Flickr diagram: Big Life Lesson #1.
Don Dodge interviews Gabe Rivera, the author of Memeorandum.
Ron Bloom: "Radio sucks."
Here's a schnook who thinks the Windows desktop is the only place people run software. The FUD is already starting. I can feel my air supply being cut off. Just kidding.
Schnook is a Yiddish word.
Adam Green: "Microsoft long ago mastered the trick of calculating exactly the minimal feature set needed to suck the air out of a market it wants to enter."
Like me, Adam is a dinosaur who walked the earth in the days when little software animals had to scurry and run for cover when a giant invades. But it's a different world today, because we don't depend on industry trade publications to get news of our products to users. Those publications didn't prove dependable because it was in their interest to promote the products of their largest advertisers. That's why, if it were 1986, I might agree with Adam, but it's not 1986, it's 2006.
It's possible, even likely that Microsoft's RSS technology will be the most-installed, and their influence on the future of the format will be considerable, and it concerns me that at some point they may throw their weight around like Apple is (I think it's pretty likely they will, if not this year, then next year, or the year after that).
But none of that means that I can't find enough users for my aggregator, and you for yours, to be able to continue development and influence the market, because we don't have to convince the editors of PC Mag and PC Week that our products matter. When the big dinosaurs, Microsoft, Lotus and Ashton-Tate, and later Borland, wanted our market, the publications had little choice but to give it to them. Now I am a publication myself. I can communicate directly with users. That changes everything.
But even back then, if their product wasn't up to the job, their attempts to take the market often failed. I remember when the CEO of a very large software company came to me as a friend (hah) and said I should get out of his way because he was going to take my market. His product was inadequate, and it didn't work. He tried again, and again it didn't work. And again, and again. And my product was still standing. So even in the 80s, size wasn't enough to get you a market.
Microsoft took spreadsheets by being much better than Lotus on the Mac. Word emerged from the flock of word processors by being the first to make it to Windows in a usable fashion. Adam, I don't have to tell you how dBASE fell to Fox. I don't think they would have overcome any of their competitors back in the 80s, if their product had been as weak as their aggregator product is today. Same thing is true, by the way, in their competition with Netscape. Microsoft's browser probably would have won on its merits, they didn't need to use anti-competitive tactics, their product was better enough, and their development methodology strong, they would would have won anyway, imho. (And so I argued, even pleaded, at the time.)
On the other hand, the aggregator developers could sure use some competition! In the last four years there really hasn't been very much improvement, in fact I think in many ways we've lost capabilities that we once had. Maybe a little pressure from a BigCo will separate the winners from the losers in this space, and we can start thinking about a market that is, instead of a market that will be.
© Copyright 1997-2005 Dave Winer. The picture at the top of the page may change from time to time. Previous graphics are archived.