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Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, June 11, 2003. Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Michael Gartenberg: "What's an age card?" 

1/26/03: "Do you think learning stops at 22?" 

A thought occurred to me during the closing panel at yesterday's conference. When asked for a show of hands of people who care what a blog is, three peoples' hands shot up: David Weinberger, Doc Searls and mine. I thought, what is it that we three have in common. Politely -- we're all intellectuals. Not so polite -- eggheads, professor types, NPR listeners, lefties. We spend time thinking about things that most people think aren't worth thinking about. Later, in the continuing discussion on the NY Times archive policy, I realized that people like David, Doc and myself are just the people the Times wants to be sure are well-supplied with paper-of-record type Web links. If you were to ask the Times if they care what defines what they do, their hands would shoot up too. If you want to do something well, yes yes yes, it matters very much what it is, and understanding what it is. Speaking for myself only, I want to do my weblog well, for the sake of doing it well, it's really that simple. 

Another angle on What Is A Weblog? Consider the sequence of developments in publishing. In the 70s, to run a publication you needed a million-dollar printing plant, or you needed to lease time on one, to print and distribute your publication. In the 80s, with the advent of laser printers, GUIs and desktop publishing software, the cost dropped to $100,000. So more people could publish. In the 90s, publishing technology took off in a new way, all-electronic, and the cost dropped to a few thousand dollars. Enter weblogs, and the cost drops virtually to hundreds of dollars, maybe even tens. If you want to do a publication, all you need is the time to write, and an idea to write about. The number of publications goes up every time the rules are rewritten. Now, factor out the non-publication oriented websites. Those are not weblogs. Everything else is. How's that? 

Heath Row has a transcript of every session at the Jupiter conference. Awesome. 

A question that came up at the Jupiter conf, answered last year on this day. "Suppose you work for a company and keep a public weblog. Are you required in some way to blow the whistle, in public, on your employer?" 

Two years ago today I asked to hear from people who are dead. "So far no emails," I said then. Still no emails two years later. Three years ago, Cameron Barrett reviewed Sammy's Rumanian Steak House in NYC. Just reading the review makes my mouth water. 

From Michael Gartenberg, a puzzle along the lines of Don's Amazing Puzzle. Your mission is to find a four-letter word that ends with the letters E, N and Y; in that order. You can go through the letters of alphabet to figure it out, A, B, C, D, E, F, G etc. If you're like me, you'll make it all the way to the end without coming up with an answer. Like Don's puzzle there is no trick. Your mind may miss the answer because it comes in a form that it's not expecting.  

The solution is is in the comment window on this post

PowerFrontiers is a weblog on power and energy choice. They also have an RSS feed

AdAge on Apple iTunes.  

Notes from Jupiter 

The Jupiter conf, was, imho, a success. We got a discussion going in a new way about weblogs in business. I have absolutely no doubt that the ball is already in the air. Businesses will of course use weblogs differently from the people who use them today, most of whom are not in business.

The show, emphatically, was not about technology, nor will BloggerCon in October be about technology. I said in my keynote that technology was ahead of the users, but in some ways, the users are ahead of the technology. Gartenberg, talking with Jason Shellen (Google) and myself on Monday night, explained how all this stuff looks to him. We have a long way to go to meet his expectations, but we will go there.

At one point Shellen said "Dave, don't play the age card," after I said we've been around this loop a few times, so it wasn't new to me. Fact is, most of the companies in this space, or who will be in this space shortly are run by people my age, including Jason's company, with similar experience with dominance, lock-in vs interop, and bluster. It's not about playing a card, it's about trying to do better this time, to participate in a market instead of killing a market.

I want to see a space that's safe for individual software developers to enter without fear. Today we almost have such a space. But unless we make it brain-dead easy for users to move their data where ever they want, not where we will permit, then we have done nothing more than set up another industry to be dominated by a few big fear-inspiring companies.

Today none of the players are that big. I am not scared of Google, frankly I'm not even very impressed by Google these days. But I am wearing a Google T-shirt right now (ask my colleagues at Berkman). I still want to work with Google, but we're going to have to do a lot better at this working-together thing.


Last update: Wednesday, June 11, 2003 at 11:07 AM Eastern.

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