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. :-)
Just finished The Big Short by Michael Lewis, and it ends with a chilling thought about how fucked we are. There's no other way to put it.
Before I read this book there was something I didn't understand about Credit Default Swaps, or CDSs, which are insurance policies, hedges against an investment failing. They are a way to short things that aren't stocks. In fact you can by a CDS for anything. You can buy a CDS against the Yankees losing the World Series.
But they are a weird kind of insurance. You don't have to own the Yankees to insure them. And both you and I could insure against the Yankees losing the World Series. Hundreds, thousands, even millions of people could do it. There's no limit to the exposure. So if the Yankees were to fail, i.e. fail to win the World Series, theoretically they could take the US economy with it, because of the way they were writing these policies in the days before the real estate bust.
Another example, fire insurance. You could insure someone else's house. Even if it was already on fire. And it would be priced as if fire was only a remote possibility.
And since credit default swaps are unregulated (thank you Reagan, Clinton, both Bushes and the U.S. Congress) no one knows how many CDSs have been purchased against any event. So you end up with the prospect of a small company being too big to fail.
BTW, this is why the US taxpayers had to back the investment banking industry with over $1 trillion of our money. The same people who are buying our government all over again.
Question: Did we outlaw Credit Default Swaps or at least regulate them? (Heh.)
A special comment.
They did you a favor.
But they sure didn't do the rest of us a favor.
What interest do your followers have in you being booted off the air? How exactly does that help them?
To be honest, I stopped watching you on MSNBC after the Obama inauguration. I figured you were going to stay with Washington politics, as you did. I figured that was as good as it was going to get, and all the lobbying and cajoling wouldn't do a bit of good from that point on. I don't have any regrets. Obama isn't much better than Bush unfortunately. That was obvious a few days after the inauguration.
I felt then as I feel now, that the future of communication is not about the bottleneck that MSNBC and their competitors control. I don't think you really need them. Unless of course you need to make $5 million a year, in which case you probably do need them. But if what you're interested in is power to influence public opinion, and becoming more relevant over time, not more niched over time -- if being influential is what you're about, they really did you a favor.
So here's what I recommend. Borrow a page from Conan O'Brien's playbook, and use the social network to communicate with your fans.
Get a video camera and put it in your living room or den at home. Hit Record. Sit down in front of the camera and rant for 15 minutes. You can do that, I'm sure. Then without any production at all, upload it to YouTube and send the link around on Twitter. The first time you do it, it will be the most watched video of the day. Far more people will see it than used to see you on MSNBC, or O'Reilly or Beck or any of them. Depending on how fresh and interesting it is, and how real it is, and how compelling you really are (I know that's a lot of "depends") there won't be much of a dropoff on Day 2 and 3 and so on. Now you've got your own network. And no one can shut you down. And you'll have a lot more people watching you.
You might even get a chance to open people up to some new ideas and god forbid change a few minds.
And good luck.
We used to do show notes and directories in the podcast world with OPML, because both were booting up at the same time. Every time we did a podcast, we'd do an OPML version of show notes.
We were also trying to keep track of all the programs, so we'd have a directory of directories, each in OPML. I had software that browsed these networks of OPML directories.
You could do inclusions -- where I link to your outline, but when a user expands it, it appears to open in mine (it actually does).
I eventually stopped trying to make this work, but all my tools still do it. In fact in OPML 2.0, the protocol for inclusion was streamlined, to follow the practice that had developed.
This is a big honking idea. If this were to actually happen, it would be an incredible complement to Wikipedia. It probably would help search companies build new engines that give us not just answers, but context. And choice of context. Unlike Wikipedia there could be many ways to arrive at a spot. That would be subject to editorial judgement, and would not require consensus. I think that's a huge deal, and would increase participation. But I'd love to do it mostly cause it would be huge fun.
June 2000: The first blog post here about the World Outline.
June 2002: The Googlish Way to do Directories.
Not sure of the date: Editing the SoapWare directory with Radio's outliner.
A Google search for "world outline" on scripting.com in chronologic order starting in 2000.