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. :-)
Took advantage of the cold, wet weather to go to the movies today.
I wanted to shop for some new headphones, so I went to B&H on 34th and 9th, which left me near a megaplex on 34th, so it was a matter of what movie was playing when I finished with the audio shopping, and it was Eat Pray Love.
It didn't get great reviews, but sometimes it's relaxing to go to a movie with low expectations. This one was okay, because it had a message that was simple, one that I was familiar with from my mid-life crisis a number of years ago. It goes like this.
Your mind plays tricks on you, and makes you think other people are your problem, and that getting them to do something or be a certain way will unlock some part of your future. The inverse also seems true, their unwillingness to change is holding you back from being the great person you could be if only they would change. It's a trick because it seldom is true. It's a trick because it allows you not to change to become great and happy because you're scared to.
The most powerful thing you can do to get through all this messy trickery is to first forgive your ghosts. You can let them off the hook, even if they're still alive, by realizing that the past is dead and can't hurt you or hold you back. And if they're actually dead, you can achieve great peace by not only forgiving them now, but retroactively forgiving them when they were still alive. Try to visualize saying to your mother or father or grandparent or uncle who was unkind to you. Say "I forgive you" to their imaginary body, the one they occupied when they were hurting you.
This letting-off-the-hook is enormously liberating, not so much for them, but for you -- because they're just foils for the person you're probably really holding accountable for the past misery (and shouldn't) or for the present misery (which you should) -- you!
Projection is such a powerful illusion, most of the time we don't even realize we're doing it and when people come awake from it, it can create adult memories that are as powerful as any from childhood.
I remember two events in this waking up process. 1. I said to my therapist that I know exactly what my brother is thinking right now. She said, matter-of-factly: Really, how do you know that? (as if she accepted that I did know, which of course I didn't). I was baffled. I asked why she never asked me that before. She said she had been asking me that for years, but this was the first time (apparently) that I had heard her. 2. I was on a walk with a friend from a massage community I was part of. I was very frustrated with my girlfriend and was going on and on saying: I wish she would xxx, and fill in the blank with a dozen things she did or didn't do that bothered me. Every time I did it my friend would say: In what way do you wish you would xxx. At first it was just annoying, I wished she would let me finish venting. But she was making a point that eventually sunk in. My problem wasn't the girlfriend, my problem was me. The girlfriend was just a foil, a screen I was projecting on, a barrier to keep me from realizing that, as boring and undramatic as it is, the barrier was within me, not her.
Eat Pray Love takes over two hours to make this point, and it doesn't make it very powerfully, but no matter. For a certain number of people being able to visualize Julia Roberts gaining freedom from her ghosts might be enough to find their own way out of the fog.
I got a lot of snarky comments yesterday when I asked a couple of questions on my blog. This was after posting a proposal for a new kind of commenting system.
Most people who commented simply objected to my proposal, liked nothing about it, and told me why they like the current form of commenting. A few people chose this time to make a personal attack, mostly ageist, the one ism you're not supposed to call people on. There wasn't much (if any) discussion of the idea. Nor would there have been if I had open comments on that post. Pretty sure it would have been the same. Some people would say they like it, others would say they don't. Others would write comments that had nothing to do with the post. I'd moderate-out the abuse. Most would be cries for attention. That's what Internet discourse is like in 2010.
However, the best posts for comments are the ones that ask specific questions, like how long does it take for alcohol to reach the brain, or where's the missing spacebar on the iPhone 4. It gives people a chance to show what they know, and get a feeling they're helping, which is the best of commenting on the Internet.
Why I have comments: I hope I might learn something new from the people who read the blog. It's mostly selfish. I like that there's a side-benefit that it creates a record for other people to learn from in the future. I get a lot out of that on other forums on the net. Esp when it comes to technical problems, these discussion threads can be invaluable.
But rebuttal, esp principled rebuttal, really doesn't add anything to a comment thread. Obviously there's room for disagreement. And of course it helps people feel heard. But that's for them, not for me, and not for future or current readers. Being very blunt and direct, it just doesn't interest me. I don't post here to get into debates. If someone wants to start a debating site, one that really works and doesn't just rehash childish points of view, I might show up there from time to time, when I feel like debating. But then it's going to be as an equal. Here, on my blog, I'm a host, which in some ways makes me more than equal and less. It's not a good context for debate. Maybe other people's blogs work that way, more power to them and vive la difference.
I like collaborative problem solving -- and want to do more of that.
And by the way, my post was a proposal. My hope was that it would spawn other proposals, other new ideas for systems of discourse. Where is the creativity? Where are the people who would like to try new ideas, no matter where they came from? I'm sure they're out there. But there's no place for them to comment because the debaters crowd them out. I wonder if some of the people who vehemently defend the current form of commenting realize that there are lots of people who won't participate in a system dominated by mostly mindless and repetetive prattle?
Been reading comments by Dennis Crowley of Foursquare about Facebook's new check-in feature, and I think he could play it much much better. So this is a friendly open letter to my fellow New Yorker, urging him to learn about and practice positioning. To develop a clear difference between 4SQ and FB, one that makes sense to users, and allows both products to exist side-by-side.
After all, there is Toyota and there is BMW. And there are trucks and nimble sports cars and bikes and motorcycles, that all more or less do the same thing. They all have wheels and transport people and things. But they're used very differently for very different purposes.
There's lots of room for differentiation, and the products are already differentiated. But to summarily dismiss your huge competitor as "boring" -- well we understand why you would like us to think of them that way, but I don't think people do. You have to explain your product in a way that makes sense to the prospect. Craft a position that has lasting value relative to the competition. Do something they can't do because of their size and who they are. Or where they are. Or their talent pool. Or who they can strike alliance with.
Lots of opportunity here.
PS: Please no more Wired cover shoots.
I rode straight through with only one break at the turnaround point.
Took yesterday off because of rain. Had a very positive effect on my biking today. Rest is an important part of a workout.
And this time it was a headwind going up and tailwind coming back. That's the way I like it!
Riding time: 52 minutes.
Couple of videos:
1. The river was choppy today.
2. This is my favorite stretch of the greenway. You're riding over water, very smooth path, perfectly level.
Hey I don't know why it took me so long to think to do this.
What it is -- Every link I've pushed to Twitter since April 2009.
How it works -- I don't call Twitter to get these links, so when Oauthcalypse Day comes, this little app might survive.
I store all these links in a database on one of my servers. I have a bookmarklet I use to create each link, even ones I create on my iPad, and because it needs to record info about the link to maintain the Top 40 list, the data is around, and I never delete it. So it was there.
What's interesting is how much it looks like the early days of Scripting News. Lots of links to stuff with snarky comments. We go so far just to come back to where we began! The earth is round, so is time. Big wheel keep turning. Etc etc.
It gets built at least once a night. I might have it rebuild every time I add a link.