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. :-)
How about a conference with everyone who was blogging in 2001. Let's talk about how it's going and what we want to accomplish in the next ten years.
Or a conference with people named "Dave" on the dais. People with other names would be welcome. In the audience.
An exclusive invite-only conference for people who are friends with Dave.
A conference where all the sessions are held in the lobby. Two sessions simultaneously. Great wifi and high bandwidth connections.
A conference where we discuss big ideas while hiking in the woods.
A conference where we discuss big ideas while sitting in a hot tub and drinking wine.
Imagine being an angry borderline racist Republican in 2009.
Imagine what the black national socialist liberal business-hating Kenyan-born new President was going to do to screw everything up. Oh yeah! Let's go out and raise hell.
Now, the worst thing has happened. He turned out to be as liberal as George W. Bush and even more in the pocket of the American oligarchy.
Don't worry -- you have good company.
Those of us who wished he might change things so that American worked better for its people, something it desperately needs to do (even the smarter oligarchs must know this) are just as dumbfounded.
Basically we're all fucked. It's not good to gloat, because the fuckedness is something we all share. Even the idiots who are calling the shots.
I noted that Evan Williams is leaving Twitter to do some new stuff.
He's had two major successes, with Blogger and Twitter and now must be worth at least several hundred million -- maybe more. Enough money to last a lifetime, even if you spend a lot of money.
I'd like to suggest that with his next venture he give back to the open web, creating new stuff not to create profit for himself and venture capitalists, but to grow new limbs for the Internet. To support independence and freedom of the people of the world. For science and culture and community.
Twitter certainly had the potential to be a new exciting layer of the Internet, but I think it's pretty clear it's going the other way now. Closing up so that the backers, including Williams, can make more money. Had Evan decided to go for maximum Internet goodness, early-on, Twitter would have gone a different way. If I were in his shoes, I wouldn't want to be around for what's coming next. More stuff like the dickbar, for sure. And more bad news for developers, again for sure.
Why not play without the burden of having to create a profit? Look at all the good Brewster Kahle has been able to accomplish? How about advancing the art of future-safe archives, so the work people do on the Internet has a life after they die? Williams could be the Andrew Carnegie of our time, a man who had a vision for libraries in every city, and made it happen.
We also need a way for people creating revolutions to communicate more effectively with each other. Right now they're doing great work with the commercial systems, but clearly that's not always going to work, as governments get more savvy about working with the corporations behind them.
How about investing in DNS, making it better at representing people and documents, not just organizations and servers?
I'd love to see an open source Dropbox clone, with all the human factors done right, but something I could host on an EC2 server.
Here's another one -- how about adopting Apache and putting a simple UI on it. Something anyone could use to set up a web server. But lift the hood, and there's all the standard richness of Apache.
That's just the beginning. Commercial stuff is great, and when you're starting out, what choice do you have. But when you reach the level of success that Williams has, you don't have to limit yourself to ideas that generate revenue. You can simply "put back" to create more opportunities like the ones you built your success on. There was a lot of generosity that made Blogger and Twitter possible. Pay it back, for some good karma.
Every so often I get invited to an invite-only conference. Usually I decline, because the idea seems wrong. You don't know who is going to have the great idea that could break through and create new opportunity. Also, some of the best people I've met at my own conferences were people I didn't invite. Never would have thought to invite them because I didn't know them. A couple of them have become long-term close friends. How about that.
But, if you're going to discuss open formats and protocols, having an invite-only conference is not only a bad idea, it can be unethical. And can destroy the open-ness of the protocols you're discussing.
For example, the early FOO Camps discussed the future of open web formats. There were people there who felt they had a say in their future, and they're right about that -- they did have a say. But they didn't have an exclusive say. Not sure, but I think they even drafted some specs at these conferences.
Another example was a social web "summit" held last summer in Portland. Invite-only. Lots of people from Google, and other big companies, and also some independents. But there were some interested people (such as myself) who were conspicuously absent, un-invited. Wonder why? Doesn't matter. There was nothing open about this stuff, but they still pretend it was. Might as well start over, if being open is part of their strategy.
When I'm invited to one of these conferences, and want to go, even though it's not open-to-all, I ask the organizers to stipulate, to all participants, that open formats and protocols will not be discussed. This means that when the subject comes up, someone in the room can remind them that it's off-topic. And the integrity of all those involved and of the formats, can be protected.
I'm trying a different approach this time -- writing a blog post.