Kevin Rose, originally from California but grew up in Las Vegas. He went to a tech high school and then on to UNLV. Growing up in the bright lights of Sin City would set the tone for Rose through his climb. Never satisfied. Always wanting more. So how does a 29 year old technology geek end up on the cover of Business Week? That is the story of Kevin Rose and how he climbed from an intern for a tech TV show to the now 35 year old multi-millionaire working for Google.
Most don’t know that Keven actually dropped out of UNLV before finishing his computer science degree. He went through the dot-com startups. For the most part though, his dot on the radar started popping up as a young “Dark Tip” segment host on a TechTV show called “The Screen Savers” which starred Leo Laporte and Patrick Norton. Rose was an intern and production assistant with the show and eventually through the popularity of his segment and the moving on of Patrick Norton, climbed up to the co-host spot with Laporte and Sarah Lane.
Rose was always in the know when it came to cutting edge. Luckily he didn’t get through school and into the real world quite fast enough to get swept away by the dot-com bubble burst in the early 2000’s. His timing was perfect for what transpired next. Kevin was very hands on at the Screen Savers and was also popular due to his youth and his ability to connect with the younger and yes, hacker audience. Kevin was one of them. Leo was always friendly and Patrick was fun but Kevin and Sarah were young and fresh. Showing that tech was no longer in the era of the IBM, mainframe, pocket protector time and was now becoming hip and cool. For all intensive purposes, Kevin was at least partially responsible for this revolution from a media side.
While Kevin Rose wasn’t Steve Jobs, he didn’t have to be. Nor could anyone ever really be. But being in a tech world was beginning to be cool and no longer someone sitting in a basement on a computer. People were on the go. Tech was climbing again. In 2004, in what could be a blessing and a curse G4 bought the struggling TechTV network and moved it to LA. Curse, because it was a network more for entertainment and less tech. More about video games and less about how to build your own computer. But a blessing because it opened Rose and his co-host Sarah Lane up to a whole new audience. Eventually Rose would leave G4 in 2005.
As mentioned before, Rose’s timing was perfect. In 2005 the internet was starting to bubble again. The companies that were just coming around as the bubble crashed earlier in the decade were now thriving. The internet was no longer this 8 to 16 bit text page. It was bright, had graphics and for Rose’s purpose had streaming video. While Rose didn’t start podcasting or even invent video shows, he definitely used his savvy to take advantage. He not only used his TV abilities, but he used his social skill set to launch to projects which made him an under-30 millionaire.
Rose used his ambition, his never being satisfied with good enough to leave a well paying job. He left the comfort of working for a network and launched Revision3, a podcast/videocast network and Digg, a social aggregator based on user submitted content. One or the other could have thrust Rose into the 1% of America but he hit gold on both. That is when, in 2006 Business Week put the young entrepreneur on their cover.
Revision3 combined everything Kevin and partner Jay Adelson were good at. Tech, entertainment and most of all Kevin being himself. The star attraction was a show based off the insanely popular Digg.com website called “Diggnation.” Co-starring former G4 co-host Alex Albrecht, sitting on a couch he and Rose told the weekly stories in the news. Drinking beer and sharing the most dugg stories of the week. Life doesn’t get much better than that.
Digg for it’s part would create it’s own term in internet terminology… The “Digg” effect. What is that? Every website operator from a small blog to the New York Times were forced to prepare for the storm if one of it’s links found it’s way onto the digg.com website. The user-based network grew so big, so quickly, that any link would drive thousands of hits in a matter of minutes to any website. Digg is responsible for most if not all web servers and sites alike to now implement caching techniques. Now a days you can have a hit from Reddit or a major news network, but Digg was a game changer.
Kevin Rose, young and rich and popular. Running a network, a website, both doing very well. Still, never satisfied. Always wanting more. Always needing a challenge. Rose, would pull back a little from those projects to start more startups like Milk. Launch apps on mobile platforms like Oink. Rose has always been looking for that next great opportunity. To grow and to improve. From venture capital projects like a company you might have heard of named Twitter to some that never made it off the ground. Risk is everything and sometimes it pays off big.
Ambition is something found in everything Kevin Rose does. Why people love him? No matter how large he got, no matter how many Twitter followers or job titles he attained… He never got to big to be just a normal guy living in San Francisco. Anyone with a Twitter account or email address can reach out. He might not respond to everyone but he does respond to most. To him, he’s still just like you. Looking for that next great chance to be great and climb.
Now a days you can find Kevin Rose walking the campus of Google or out looking to make someone else’s dream come true by investing and using Google’s venture capital branch to help startups and companies achieve what they and Rose have already done. Giving back and growing together.
Husband, father, craft bartender, writer and content creator.