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. :-)
It's an open secret in the tech industry that if you buy a conference sponsorship your company gets a speaking slot in return. These speeches are not labeled as ads. Of course that ruins any transparency they might hope to have.
I found out about this when I ran the first BloggerCon at Harvard in 2003. I asked for sponsorships from some of the biggest names in the tech industry, and was told by each of them that they required a prime speaking spot as quid pro quo. I said maybe they could sponsor a meal, and speak at it, but I'd have to label them as paid speaking slots. I was told that was not acceptable. I told them to keep their money. We'd find a way to make it work without sponsors, and we did.
I was an adviser for another conference that I won't name. I went to several all-expense-paid meetings. Until it came up that their sponsors got speaking slots as a quid pro quo. Not disclosed to the participants. I didn't go to another meeting (and I didn't make a stink about it).
I'd love to hear from each of the tech pubs that run conferences that they don't do pay-to-speak. I suspect you won't hear most of them say it because they do it. That's how they make money from the conferences, which are really, mostly sales events for the sponsors.
DougSaunders: "Journalist is a word like runner, not like engineer. Any citizen who chronicles surroundings is a journalist."
If you swim you're a swimmer. If you keep a journal you're a journalist.
That's why fights over who's a journalist or not are pointless.
However, there is a line that is not pointless: Are you an insider or a user?
Insiders get access to execs for interviews and background info. Leaks and gossip. Vendor sports. Early versions of products. Embargoed news. Extra oomph on social networks. Favors that will be curtailed or withdrawn if you get too close to telling truths they don't want told.
All the people participating in the "journalist or not" debate are insiders. They are all compromised. Whether or not they disclose some of these conflicts, none of them disclose the ones that are central to what they will and will not say.
Then there are people who are completely outside the line. They pay for the products they use. They get new products when they ship. They never get embargoed news. They get their followers "organically."
If you want to know if a product works as advertised, people outside the circle are trustworthy. They might not be right, but at least they have no reason not to tell you what they think. People inside the circle are telling you a special version of the truth. This means they might tell you a product works when it doesn't.
I've been a Google watcher for as long as there has been a Google.
My view has been almost entirely from the outside. I always have a model of what it's like on the inside, but there are obvious contradictions between my belief and reality. In the early days, I thought Google really grokked the web. Contradicting that is their almost complete obliviousness to blogging (or so it seemed). That users were turning into creators at an every-increasing pace didn't seem to penetrate.
These days, like a lot of others, I see Google as a Microsoft that's rooted in servers instead of clients. Like Microsoft, they tend to over-reach in products, seem unable to start small and bootstrap their way to bigness in any product category. Unlike Microsoft, Google often ships their mistakes, where Microsoft killed them before they reached the market (thinking of Blackbird, Cairo, Hailstorm). Maybe that's because in Microsoft's day shipping had real physical costs. You had to fill a distribution pipe, train retailers and support people. With Google they just invite Scoble in for a demo (figuratively) and the rest is taken care of by the press and bloggers. They just have to keep the servers running (no small feat, of course).
But I still never understood the process that led to failures like Buzz and Wave. That is, until I read this post by Douwe Osinga, who recently departed Google. He seems to have kept his perspective outside as well as inside during his tenure.
Highly recommended reading, esp Google thinks Big and Google has a Way.
I follow several topics on StackOverflow in my RSS river, including one on RSS itself. There's a pretty good flow, and some questions are repeats, and from those I learn where we might have done better in the past, and learn about problems we might try to solve in the future.
A very frequent question on StackOverflow is this: The feed for a site is useful for finding the last 20 or 50 items. How can I find the rest?
The answer is an unhappy one for most sites. You can't. So we've tried to address this issue, completely, in the minimal blogging tool I'm working on, also known as Blork. Hoping to provide an example for developers of other blogging systems. This is an idea that everyone should adopt, imho. Would make the web more useful.
In Blork, the feed is everything. There is only a very simple HTML rendering of your blog. Your feed is intended to be plugged into a lot of different places. If you want a traditional blog as output, we have Tool for that called rssToBlog (it works with Atom too, btw).
Not only do we write your posts to a feed, but we also maintain a calendar-structured archive of all your past posts. Which begs the question, how do you find them?
The answer: look in the feed.
There's an element called <microblog:archive> that fully describes the archive. It tells you where to look, and the start date and end date of the archive.