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The Problems With Startup Digest

I get Startup Digest every week and at various points when I traveled a fair bit, I got it for many cities at the same time. One thing I realized was that, despite it’s popularity, quality varied widely and coverage tended to be lopsided. Dave Troy runs Startup Digest for Baltimore and the result is that it is filled with Rails events and the various things that Dave is involved in directly such as Bicycle Baltimore.

I thought that the lists that I saw felt very driven by the owners: either the types of events were slanted or a paucity of events implied that the list owner was not as wired into the community as one might like.

Here is a graph of the number of activities listed in Startup Digest. There are data problems here. Assume that empty weeks were, in every case, weeks that I lost the email as opposed to weeks with data points that were actually zero.

New York’s list tended to be not much bigger than Baltimore’s. That cannot possibly be right. Further, in DC, the list had virtually no items. What that says to me is that the volume of items in Startup Digest is really a proxy for how “at the epicenter” a given locations author is. Finding more events is not too hard: go on Meetup.

2 Responses to “The Problems With Startup Digest”

  1. Brian Sierakowski Says:

    Hey B,

    I do most of the curation for the Startup Digest in Baltimore, so I thought I’d submit a few points for discussion.

    We do feature a lot of rails events, but there’s a big rails community here and they love to meetup, so there are more rails events. It just so happens that we’re a part of that big community, but they also meet the most frequently. The PHP group meets once a month, all the Python/Django groups meet in DC, and some other languages aren’t represented at all.

    The other thing you bring up is volume, which I don’t think is a great metric. This week I had 34 events on my calendar, which is probably as useless than having 0 events. My goal is to have one or two great events every night, while trying to maintain some sort of balance between business, developer, and design driven events.

    Not always possible, but we’re still learning what people are interested in, and we’re also open for submissions if we miss something. For the people who already plugged in, we’re not terribly useful, but for people who are still learning what’s available, I think we do a pretty good job of getting their feet wet.

  2. Chris McCann Says:

    B, I am one of the co-founders of SD. Thanks for the article and the feedback.

    I want to second what Brian said above. In each city we are trying to pick out the highest quality events and not be comprehensive, which is why you see a similar amount of events in each area.
    In DC our last curator Chris Selmer got too busy with work and chose a new curator, Michael, who just recently started curating the DC issue, hense the big gap in dates.

    We are very satisfied with our 75+ curator all over the world and the quality they are doing. That being said the specific amount of events is still very dependent on the individual city.

    PS – it’s really hard to comment on here via mobile phone. It keeps whiteing out everything for me. Just some feedback…