed understanding of next-gen industry economics and structure (evil, closed, etc).

But I have a hard time believing Google's involved in a bidding war for it.

Digg is nice, but it's strategic impact is zero. It should be profound, but Kevin and Jay have consciously made the decision to be geek-celebs instead of doing something cool. That's fine; but it's crippled the potential value a great idea like Digg can really create.

Hence, I'm not sure what exactly Google would be interested in. It's not as if Google's short of attention, geek-cred, psuedo-quant algorithms, minor-league celebs, code, advertisers, etc.

Bring a new value chain design or new market space to the table, and we're talking - but Digg has failed exactly and precisely to do anything on that more meaningful strategic level.

Blah, blah, the real point is: anyone who's willing to pay the multiples/price point mentioned - north of $200 mil for a player with little to no strategic impact is making a fairly serious strategic error. That, of course, includes Google - maybe TC is on the level, in which case it will be the first major error Google has made in a long (long) time.

-- umair // 2:41 AM // 4 comments



Totally agree, but I have a question about this statement:

"Kevin and Jay have consciously made the decision to be geek-celebs instead of doing something cool."

What could Digg differently that would unlock or create this value that they are not doing now? What specifically would you do differently if you ran Digg?
// Blogger TuckerMax // 4:39 AM

tuckermax got me thinking about value...

for me digg has no value at all, maybe even a negative value, because time spent there detracts from what i might otherwise be doing that would bear fruit...

how it can be worth 200 million u.s. bucks is a complete mystery to me, but that "money" and "value" have almost no relationship at all is becoming obvious in america, leading the world in smoke and mirrors
// Blogger gregory // 2:37 PM

@tuckermax - must be new here. Umair will NEVER answer any "What specifically should they do" type questions. Almost every bubblegen post critiquing a start-up has a commenter asking this, and it never gets answered... I find its best to reread a bunch of Umair's posts and research notes to better understand the fundamentals, then come up with your OWN specific strategy ideas and post them in a comment so we can discuss it! :)
// Anonymous Zack Mysterio // 8:31 PM

Well, Dig is a simple Thumbs-Up/Thumbs-Down system right?

So could it be used as a simple, cross-platform method of rating somethings value or suckiness?

Instead of complicated 5 star ratings, a simple quick Dig, or a Bury.

Consider it being quickly used for Amazon or rating an iTunes song. It could be a universal standard. Instead of some cliche geek thing that allows stories about Chuck Norries to rise to page one.

On top of that, you could assign a value/weight of one persons Digg, due to their usage, prominence, and how many Digg's they themselves have.

I may be way off base here, so please let me know. I have read through Umair's but am very much testing the waters.
// Blogger Pana // 1:15 AM
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