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 thought had not crossed my mind.
Would the earth shake? Sure. Do I think the Twitter folk should do it if the opportunity presents itself? Absolutely. Gets them out of the hotseat of having to attach a business model to Twitter, which certainly won't be popular with the users. No matter how they do it.
Should Apple do it? Why not. They have a huge pile of cash that keeps getting bigger. They're saving it for something, they say -- but what could they possibly buy with so much cash? They could turn into a bank, and I'm fairly sure they're going to do that at some point. iPhones will become credit cards. They'll do deals with Visa and MasterCard like the deals they do with AT&T and Verizon. But eventually they will not need them, nor will they need the credit companies. But that's a long way off. And the money they'd spend to buy Twitter wouldn't make much difference to them. And if they do it right, it translates into leverage for them in a new media market, news, and that could end up being hugely profitable. (It's one they clearly expect to be in with the iPad.)
I remember the initial excitement I felt when I saw Ping, that quickly turned to disappointment when it became clear that Apple didn't have the guts to let their users really communicate with each other over their network. So if Apple bought Twitter that would bring them solidly into the world of easy user networking. It would be worth doing if only for that.
And a reminder for all the flaws of Twitter, they did actually manage to make it work without screwing it up so much that it became totally unusable. Not that they didn't try. Really hard.
If they merged, that would explain some of the awful attempts Twitter has made to seem Apple-like. In their promotional materials and in the way they screw their ecosystem. Apple does both both with flair and panache. Twitter is a poor imitation of Apple, in every way.
No matter because Apple needs to be more like Twitter more than Twitter needs to be like Apple.
Another reason Apple would like it is because it's inevitable that Twitter will turn the screws on the news business, and Apple loves to get into position where they own the mortgage on a media industry. Look at how well they've been doing with music, and the inroads they've made into movies and television. Now they have entre into news. A deal you can't refuse.
It's hard to imagine Twitter, Inc having the chutzpah to pull it off. But Apple? That's their M.O.
One other thought. If they buy Twitter they might as well also buy Flipboard. We know they like it. And it flatters them. Make it all "system software."
Summary: It gives the Twitter investors their exit, saves face for everyone, and gives Apple another media market to dominate. They could probably swing the deal for $10 billion. A bargain.
Today's ride was windy, on the way up -- and on the way back -- it was like flying. Or sailing.
I was thinking about software. My friend Brent Simmons just sold one of his products, NetNewsWire.
I thought about the team that's assembling around Blork, and where it's heading (interesting places).
I thought about how some people, when they think of tech, think of money. I've never thought of it that way.
I discovered that I loved to play with computers at a relatively early age. And since then, I've always thought it was a priviledge that I could pay for groceries and rent and health insurance by doing something that I would do for free, happily.
I think Brent is the same way. That's why we were so productive when we worked together in the 90s.
Adam likes to make money, he''s good at it. He and Dvorak have this idea that we should sell licenses for podcasting. I don't think they're kidding. But Adam has an intuition about tech that agrees with mine, and we work well together too. We've now been collaborating again for a half-year. It's good. And maybe this time we'll make some money together.
Anyway, it was very windy today. So I got a great workout. Here's a video.
And the map. 9.94 miles. 1 hour 6 minutes.
Exec summary: If Twitter and the Times merged, or if a similar combination appeared, there would be new lines betw editorial and operations to explore.
I'm thinking about Rep Anthony Weiner and the weird picture posted to his Twitter account.
Specifically, I'm thinking about the story. It's not being covered very well, imho. Lots of missing information. Reporters could be applying pressure on more sources, not just the Rep and his aides. Anyone who pursued it as a tech story would be breaking new ground in journalism.
Assuming you're up to date on all that, now let's fast-foward five or ten years, when there surely will be a Twitter-like service with an editorial ego, like the NY Times. This came about in one of several ways. Possibly Twitter, Inc went public with a big market cap. With a highly-valued stock they could buy an editorial organization, shut down their other channels, and publish the stories exclusively on twitter.com, with links coming from anywhere you like (people could point to them from Facebook, Google, Firefox, Safari, whatever). Think about the power they'd have. Facebook or Google could do it too. Any of them have the economic power to become editorial organizations, quickly, through acquisitions.
The prototype of such a deal is the AOL acquisition of Huffington Post.
Another option -- the Times could run their own Twitter-like service, at least on an experimental basis. Still publish links to their stories through Twitter. Doing this now would be smart, to be in the game when Twitter grows an editorial arm.
Another option -- new companies could rise out of nowhere, realizing that neither the Times or Twitter have the ability to integrate with the other. If history is a guide, this is the way it'll probably happen. (Groupon might be such a company, btw.)
Whatever, for the sake of argument, assume that such a thing exists. An entity that integrates what Twitter and the NY Times do.
Now imagine the events of Weinergate happen on the NY Times' Twitter.
Pause for a moment. You have, on your company's computer, all kinds of information about what was posted, when it was posted, from what IP addresses, and what client software was used. You have a copy of the tweet, if such a tweet ever existed. And you know for sure if it did or didn't exist.
You have all this information. You have an exclusive story. In every sense of the word. It wasn't given to you -- you own the story. And if you do the right thing here, you'll keep getting the exclusives.
What do you do?
1. Do you publish the details?
2. Do you pretend you don't have them?
3. Do you acknowledge you have them, and not publish them?
I spend some amount of time thinking about these things, and thought I'd share the puzzle with you.
Now, let's come back to 2011.
A smart reporter would be pressing Twitter, Inc. for the data.
And since the Library of Congress also has the information, if Twitter says no, they might have to say yes. After all we pay for all they do. In some sense, we actually own that data. No joke. If we don't why are we spending taxpayer money on it?