Dave Winer, 56, is a visiting scholar at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and editor of the Scripting News weblog. He pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in New York City.
"The protoblogger." - NY Times.
"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.
"Dave was in a hurry. He had big ideas." -- Harvard.
"Dave Winer is one of the most important figures in the evolution of online media." -- Nieman Journalism Lab.
10 inventors of Internet technologies you may not have heard of. -- Royal Pingdom.
One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.
"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.
"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.
"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.
8/2/11: Who I Am.
My 40 most-recent links, ranked by number of clicks.
FYI: You're soaking in it. :-)
Okay, the piece I wrote earlier that mocked Bigs for wasting their time with big plans that amount to nothing begged a question.
What if you don't work for a Big and don't want to? What if you like to develop tech products for users and would prefer to do so in a truly free and open market, without the distortions caused by the struggles of employees at the Bigs?
What should you do then?
Well the question has a pretty obvious answer. You should do exactly what you want to do.
Just do it -- develop the products, and sell them and evolve them, and compete.
If you're lucky enough to be working in an area where there already is a defacto standard, then don't wait for teh Bigs to reinvent it. Just Use It.
1. People come back to places that send them away. This means NO LOCK-IN. You don't hold your customers by force, you hold them with the love they feel for you. And the only way they feel love for you is if you love them. Sting once sang: If you love someone set them free. The wisest words ever sung, imho. People are smart. Even if they don't see the lock-in, they feel it. Eventually they will bolt. If your investors say you need to force your users to use your stuff, fire your investors and keep the users. Money is fungible. People are not.
2. Choose the best people to compete with. If you're lucky enough to have your company grow, you're going to need great competitors to keep your employees from getting lazy and starting to act like they work for a Big. It's amazing how quickly that happens. The most successful entrepreneurs have been able to inculcate a tremendous fear of and respect for competitors among their people. It's much better than thinking your competitors are buffoons. If they're smart enough to compete with you, they're pretty freaking smart.
3. Make products for geniuses, for the simple reason that if you think your customers are stupid, then what does that say about you? You make a product that idiots choose? It must suck. So if you're making a good product, it follows that it's for really really smart people who can sort through all the crap out there and pick the best stuff. Yours.
4. Only steal from the best, and consider theft of your ideas the most sincere form of respect (it is). But when you steal, don't be a dick and make your version incompatible. See item #1. That's lock-in and if you do it YOU SUCK and deserve to die.
5. If I were an asshole I'd make up a fifth rule because no lists have just four items. But I'm not so I didn't. ">
That's about it for now. Let me know if you're going to build stuff according to these principles. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.
PS: I've been talking with some folks in Comp Sci at NYU, trying to encourage them to build around these ideas. This school is interested in entrepreneurial development. Thats very cool. Now remember to give everyone choice and share your ideas, and compete based on price, performance and service, not locking people in. All universities should encourage their students to skip the shortcuts. Getting wealthy by cheating isn't a good way to live. Get wealthy by being the best! That's cooool.
Big Tech Companies enjoy a weird kind of megalomania, when viewed from outside. The net-effect of their announcements usually are: "We will tell you soon how we plan to announce our universe-changing plan to make everything work the way we think it should. When we figure it out we will announce how we will announce our plan. You will be even more impressed then than you are now."
It is thus because in the meetings leading up to the big day, they can only agree that they will make an announcement, not what it will be. That comes later.
In the meantime the partners have some demos. They don't do anything other than show how, when the BigTechCo's finally figure out how to announce their plann, they will submit to their will and become rich and powerful in their own domain.
What really matters are the TechCo's, large and small, that are not on stage. That usually is the point of the whole mess. "We invited them," they will say, "but they wouldn't come to be part of our open announcement of how we will announce our plan to dominate everything and do things the way we think they should be done (when we figure it out)."