Yesterday I was interviewed by Muhammad Saleem who's one of top Digg users. We discussed my programming background, why I created RedditMedia and DigPicz, where do I go from now, and would I ever sell digg pics to Digg!
This is a copy of original interview just in case Muhammad's website ever goes down.
Hi Peter. Thanks for taking out the time to answer some questions.
Let's start with some background.
Sure. I got into programming around 1996. It was hard to get Internet access at that time so I befriended a UNIX sysadmin who was like my teacher at that time. Anyway, from there, he helped me with various computer-related things and introduced me to Linux and programming.
My first experience with programming was creating an IRC client. It was fun exploring this protocol. Since then I have been programming both for fun and work in many various languages. At one point I even wrote an intrusion prevention system when i worked as an white-hat (ethical) hacker.
So how did you end up creating Reddit Media?
I have been an active Reddit user for a while. The content there is unarguably better than other social sites. When they added the programming subreddit, it became my number one source of information. As for why i created Reddit Media, it was mostly so that people would have an easy way to access all the media (pictures and videos) that is submitted to Reddit.
It was so easy to create it, that i just did it.
And how about diggpicz?
Well, as I'm sure you know, Digg users have been asking for a pictures section on the site for a long time. Digg developers just kept saying that they will create the section but haven't done it yet so I decided to do it for digg users. I have had so much programming experiences that this is easy for me and allows me to help such a large community with relatively little effort on my part.
It was just a few hours of work to reuse code that I had written for Reddit media to create Digg Picz.
So where do you go from here? It seems that Digg's official pictures section is coming. Is there any chance that they will seek help from you or would you consider working for/with them?
Well, even when Digg releases their own version, I won't feel that my efforts are wasted. Creating the site was fun and I enjoyed helping thousands of users. Again, the site took only 7 hours to make. That said, I doubt that they will use my site, because I wrote it entirely in Perl and optimized it for a shared hosting server, meaning that all the pages are pre-generated and there is no interaction with database in real time. Digg runs PHP, so it would be a complete re-write. My intention was never build-to-flip.
Working for Digg would be cool, but I'm applying to MIT this November. If I get accepted then I'll put all the effort in studying there and not working. If I don't get in, then I will definitely consider working for Digg.
Now that you have created a version of the site for Reddit and a version for Digg and seen how successful both of them have become, have you thought about releasing a Pligg-like CMS to let people create their own media sites?
Yes, I have thought about it. First I would like to finish picurls.com (same idea as popurls.com but focused on pictures), which is written in Perl again. In the upcoming version of picurls.com you'll be able to choose from a variety of sources, which ones you want to see pictures from.
I'm launching picurls this Sunday!
And you are funding all these projects out of your own pocket?
Yes, I am funding all of this out of my own pocket. Having a sponsor would be cool. A sponsored dedicated Linux server wouldn't hurt. They go for a couple hundred month.
Thanks for your time and I hope somebody will generously gift you a Linux server.