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. :-)
The poor fumbling New York Times.
Everything about their world is flipped upside down.
Yes, they still have to write news stories, but the way they source them is changing, and slowly they are adjusting to the new way of doing things.
They used to use the cost of distribution as a way of adding a surcharge to cover the cost of reporting. Because they owned the means of distribution, and had a lot of people buying their information product, they could charge others to use their system.
They can't do that anymore, because: 1. They let Silicon Valley own the distribution in the new news environment. 2. The Californians are willing to sell access to that system real cheap to the people who used to pay the Times to distribute their stuff.
In hindsight, the Times could have and should have been the new distribution system, but they would have had to be nimble to do that, and been willing to accept the feeling of jumping out of a plane with no parachute. They let people in California do that instead because they were willing to deal with insecurity. What a silly reason to cede an empire.
Now here's the good news for the Times. There's still time!
The electronic system isn't finished upheaving. There are still planes taking off that you can jump out of but as before there are no parachutes. You could hit the ground. Hard.
Some small number of people at the Times get that. I know because I said these things to them two weeks ago, about 150 of them, and they didn't stomp out of the room, and they did't argue with me. In fact, some of the people told me they were psyched to do what I asked them to do. That's a new deal.
Now, some of the people who weren't in the room are the ones who think that they need to get people like the two young Stanford grad students to not publish a $5 aggregator. Look, if the Times is depending on stopping those two kids for its future, then the Times has no future. They have to make money, but they aren't going to make it by charging a few cents for every article. They must know that won't work.
They must re-establish their eminence in news.
News is what they do, not newspapers.
You give away most of what you do, and charge for the really good stuff. The stuff that people will line up to pay lots of money for. You need to get people excited about news the way Steve Jobs gets them excited about gadgets.
Or even better, find new businesses you can go into that depend on people coming to you for authoritative information about that business. It's how I got people to buy web development software from me. You can make a lot more money that way than by charging a few cents to read an article. It's a case of penny-wise pound-foolish. The Times is aiming to sell out too cheap. Use your franchise to build something truly big and very new that will make you rich.
Kara Swisher has a story this morning about an RSS aggregator for the iPad that was first praised in a Steve Jobs keynote and then, later the same day, booted from Apple's store.
Apparently the NY Times played a role. "Apple informed the [authors] that Pulse was being pulled from the App Store, after it received a written notice that '[the Times] believes your application named Pulse News Reader infringes The New York Times Company's rights.'"
Swisher says: "Pulse is little more than a really well-designed RSS reader."
I'm both close to the Times and to RSS, so I'd love to get to the bottom of the concern here. Swisher believes the app is doing nothing out of the ordinary with information available in the Times' publicly-available feeds.
This is a case where the readers of Scripting News may be able to help sort this out. Do you have a copy of the Pulse app? If so, can you make any sense out of this situation? Please advise.
Follow-up: "Look, if the Times is depending on stopping those two kids for its future, then the Times has no future."
Thanks to Rex Hammock for the pointer to Safari Reader, a new feature announced by Apple yesterday.
Seems it's going to be very controversial.
From the product fact sheet: "Safari Reader removes annoying ads and other visual distractions from online articles."
The ads are definitely getting annoying, but it seems to me people have the right to control the visual presentation of their own writing. On the one hand.
On the other hand, maybe authors should take this as an opportunity to receive a clue. There must be significant demand for this feature or Apple wouldn't have put it in their browser. Perhaps you should reduce the clutter in your web pages on your own.
Just a thought. ">