Have you ever found yourself scouring the internet well into the wee hours the night, and fighting off sleep? I do it all the time. Over the years, I have come across websites such as Digg, their competition Reddit, and a slew of others that kept me entertained and sometimes educated on interesting topics.

I heard about Kevin Rose, one of the founders of Digg. Among other things, he's also a venture capitalist who's invested in the likes of Twitter, Foursquare, Square, and Facebook. I got to catch up with him, ask him about his past, and find out what projects he's consumed with lately. Turns out, he's interested in things such as intermittent fasting and Japanese culture.

Here's our Q&A:

Galek: What do you think went right and wrong with Digg?

Rose: I would say that what went right is that we were the first ones to create this idea of social news. So, the idea was that a mass of people could come and vote for an article, and that would bubble up to the front page. That was kind of the thing that we nailed before anybody else and that propelled us into being kind of this pretty massive site for I'd say honestly for around five and a half years or so.

Our thinking was that the wisdom of crowds was the way to go, meaning that a certain mass of people voted on it, so it got promoted to the top of the page. But when you start talking about like subcategories, you can't create that wisdom of crowd if there's not enough people actively voting in a subcategory.

The thing that I think our competition did, and what it did that was smart it said well actually it's not necessarily totally about the wisdom of the crowd, it's half about that, and it's half about moderation. So, our mistake was not embracing this idea of user moderation in deputizing users to patrol these smaller communities, one with all kind of algorithms.

Who would you be star-struck about seeing them in person?

Obama but that's a pretty easy answer. You know, Steph Curry I would be. He's awesome.

You've been fasting. What has that been like?

For me, it's been a process of trying out two different protocols and distinguishing what works for me. I'll have dinner around 8 or so, then if I am feeling motivated I'll fast for 15 hours, and skip breakfast the next morning and eat around lunch. That's my daily routine, I find that I feel good doing that. It keeps me slim. But I've also done somewhere between 13 and 16 hours.

Why did you start intermittent fasting?

There has been a lot of chatter about fasting over the years especially intermittent fasting, which is what they call these cycles of 13 or 16 hours. I would hear about different types of folks doing it for fitness and slimming up.

I think the most famous person is Hugh Jackman in preparing for his role for wolverine. He said he was fasting 15 hours per day to get really get toned and in shape. It helped him with his training, and I read about how it can have an effect on glucose levels and a bunch of different aspects that I was personally passionate about. So, I saw all that data and thought why not give it a shot.

You created a fasting app called Zero. Why?

Essentially, I realized a while ago there's a pretty big community of people that fast on a regular basis. For me it was just a tool to track my daily fasting. Anyone that has been through these self-experimenting stages likes to keep detailed notes and spreadsheets of a different experiment that we are performing on ourselves.

Hardcore body hackers take this data from their spreadsheet and then can analyze it monthly and see how they are doing. So, the tool is just a simple tracker. Hit start and then set your fasting length goal, and then you'll get a push notification when it's time to start eating again.

Doctor Ruth Patterson was doing a bunch of research around breast cancer and fasting. She found that women who were in remission and began fasting for 13 hours a day, were at least 38 percent less likely to relapse. If I can give an app like this to people to go and feel a little bit more confident around the various fasting techniques, I think that's a big win.

Published on: Sep 29, 2017
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