The Guys In Charge Of Digg Reveal How They Took Advantage When Google Killed Its RSS Reader

ignition 2012 room

NEW YORK, New York. Nov. 27-28, 2012. Photograph by Michael Seto.

On day two of Business Insider's IGNITION conference, John Borthwick and Andrew McLaughlin took the stage to talk about product innovation; something they know a lot about.

Borthwick is the CEO of Betaworks, the parent company of a number of products and apps we use everyday. McLaughlin is the CEO of Digg, the news site that's one of the most well-known and successful of those. 

The Digg portfolio got a huge boost when Google ended its RSS Reader product — a huge number of users switched to Digg Reader instead.

Borthwick sees Betaworks as a frontrunner in media for this century. In order to succeed at that, he and McLaughlin agree that being able to innovate their products to keep up with their users and the world around them is the secret to creating something that can be more than a flash-in-the-pan.

They are constantly reinventing to be fluid and flexible, which creates a sustainable user base.

Earlier in the conference, we heard from our Henry Blodget about how teenagers were fleeing Facebook and spending a lot more time on visual apps like Instagram and Vine. 

These things may be true, but Borthwick and McLaughlin agree: people still want to read. It's just the way they're reading that's changing.

"Digg tackles the problem of  working your way through a noisy place of tons of things you can read, watch, listen to, and learn from, and puts the best of those in one place," McLaughlin explained. "Then when Google did away with their Reader (in July) we saw an opportunity."

Digg and betaworks created Digg Reader in the wake of Google doing away with theirs. 

"Things move fast, yes," McLaughlin said to the crowd. "But if you can continue to innovate and keep innovation going within the scope and message of your product, you can continue to build out and gain a loyal audience."



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