I don’t want to be mean, but I just can’t help myself. I know Guy Kawasaki is a legend for his marketing work with Apple, and a lot of people find his blog to be very useful — despite what appears to be an addiction to the age-old cliche of the “Top 10 Reasons Why…” style of blog post. Whatever. It takes all kinds. But his latest post about the creation of his Digg-style rumour site Truemors just stuck in my craw for a whole bunch of reasons.
It’s not just the sort of self-satisfied tone of the whole post, as though Guy had somehow invented the wheel, or cured cancer. And it’s not just the rampant over-use of Web jargon like “Long Tail” and “Social Media.” Those are bad enough, mind you. But what really bugs me is that I’m not sure Guy has created anything at all — at least not anything of value — and therefore the entire thrust of his post is completely undermined. What he should really be saying is “How I Wasted $12,107 On a Site That Serves No Purpose.” Seriously — Truemors makes Digg look like a collaborative effort to reproduce the works of Shakespeare.
Setting up a site like Truemors is hardly rocket science. I built one based on the open-source Digg clone Pligg, and it took me about four hours to configure on my server — and it definitely cost me a lot less than $12,107. Did it have any value? No. The only thing that could possibly give Guy’s site some value is if it spontaneously developed a thriving community the way Digg and Slashdot and Metafilter have.
Is Guy’s name and a couple of nasty blog posts at TechCrunch enough to do that? I doubt it. If he had paid me $12,000 in consulting fees, I could have told him that. The only upside is that pre-Web 2.0, Guy would have blown at least $30-million or so building a crap website that no one would ever go to.