In a recent interview, Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg, described how the business was an experiment that took off…
We just thought it was an interesting project to see if this concept would work…we were lucky to be the the first ones out of the gate to have this type of content and approach…people started ‘Digging”, and then shared it with their friends, and it just took off.
I don’t believe Kevin simply got lucky. He built a ‘killer application’ in Digg and that’s why he went from an experiment to hyper-growth so quickly. Let me explain.
Giving a talk at his alma mater (University of Illinois), Jawed Karim, one of the co-founders of YouTube spoke about how they went from concept to hyper-growth (idea to 100 million videos a day in 19 months). He glommed onto a term from the 90s’ – ‘killer application’ which he defined as:
A computer program that is so useful or desirable that it proves the value of some underlying technology.
He also made the premise that killer applications build on top of each other…so YouTube was built on a base of other killer apps in the social context space, namely:
- LiveJournal (1999)
- HotorNot (2000)
- Wikipedia (2001)
- Friendster (2002)
- del.icio.us (2003)
- Flickr (2004)
Together, these killer apps formed the base for YouTube to become possible.
In the same vein, Digg was built on a base of similar killer applications.
The big question is what will be the next big thing to burst forth from basic idea to hyper-growth and become a killer application.
I wholeheartedly agree with Jawed when he says:
The next big thing –
- will exploit newly emerging secondary technologies; and
- these technologies will make something that was previously difficult easy.